Environmental Science and Policy
The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy at St. Edward’s prepares you to protect and conserve all aspects of our environment. Growing awareness of the need for a more sustainable society has created urgent demand for graduates who can analyze natural resource policies and help solve current environmental problems.
This program integrates courses in natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities to provide students with the necessary skills to investigate the causes of environmental degradation and analyze policy solutions. You’ll participate in student-faculty field research with the goal of producing and presenting professional-level work. And you’ll be prepared for a wide range of graduate study options, including environmental engineering, marine biology, public policy and environmental law.
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy
As a BS in Environmental Science and Policy major, you’ll examine issues such as sustainability, the conservation of natural resources, climate change, soil and water conservation, and air quality. You’ll learn to analyze environmental problems and create solutions by exploring the physical and biological processes that maintain life, as well as how human activities affect natural resources such as clean air and water.
With a BS in Environmental Science and Policy, graduates may work as governmental environmental scientists, restoration ecologists who restore ecosystems for private companies, environmental advocates who lobby for increased environmental protection or environmental educators who introduce the public to the importance of environmental sustainability.
Our alumni have found rewarding careers with Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Horizon Wind Energy, the Texas General Land Office, and other environmental and policy organizations. Close interaction with faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, labs, advising sessions, research and an internship — allows you to learn more about options for careers and graduate work.
For detailed descriptions and timing of courses, please see the Undergraduate Bulletin (course catalog).
I. FOUNDATION COURSES (21 CREDIT HOURS):
• Rhetoric and Composition I and II*
• College Mathematics
• Computational Skills
• Oral Communication
• Modern Language
II. CULTURAL FOUNDATIONS (18 CREDIT HOURS):
• Literature and Human Experience
• Understanding and Appreciating Arts
• American Experience
• American Dilemmas*
• History and Evolution of Global Processes
• Contemporary World Issues
III. MISSION COURSES (15 CREDIT HOURS):
• The Human Experience
• Religious Studies/Philosophy
• Science in Perspective
• Science in Depth
IV. MAJOR CORE COURSES (30 CREDIT HOURS):
• Environment and People
• Environmental Science
• Environmental Geology
• Political Research and Statistics**
• Public Policy
• Environmental Politics and Policy
• The Legislative Process and Lobbying
• One other Environmental Science and Policy course
• Senior Internship
• Research Experience
• Any Environmental Science and Policy Elective
** Students may substitute an upper-division math course in place of Political Research and Statistics.
V. SUPPORTING COURSES (18 CREDIT HOURS):
• General Biology, Lab: Cells, Genetics and Organ Systems
• General Biology, Lab: Organisms and Populations
• General Chemistry, Lab
• Chemistry in the Environment
• Microeconomic Principles
Choose 18 hours minimum of electives
VI. SPECIALIZATION IN A SINGLE DISCIPLINE (9 CREDIT HOURS):
9 hours in a single discipline: Political Science, Economics, Biology, Environmental Science and Policy, Sociology, or Chemistry. You will consult with a faculty advisor in Environmental Science and Policy to select a sequence of courses appropriate for your interests. At least 3 of these hours will be upper division.
VII. CAPSTONE COURSE (3 CREDIT HOURS):
VIII. GRADUATION CERTIFICATION:
You must register for this course in your graduating term to be certified for graduation.
* These courses are prerequisites for Capstone.
In addition to their required senior internship, environmental science and policy majors gain practical experience through other internships with top environmental organizations and policy leaders. Internships are an excellent opportunity to explore your passions, learn new skills, and collaborate and network with professionals. These experiences are an outstanding addition to your résumé and can give you a distinct advantage in environmental careers and for graduate school.
Our students have gained on-the-job training in the public, private and nonprofit sectors with organizations like these:
- Adaptation International
- Austin Center for Environmental Research
- Austin Youth River Watch
- City of Austin Nature Preserves
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Environmental Protection Agency
- LBJ Wildflower Center
- Lower Colorado River Authority
- National Wildlife Federation
- Save Our Springs Alliance
- Sierra Club
- Texas Commission for the Environment
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- Texas Institute for Sustainable Technology Research
- Texas League of Conservation Voters
- Texas Water Development Board
- U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
- Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
At St. Edward’s, you’ll participate in professional-level research typically reserved for graduate students at larger universities.
The growing campus sustainability movement offers environmental science and policy majors ample opportunities to conduct research and share their experiences with other scholars. St. Edward’s hosted the inaugural Central Texas Campus Climate Summit in 2009 — attracting representatives from the University of Texas, Baylor University and other regional institutions.
Additionally, in project-based courses such as Designing a Climate Action Plan at St. Edward’s University and Research for Campus Sustainability, students undertake research projects and present their findings to the St. Edward’s community with the goal of making the university more sustainable.
Our students have won prestigious national research awards such as the 2010 EPA Greater Research Opportunity Fellowship. Students have presented their work at local, regional and national conferences including these:
- American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education
- Face the Nation Climate Change Conference
- Honors Thesis Symposium at St. Edward’s University
- Re-Energize Texas
- Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE) at St. Edward’s University
- Texas Regional Association for Campus Sustainability