Undergraduate

Teaching Environmental Awareness

Peter Beck, associate professor of Environmental Science and Policy, helps students develop an awareness of environmental issues. Hear his views on the importance of sustainability and protecting our natural resources.

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Honors Student Presents Essay at International Conference on the Environment

Environmental Science and Policy major Kristina Schenck ’13 presented the journalism essay written for her Honors Senior Thesis at the International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment in Portland, Oregon. 

Words to Live By

Seven students share life lessons learned from faculty mentors. See what Environmental Science and Policy major Dominic Dominguez learned.

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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

Overview:

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.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, and elective courses, BS in Environmental Science and Policy majors take courses from these groups:

CORE COURSES
Students who major in environmental science and policy complete core courses, which include Environment and People, Environmental Science, Environmental Geology, Environmental Ethics, Political Research and Statistics, Public Policy, and The Legislative Process and Lobbying.

SUPPORTING COURSES
BS in Environmental Science and Policy majors complete supporting courses, which include General Biology, General Chemistry, Chemistry in the Environment and Microeconomics.

SPECIALIZATION
Students will choose a specialization in one of six areas of study: Political Science, Economics, Biology, Environmental Science and Policy, Sociology, or Chemistry.

SERVICE LEARNING COURSES
Our service learning courses offer hands-on, active experiences to enrich your academic credentials.  Environmental Science and Policy majors work with the Sierra Club and other local environmental groups as part of their coursework in Environment and People, Local Environmental Controversies in Austin and the Senior Internship. Students also explore different ways to increase sustainability on campus, through project-based courses such as Research for Campus Sustainability and Designing a Climate Action Plan at St. Edward’s University.

CULMINATING EXPERIENCE
Environmental Science and Policy majors conclude their undergraduate experience with a major research project and a senior internship at a local environmental organization. These initiatives ensure that you’ll have the analytical skills and practical experience necessary to succeed in your chosen environmental profession.

Students demonstrate their research, writing and analytical skills as part of their coursework in Capstone:  Environmental Topics. Past projects include such topics as exploring federal tax incentives for alternative energy systems and EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy.

Internships

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

Research

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

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