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Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Environmental Science aims to provide students in the program with both basic and advanced training in the field of Environmental Science. Students will develop skills in how to monitor environmental conditions as well as analyze environmental problems. The main areas of study will include biological, geological, and chemical characteristics of environmental processes and natural resources. Today’s environmental problems call for scientists who are educated in more than one discipline, highly trained in technical skills, and aware of the political and social dimensions of environmental problems and how to make decisions with regard to these situations. The B.S. program covers the areas of biology, chemistry, and geology in relation to the discipline. Coursework includes a variety of interdisciplinary topics ranging from fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems, environmental systems, environmental chemistry, environmental microbiology, environmental remediation, global change and environmental law. Students will gain hands-on experience with many of the instrumental techniques used in environmental analysis and have the opportunity to engage in teamwork for field studies, excursions and laboratory studies. Problem solving through individual exploration as well as a member of a team is emphasized, due to the nature of environmental science being a multidisciplinary field. This will require students to use many of the chemical, geological and biological analytical techniques in assessing and solving problems. There is a strong emphasis on producing graduates with well-developed oral and written communication skills who are capable of complex problem solving.

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree, including the Core Curriculum requirements, is 120, at least 39 of which must be at the upper-division level.

All candidates seeking this degree must fulfill the Core Curriculum requirements and the degree requirements, which are listed below.

Core Curriculum Requirements (42 semester credit hours)
Students seeking the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science must fulfill University Core Curriculum requirements in the same manner as other students. If courses are taken to satisfy both degree requirements and Core Curriculum requirements, then students may need to take additional courses in order to meet the minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree. For a complete listing of courses that satisfy the Core Curriculum requirements, see pages 3-5 of this catalog.

The core requirements in Mathematics and Natural Sciences are automatically fulfilled in obtaining a B.S. degree in Environmental Science.

Degree Requirements

  1. 32 semester credit hours of required environmental science courses completed with a grade of “C-” or better:

    ES  2013, 2021  Introduction to Environmental Systems I and Laboratory
    ES  2023, 2031  Introduction to Environmental Systems II and Laboratory
    ES  3033, 3042  Environmental Ecology and Laboratory
    ES  3053, 3061  Environmental Remediation and Laboratory
    ES  3103, 3112  Environmental Microbiology and Laboratory
    ES  3203           Environmental Law
    ES  4003, 4011  Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology and Laboratory
    ES  4103           Global Change

  2. 38 semester credit hours of required science courses completed with a grade of “C-” or better:

    BIO  1122            Laboratory Investigations in Biology
    BIO  1404            Biosciences I
    CHE  1103           General Chemistry I
    CHE  1113, 1131  General Chemistry II and Laboratory
    CHE  2603, 2612  Organic Chemistry I and Laboratory

    CS  1073             Introductory Computer Programming for Scientific Applications
    CS  1173             Data Analysis and Visualization using MATLAB

    GEO  2113           Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    GEO  4023           Engineering Geology
    MAT  1214           Calculus I
    PHY  1603, 1611  Algebra-based Physics I and Laboratory
    STA  1993           Biostatistics

  3. 17 semester credit hours of required elective courses:

    Seventeen semester hours of electives, at least 12 hours of which must be at the upper-division level to meet the UTSA minimum of 39 upper-division hours. While the degree is a general degree in environmental science, three areas of study have been identified within the B.S. degree program for students interested in either the biological, geological, or chemical aspects of Environmental Science (Biosphere, Geosphere, or Chemosphere). Depending on their area of interest, students must select electives from the list below. Students must take at least 9 semester credit hours from one of the groups below (A, B, or C), with the remaining hours coming from any of the groups. Students may need to take prerequisite coursework for some of the courses listed below.

    Group A Electives
    BIO  2313     Genetics
    BIO  2322     Genetics Laboratory
    BIO  3003     Introduction to Marine Ecology
    BIO  3063     Invertebrate Biology
    BIO  3213     Animal Behavior
    BIO  3263     The Woody Plants
    BIO  3273     Biology of Flowering Plants
    BIO  3323     Evolution
    BIO  3343     Plant Cell Biology
    BIO  3413     Advanced Physiology
    BIO  3513     Biochemistry
    BIO  3522     Biochemistry Laboratory
    BIO  4033     Conservation Biology
    BIO  4053     Wildlife Biology
    BIO  4063     Ornithology
    BIO  4083     Entomology
    BIO  4233     Field Biology
    BIO  4241     Field Biology Laboratory
    BIO  4643     Medicinal Plants
    ES   4911-3  Independent Study
    ES   4951-3  Special Studies in Environmental Science
    MAT  1224    Calculus II

    Group B Electives
    ES     4193      Field-Based Inquiry
    ES     4203      Environmental Assessment
    ES     4911-3   Independent Study
    ES     4951-3   Special Studies in Environmental Science
    GEO  1123       Earth History
    GEO  1131       Earth History Laboratory
    GEO  2123       Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    GEO  3013       Global Positioning System (GPS) Mapping for GIS
    GEO  3112       Geologic Field Investigations
    GEO  3163       Oceanography
    GEO  3374       Geochemistry
    GEO  3383       General Geophysics
    GEO  4063       Environmental Geology
    GEO  4093       Principles of Remote Sensing
    GEO  4113       Geomorphology
    GEO  4121       Geomorphology Laboratory
    GEO  4623       Ground-Water Hydrology
    GEO  4911-3    Independent Study
    GEO  4933       Field Geology Part I
    GEO  4943       Field Geology Part II
    GEO  4951-3    Special Studies in Geology
    MAT  1224       Calculus II

    Group C Electives
    CHE  3214    Analytical Chemistry
    CHE  3464    Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry
    CHE  3643    Organic Chemistry II
    CHE  3652    Organic Chemistry II Laboratory
    CHE  3804    Physical Chemistry I and Laboratory
    CHE  3824    Physical Chemistry II and Laboratory
    CHE  4213    Instrumental Analysis
    CHE  4463    Inorganic Chemistry
    CHE  4653    Synthesis and Biosynthesis of Natural Products
    CHE  4883    Introduction to Mass Spectrometry
    CHE  4911-3 Independent Study
    CHE  4953    Special Studies in Chemistry
    MAT  1224    Calculus II

Course Sequence Guide for B.S. Degree in Environmental Science

This course sequence guide is designed to assist students in completing their UTSA undergraduate Environmental Science degree requirements. This is merely a guide and students must satisfy other requirements of this catalog and meet with advisors in the College of Sciences Undergraduate Advising Center for individualized degree plans. Progress within this guide depends upon such factors as course availability, individual student academic preparation, student time management, work obligations, and individual financial considerations. Students may choose to take courses during Summer terms to reduce course loads during long semesters.

B.S. in Environmental Science - Recommended Four-Year Academic Plan

Fall Spring
BIO 1404 (core and major) 4 CHE 1103 (core and major) 3
BIO 1122 2 CS 1073 or CS 1173 3
ES 2013/2021 3/1 ES 2023/2031 3/1
MAT 1214 (core and major)  4 Social & Behavioral Science core 3
Total semester hours 14 Total semester hours 13
Fall Spring
CHE 1113/1131* 3/1 CHE 2603/2612* 3/2
STA 1993** 3 GEO 2113 3
U.S. History & Diversity core 3 PHY 1603/1611 3/1
U.S. History & Diversity core 3 WRC 1023 (core) 3
WRC 1013 (core) 3    
Total semester hours 16 Total semester hours 15
Fall Spring
ES 3033/3042 3/2 ES 3053/3061 3/1
ES 4003/4011 3/1 ES 3203 3
Literature core 3 GEO 4023 3
Upper-division elective from Group A, B, or C 3 POL 1133 or 1213 (core) 3
    Upper-division elective from Group A, B, or C 3
Total semester hours 15 Total semester hours 16
Fall Spring
ES 3103/3112 3/2 ES 4103 3
POL 1013 (core) 3 Elective from Group A, B, or C 3
Economics core 3 Upper-division elective from Group A, B, or C 3
Upper-division elective from Group A, B, or C 3 Visual & Performing Arts core 3
Upper-division elective from Group A, B, or C 2 World Society & Issues core 3
Total semester hours 16 Total semester hours 15

* These laboratory courses include a lecture component as indicated on the University Schedule of Classes. (Note: The prerequisite for CHE 1131 is CHE 1121.)

** The prerequisite for this course is STA 1053.

Note: Some courses are only offered once a year; Fall or Spring. Check with the Department of Biology for scheduling of courses.

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