Head: Thomas L. Thompson
Coordinating Counselor and Career Advisor: M. J. Eick (231-8943; firstname.lastname@example.org)
This program brings the basic sciences to bear on many crucial concerns about the environment. The environments of particular interest are terrestrial and wetland ecosystems and associated land and water resources. Specific concerns include environmental protection, pollution prevention and remediation, land-use planning, waste management, ground- and surface-water quality, reclamation and remediation of disturbed or contaminated sites, and minimizing human impacts on the environment.
The Environmental Science curriculum is multidisciplinary and strongly science and technology oriented. The basic sciences and computational skills are at the core of each of the major's three options, but specific requirements make each option unique. The curriculum prepares graduates for immediate entry into environmental careers as well as for graduate specializations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of environmental scientists and specialists is expected to increase by 28% between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The emphasis in this option is on fresh water systems and resources, although there are obvious connections to esturine and marine settings. Both surface- and ground-water quality may become degraded as a result of human activities. Those processes, their consequences, and solutions are the focus of this option. Students in this option are entering careers in the areas of regulation, remediation, and environmental protection.
This option develops an understanding of many of the complex biological, chemical, economic, geological, and soil factors that affect land use decision-making. Because our strategy of handling waste is often to "dump it in a hole", this curriculum also deals with issues of waste management and environmental clean-up. The graduates in this option find employment with various governmental agencies and in the private sector.
This option provides a track for students seeking environmental careers that build on their interest in plant sciences. Plants are used in a variety of ways to solve environmental problems. For example, reclamation of disturbed areas often involves establishing and managing adapted vegetation. Plants are important components of wetlands, which provide a number of important environmental functions and values. Plants are also used to remove pollutants from the soil or water.
The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as "Checksheets". The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.
The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation/checksheets/index.html for degree requirements.
The Environmental Science program also offers a minor. The requirements include CSES/ENSC 3114 plus 3124 (or CSES/ENSC 3134) and CSES/ENSC 3604 and 14 to 15 more hours selected from a set of 23 courses. See www.cses.vt.edu/undergraduate-programs/ensc/index.html or visit 240 Smyth Hall for more information about a minor in environmental science.
University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the General Education (Curriculum for Liberal Education) (see "Academics") and toward the degree.
Satisfactory progress requirements toward the specific degree can be found on the major checksheet by visiting the University Registrar website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation/checksheets/index.html.
Students with outstanding records can qualify for the Honors Program and graduate "in honors" in environmental science. Other opportunities for personal and professional growth and for recognition include the department-sponsored Environmental Student Organization, membership in Alpha Zeta and other honoraries, and several scholarships designated for majors. Faculty members often offer undergraduates opportunities to become involved in a variety of environmental research projects. Many employers seek environmental science majors for internship and co-op positions.
1015-1016: FOUNDATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Interrelationships between human activities and the environment; emphasis on biological, chemical, and physical principles that govern the flow of energy, materials, and information among physical, ecological and human systems. (3H,3C)
2964: FIELD STUDY
Variable credit course.
2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.
3114 (CSES 3114) (GEOS 3614): SOILS
Characterization of soils as a natural resource emphasizing their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and biological properties in relation to nutrient availability, fertilization, plant growth, land-use management, waste application, soil and water quality, and food production. For CSES, ENSC, and related plant- and earth-science majors. Partially duplicates 3134. Junior standing. Pre: CHEM 1036. Co: 3124. (3H,3C) I.
3124 (CSES 3124) (GEOS 3624): SOILS LABORATORY
Parent materials, morphology, physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils and related soil management and land use practices will be studied in field and lab. Partially duplicates 3134. Co: 3114. (3L,1C)
3134 (CSES 3134): SOILS IN THE LANDSCAPE
A study of soils as functional landscape components, emphasizing their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and biological properties in relation to plant growth, nutrient availability, land-use management, and soil and water quality. Primarily for FOR/FIW, LAR, and other plant/earth science related majors. May not be taken by CSES or ENSC majors. Partially duplicates 3114 and 3124. Pre: one year of introductory CHEM or BIOL or GEOS. (2H,3L,3C) II.
3604: FUNDAMENTALS OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Interrelationships between human activities and the environment; provides national and global perspective; emphasis is on the physical, chemical, and biological principles and processes that are essential to an understanding of human-environment interactions; the role of energy in human and natural systems; environmental legislation and human behavior. I Pre: BIOL 1105 or CHEM 1035. (3H,3C)
3614 (CSES 3614): SOIL PHYSICAL AND HYDROLOGICAL PROPERTIES
Soil physical and mechanical properties and the physical processes controlling soil water retention and flow in agronomic and natural settings. Grain size distribution, weight-volume relationships, specific surface, electrical charge density, consistency, stress, compaction, rainfall runoff, water retention, steady/non-steady water flow in saturated/unsaturated soil, infiltration, bare soil evaporation, and soil water balance. Pre: (CSES 3114, CSES 3124) or (GEOS 3614, GEOS 3624). (3H,3C)
3634 (CSES 3634): PHYSICS OF POLLUTION
Physical processes that control the fate of pollutants in our land, air, and water resources. Types and sources of pollutants, physical processes in the soil-water-atmosphere continuum controlling the dispersion and deposition of pollutants, the movement of pollutants, including radionuclides, by surface and subsurface water flow in soils, and physics of disturbed soils. I Pre: CSES 3114, PHYS 2206, (MATH 2016 or MATH 2024). (3H,3C)
3644 (CSES 3644): PLANT MATERIALS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION
Overview of ecological principles related to revegetation and restoration of disturbed sites. Function and species requirements of plants in stabilizing disturbed areas including mines, rights-of-way, constructed wetlands, and for the remediation of contaminated soils. I Pre: BIOL 1106. Co: CSES 3114. (3H,3C)
4134 (CSES 4134): SOIL GENESIS AND CLASSIFICATION
Formation of soils across landscape, soil-forming factors and processes, applied soil geology/geomorphology, applied soil biochemistry, soil hydrology, diagnostic horizons and characteristics used in Soil Taxonomy; soil classification and mapping. Three outdoor lectures and one 3-day field trip are mandatory. Pre: (CSES 3114, CSES 3124) or (ENSC 3114, ENSC 3124) or (GEOS 3614, GEOS 3624) or CS ES 3134 or ENSC 3134. (3H,3C)
4164 (BIOL 4164) (CSES 4164): ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY
Ecology, physiology, and diversity of soil and aquatic microorganisms; incorporates the significance of these topics within the context of environmental applications such as bioremediation, wastewater treatment, control of plant- pathogens in agriculture, and pollution abatement in natural systems. The laboratory portion of the course will stress methodology development, isolation and characterization of microorganisms from natural and engineered systems, and examination of the roles of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycling. Pre: BIOL 2604. (2H,3L,3C)
4314 (CSES 4314): WATER QUALITY
Provide comprehensive information on the physical, chemical, biological, and anthropogenic factors affecting water quality, fate and transport of contaminants in water, water quality assessment and management, and current water quality policies. (3H,3C)
4324 (CSES 4324): WATER QUALITY LABORATORY
Teach students a variety of laboratory chemical and biological techniques for water quality analysis. Complementary to ENSC/CSES 4314. Pre: CHEM 1046. Co: CSES 4314, 4314. (3L,1C)
4414: MONITORING AND ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Provides comprehensive hands-on-laboratory-and field-based experience and information on the principles and methods for field monitoring and sampling, as well the physical, chemical, and biological analysis of soil, surface water, groundwater, and solid wastes within the context of regulatory compliance. Optional 40-hour Hazards Materials (HAZMAT) training will be available. Senior standing required. Pre: (3604 or 4314 or CSES 4314 or BIOL 4004), (MATH 1026 or MATH 2015, CHEM 1036, BIOL 1105). (1H,3L,2C)
4444 (CSES 4444): MANAGED ECOSYSTEMS, ECOSYSTEM SERVICES, AND SUSTAINABILITY
Description and interactions of climate, soils, and organisms within intensively managed ecosystems used to produce food, fiber, bioenergy, fresh water, recreation, cultural, and other ecosystems services essential for human well-being. Ecological concepts applied to agricultural, grassland, and urban/turf ecosystems. Ecologically-based principles for sustainably managed ecosystems. Regional and global significance of managed ecosystems in context of sustainable food systems, and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Pre-Requisite: Junior or Senior Standing required. Pre: CSES 3114 or CSES 3134. (3H,3C)
4734 (CHEM 4734) (CSES 4734): ENVIRONMENTAL SOIL CHEMISTRY
Chemistry of inorganic and organic soil components with emphasis on environmental significance of soil solution-solid phase equilibria, sorption phenomena, ion exchange processes, reaction kinetics, redox reactions, and acidity and salinity processes. Pre: CSES 3114, CSES 3124, CHEM 2514 or CHEM 2535, CHEM 3114, (MATH 2015 or MATH 1026). (3H,3C)
4764 (CSES 4764): BIOREMEDIATION
Overview of environmental biotechnology and the use of microbes and other organisms to remove contaminants and improve environmental quality. Topics include treatment of contaminated soils, waters, and wastewaters, as well as remediation of industrial waste streams. Pre: BIOL 2604. (3H,3C)
4774 (CSES 4774): RECLAMATION OF DRASTICALLY DISTURBED LANDS
Remediation, rehabilitation, revegetation strategies for lands disturbed by mining, construction, industrialization, and mineral waste disposal. Disturbed site characterization and materials analysis procedures. Regulatory and environmental monitoring frameworks for mining sites and other disturbed lands. Prediction and remediation of water quality impacts from acid drainage. Pre: CSES 3114 or ENSC 3114 or GEOS 3614 or CSES 3134 or ENSC 3134 or CSES 3304 or GE OG 3304 or GEOS 3304. (3H,3C)
4854 (CSES 4854): WETLAND SOILS AND MITIGATION
Wetland soils as components of natural landscapes: biogeochemistry, hydrology, geomorphology, hydric soil indicators, and wetland functions under various land uses. Soil and hydrologic factors important to wetland delineation and jurisdictional determination. Mitigation of wetland impacts with emphasis on restoration and creation. Outdoor lectures at local wetlands and a two-day long field trip to observe and identify wetlands soils are mandatory. Pre: (CSES 3114, CSES 3124) or (ENSC 3114, ENSC 3124) or (GEOS 3614, GEOS 3624) or CSES 3134 or ENSC 3134. (2H,3L,3C)
4864: CAPTSTONE: ENV SCIENCE
Discussion based learning that utilizes prior knowledge gained in the major to synthesize information, and prepare a written comprehensive work plan. The work plan will demonstrate the student's understanding of contaminant fate and mobility in different environmental media and will be defended orally. Review and explore available careers in environmental science through seminars and working groups within environmental professionals discussing the role and responsibilities of environmental scientists in industry, consulting, regulatory agencies, and non-profits. ENSC majors only. Senior Standing. Pre: (CSES 3634 or ENSC 3634), (ENSC 4414), (CHEM 4734 or CSES 4734 or ENSC 4734), (C SES 4854 or ENSC 4854). (3L,1C)
4964: FIELD STUDY
Variable credit course.
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Variable credit course.