Environmental Sciences

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The scope of environmental sciences encompasses a broad spectrum of fields from human health to global economy.  It is an interdisciplinary science incorporating an understanding of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, water resources, and economics which allows students in environmental science to explore such questions as "where chemicals released in the environment go?" and "what impact they have?". As an environmental science major, you will have the opportunity to choose from emphasis areas in Environmental Ecology, Agricultural Environmental Stewardship, Environmental Health, Water Quality, Individualized Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

This program is also offered as...

Key Features

Key Features

  • Environmental Science is a science-focused combining many areas of the sciences, from chemistry to biology
  • Students gain an understanding of critical areas in the sciences currently used by professionals in the industry
  • Six emphases touch on and incorporate all areas of science giving you the wide range of knowledge employers desire
  • UMC has emphases no other school offers: Agricultural Environmental Stewardship and Environmental Ecology
  • Students go out into the field and perform studies in rivers and fields, as well as working in the campus labs. 
  • Students have the opportunity to work with River Watch project and others.
  • UMC students also have the opportunity to utilize facilities and work with scientists at Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC).
  • With a nation-wide 25% (22.1% in Minnesota) increase in entry-level environmental science positions in the coming decade, the job prospects are great
  • There are undergraduate research opportunities available through the Crookston and Twin Cities campuses that allow students the opportunity to perform research projects - from studies of greenhouse gases to water quality
  • As a graduate, you will be prepared for graduate study in the sciences or professional schools, such as science-based graduate degrees (environmental microbiology, ecotoxicology, environmental science education, biology, toxicology, chemistry, soil science, etc); law school (environmental law); public health; medical school; environmental engineering; and more.
  • Graduates are solidly prepared for a broad range of positions, such as environmental protection specialists, water quality managers, environmental health and safety specialist, geologists, ecotoxicologist, aquatic scientist, forest carbon specialist ...and more!

Words of Support:

"There are dozens of facilities in need of attention in the immediate areas of northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota that could serve as training and internship opportunities for students working on - and solving - real world environmental problems. ...Your graduating seniors will find immediate job opportunities in environmental remediation providing innovative solutions for clients in the agrochemical, petroleum, chemical manufacturing, and stormwater management sectors of our economy." 

~ Chris Rog (Sand Creek Consultants)

"According to a recent survey of graduates from the ESPM program in our college (University of Minnesota), well over 90% of our students either went on to graduate school or found employment in environmental science. The job market appears to be strong in this area for students graduating from science-based programs with strong academic rigor. I would anticipate graduates of your program would have similar experience."
~Jay Bell (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

"In my opinion, the proposed new curriculum in Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota, Crookston will prove to be very successful and will contribute to the global need for additional scientists prepared in multidisciplinary problem solving. Graduates of the program will most certainly contribute to the University of Minnesota's mission to add to the "discovery of new knowledge" and "the application of that knowledge in a manner that will benefit society with the state, nation, and world."
~ Guy Lanza (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

Program Requirements & Curriculum

Program Requirements & Curriculum

To view the current Environmental Science, BS curriculum, visit our catalog:
View Environmental Science, BS curriculum

The Environmental Science major offers six areas of emphasis:

  • Agricultural Environmental Stewardship
  • Environmental Ecology
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Individualized Environmental Science
  • Water Quality

Also, we offer a minor in Environmental Science:
View Environmental Science minor curriculum

Associated Clubs & Organizations



The U.S. Department of Labor projects significant growth in selected food, renewable energy, and environmental jobs through 2018. Read more!

  • Projected growth 22.1% in state of Minnesota for entry-level positions
  • 704 openings between 2006 and 2016 specifically for environmental science
  • 10,789 openings between 2006 and 2016 in the life sciences
  • 202 openings in soil and plant sciences, all of which our graduates would be qualified for among others

Graduates would be prepared for a broad range of positions:

  • Environmental protection specialist
  • Environmental coordinator
  • Physical scientist (environmental)
  • Industrial hygienist
  • Water quality manager
  • Environmental research associate
  • Environmental laboratory and field technician
  • Environmental specialist
  • Environmental program manager
  • Project biologist/environmental specialist
  • Environmental health and safety specialist
  • Environmental, occupational, and safety officer
  • Environmental project manager
  • Geologist/Environmental scientist
  • Environmental professional
  • Consultant
  • Emergency manager/Environmental  professional
  • Geologist/engineer/Environmental specialist
  • Risk assessor/Environmental restorer
  • Environmental educator
  • Project manager
  • Scientist at agrichemical or pharmaceutical development company
  • Ecotoxicologist
  • Aquatic scientist
  • Storm water specialist
  • Forest carbon specialist
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Specialist

For more job possibilities, check out Green Careers Guide

Student Stories

Student Stories

DeAndra O'Connell Navratil

For 2014 graduate DeAndra (O’Connell) Navratil, a class with Associate Professor Katy Chapman sparked a future career or at least influenced it. Soon to be a graduate student at Auburn University in Alabama, the Grand Forks, N.D., native has been working this summer (2017) with Crookston City administrator Shannon Stassen as part of an internship focused on urban planning. With a degree in Applied Studies and an emphasis in Environmental Science, Navratil stacked her resume with learning experiences that would eventually make her a strong candidate for graduate school, although at the time, she was not conscious of it. Learn more.


karen choi Karen Choi is actively involved in promoting environmental sustainability and building community for students from around the world. She is also the recipient of the Josef Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization. Choi came to the U of M Crookston to study biology but added a second major in environmental science. Research projects span her years on campus and have opened the door to possibilities. Learn more.


Gyalto "Abu" Gurung & Tashi Gurung

Seniors Gyalto "Abu" Gurung & Tashi Gurung, are environmental science and natural resources majors at the University of Minnesota, Crookston talk about their experience in "Handling the Earth with Care"

Three undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota Crookston assist with research in the environmental sciences north of Oslo, Minnesota, during the summer of 2013. They tell about their experience--both on the project and at the U of M Crookston in general.

Tashi Gurung, an environmental sciences major and international student from Nepal tells about the program. The Environmental Sciences major is administered through the Math, Science, and Technology Department at the U of M Crookston.

The UMC Advantage

The UMC Advantage

Small Campus. Big Degree.

Did you know a degree from the University of Minnesota is recognized all over the world? True story. As a system campus of the University of Minnesota system, the U of M Crookston offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources—all in a smaller, more personal campus setting that’s very much like a private school. The University of Minnesota is internationally recognized and respected by not only intellectuals and academic movers and shakers, but major employers who want to hire the best and brightest—namely, you.

Learning and Doing

At the U of M Crookston, you won’t spend all your time behind a desk. Our curriculum is designed around experiential learning, which means we want you to have as much hands-on learning as possible. Depending on your major, you’ll find opportunities to be in the field, the lab, the classroom, or engaging in simulated scenarios that give you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce or head to grad school. You’ll learn the concepts and then actively apply them through projects, field trips, site visits, internships, and interactions with professionals in the field.

Caring Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff members are respected not only for their knowledge and skills, but also because they care about you as an individual. They serve as true mentors, offering personalized attention through small class sizes, a student-faculty ratio of 18:1, and by working closely with you as advisors. They take the time to welcome you to the UMC community, watch you grow as a leader and scholar, and help you connect with alumni and other experts.

A Technology-Rich Environment

At the U of M Crookston, we offer every student a laptop computer from day one. Everyone is tech-savvy, wi-fi is everywhere and learning happens in many ways, including simulations, applications and video presentations. It’s a virtual tech-topia! So, when you graduate, you’ll have all the latest technology skills, giving you a competitive edge. Employers consistently report the UMC graduates they hire are their “go to” people for technology and are well prepared for the demands of today’s technological workplace.

Internships, Job Placement and Grad School

More than 87% of U of M Crookston graduates gain full-time employment in their field or enroll in graduate or professional school within one year of graduation. That’s a fact. We’ll sure miss you when you graduate, but we know as a proud Golden Eagle alum, you’ll want to come back to cheer us on at homecoming or catch up with your favorite professors.

Internships. They’re a great way to earn college credit, add to your resume and help answer the question, “is this really what I want to do?” You can find internship opportunities with everyone from the business down the street to Fortune 500 companies. Or maybe grad school is in your future. U of M Crookston students get the educational requirements and resources they need to apply to an array of graduate programs from veterinary science to med school to an MBA program. Many go on for more education in a variety of other fields.

Opportunities for undergraduate research also add real value to your educational experience by allowing you to design and conduct research while working alongside faculty mentors. Research experience is especially helpful if you plan to attend graduate school.

One-Rate Tuition and Scholarship Options

Whether you live in Minnesota, just across the border, across the country, or on the other side of the ocean, you pay the same tuition rate, and the U of M Crookston’s tuition rate is a real value because it’s the lowest of the five campuses that make up the U of M system. Additionally, with merit-based scholarships guaranteed based on GPA and ACT scores and more than 300 specialty scholarships, we really do help make college affordable.

Leadership, Clubs and Athletics

Sure, college is about classes, studying, and research, but another important part of the experience involves professional development, creativity, leadership, and service. And let’s not forget about fun! With more than 40 student clubs and organizations, there’s something for every interest. Best of all, if you can’t find something from the existing list, grab a few friends and start a new club. It’s really just that easy…

In athletics, Golden Eagles shake things up on the court, the field, and on the sidelines. The U of M Crookston competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) as well as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and offers a full range of men’s and women’s athletic programs.

A Diverse, Global Experience

The world really is a small place, and at U of M Crookston we value diversity. Our students bring rich experiences spanning six continents, and more than 20 countries and 40 states! We value diversity because it not only helps you better understand the world, it helps you understand yourself and how your piece fits into the puzzle of global society. Get involved in the many multicultural and international programs on campus, and you’ll see how easy it is to make friends from across the world.

Or choose one of our international programs. Study, intern, volunteer, play, explore – here or anywhere. Take your pick from more than 300 options in 67 countries. Don’t just learn it, live it.

On-Campus Faculty