Environmental Science

Combines the disciplines of biological science, conservation science, and physical science into an integrated approach of studying the environment and the world around us. Graduates are prepared with the skills to solve environmental problems, challenges, and so much more.

The world around us

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers in:

  • Agribusiness
  • Local and state conservation
  • Laboratories
  • Environmental assessment
  • Water management
  • Environmental education and outreach

What makes the environmental science major at BVU unique from other schools is that it is a ‘science’ major with a much more defined set of classes teaching the fundamental concepts needed in biological science, conservational science, and physical science to be competitive in the job market.

Biological science prepares students for careers in conservation work with the DNR and similar conservation organizations, while physical science studies prepares students for careers in consulting companies with organizations that conduct environmental assessments on environmental contamination and cleanup.

Talk to Us

We'd love to get to know you. Tell us a bit about yourself, and we'll be in touch with the scoop about BVU.

Go Mobile

In 2016, BVU hosted its first mobile app Hackathon in conjunction with the computer science department to build an environmentally-themed app. The winning team took home a $1,000 prize!

Scholarships & Grants

School of Science students have access to special funds to participate in internships and field courses. Some have recently used this money to attend a Predator Ecology course in Northern Minnesota.


BVU students have been involved in ecological assessments of an environmental restoration project at the Whiterock Conservancy, a non-profit land trust that oversees a 4,300-acre nature preserve near Coon Rapids.

100 Percent

BVU grads are in demand. A survey found that 100 percent of Environmental Science majors from the Class of 2017 were either employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.

Special Access

The equipment for professionals

Have you seen our greenhouse or analytical lab yet? In the greenhouse, students are given the opportunity to manage plants found around campus and grow plants for community projects. Managing the greenhouse allows the students the opportunity to become more familiar with different areas of botany, an area of environmental conservation, and to gain management skills.

The analytical lab gives students access to the large amount of equipment available. Environmental science students have the opportunity to conduct water quality research, utilizing our very own Storm Lake and other local bodies of water. This allows graduates to graduate with the analytical skills sought after by employers.

Be In Demand

Clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, work to reduce waste

Environmental scientists and specialists work in offices and laboratories. Some may spend time in the field gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions firsthand. Most environmental scientists and specialists work full time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Heightened public interest in the hazards facing the environment, as well as the increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, is expected to spur demand for environmental scientists and specialists. 

Learn more


  • Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Natural Resources Conservation Services and Animal Rescue of Carroll, Iowa
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Aquatic Invasive Species Unit


  • Pueblo Chemical Depot, Environmental Compliance Representative
  • Sioux County, Park Ranger and Naturalist
  • Ecology Institute, Environmental Education

Graduate School

  • Creighton University
  • University of Iowa
  • Iowa State University

Major in Environmental Science (54-55 credit hours)

Core Courses

  • BIOL 163 Biological Principles I
  • CHEM 151 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 152 General Chemistry II
  • ENVS 102 Environmental Science Laboratory
  • ENVS 103 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ENVS 110 Physical Geology
  • ENVS 201 Conservation Ecology
  • ENVS 210 Global Climate Change
  • ENVS 320 Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems(GIS)
  • ENVS 400 Supervised Project
  • ENVS 495 Internship
  • ENVS 498 Senior Capstone Seminar
  • MATH 140 Elementary Applied Statistics
  • MATH 145 Elementary Functions
  • PHIL 340 Environmental Ethics
  • PHYS 115 Environmental Physics

Option 1: Physical Science

Three of these four classes must be taken.

  • ENVS 215 Agriculture and the Environment
  • ENVS 305 Introduction to Soil Science
  • ENVS 312 Environmental Chemistry
  • ENVS 317 Environmental Hydrology

Option 2: Biological Science

Three of these four courses must be taken.

  • BIOL 210 Zoology
  • BIOL 222 Botany
  • BIOL 333 Island Ecology
  • BIOL 426 Ornithology
  • BIOL 427 Herpetology
  • BIOL 428 Mammalogy

Minor in Environmental Science (21 credit hours)

  • ENVS 103 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ENVS 110 Physical Geology
  • ENVS 201 Conservation Ecology
  • ENVS 210 Global Climate Change
  • ENVS 495 Internship
  • ENVS 498 Senior Capstone Seminar
  • MATH 140 Elementary Applied Statistics
  • PHIL 340 Environmental Ethics


Dr.   Melinda  Coogan

Melinda Coogan

Professor of Biology

Dr.   Benjamin  Maas

Benjamin Maas

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Geology

Science Students Take Part in "No-Limits" Initiative

Thanks to a $2.7 million endowment from Harry Stine and the Stine Family Foundation, BVU's science curriculum goes beyond lectures, taking lessons of the classroom into the real world.

Read More
Science Students Take Part in

BVU Receives Prestigious NSF Grant for STEM Scholarships

Each year BVU selects 15-18 students to receive grant funding of $5,000 max per year for up to four years and $2,000 for a science sampler interim trip.

Read More
BVU Receives Prestigious NSF Grant for STEM Scholarships