Minor in Environmental Science

Administered jointly by the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Natural Sciences

The minor in Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary program, which gives students the opportunity to examine environmental issues from a variety of perspectives. The knowledge of environmental science major issues is central to theories and research in chemistry, biology, civil engineering, as well as social science, business, and public policy. The purpose of this program is to provide students with the broad conceptual framework of environmental issues and to offer a new global vision of this interesting discipline.

A Minor in Environmental Science aims at providing quality education to interested students and enriching their knowledge in existing global environmental issues and problems. It is expected to expose them to important issues related to environmental problems and their causes, including but not limited to ecosystems and how they work, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, species extinction, air pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, solid waste disposal, and renewable energy.  Concepts in environmental ethics, management and policies concerning preservation of the environment will also be provided. Additionally it covers topics related to the study of natural and non-natural chemical and microbiological substances in the environment and their transformations, ending with remediation to most of environmental pollution issues.

Minor Educational Objectives

  1. Provide students with an understanding of the social, economic, political and legal framework of environmental issues
  2. Provide students with enough background to be able to collect, analyze and formulate possible solutions to environmental problems.
  3. Provide students with understanding of the intertwining effects and impacts of human activities on the world vital natural resources.
  4. Better prepare students for the job market.

Students Outcomes

  • Understand the underlying concepts and principles associated with environmental science.
  • Identify sources of water, soil and air pollutants.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the practical/field dimensions of a range of environmental problems and issues.
  • Understand the interrelationships between society, economy and environment.
  • Ability to critically review environmental impact assessment reports.
  • Discuss remediation strategies of a variety of environmental contaminants.
  • Recognize potential harmful role of human being in shaping the environment.

Graduation requirements:

Students must complete a minimum of 18 credits:

  • 9 core credits
  • 9 elective credits

Minor requirements:

Core Courses (9 Cr.)

  • ENV200 / Introduction to Environmental Science (3 cr.)
  • ENV402/CIE525 Environmental Policy and Management (3 cr.)
  • ENV422/CIE522 Environmental Impact Assessment (3 cr.)

Elective Courses (9 Cr)

  • BIO203 / Introduction to Ecology (3 cr.)
  • CHM 340 / Environmental Chemistry (3 cr.)
  • ENV423 / Environmental Microbiology (3 cr.)
  • CIE424 / Water Distribution and Treatment (3 cr.)
  • CIE 426 / Wastewater Collection and Treatment (3 cr.)
  • CIE 520 / Solid Waste Management (3 cr.)
  • CIE 585 / Risk and Natural Hazard Management (3 cr.)
  • ENV426 / CIE526 Environmental Remediation (3 cr.)
  • ENV427 / Environmental Physics (3 cr.)

*May replace ENV200 for engineering students only. Biology students may substitute it with BIO331 / Ecology.  CIE course are considered as CIE technical electives for civil engineering students.

Course descriptions:

BIO203 / Introduction to Ecology [3-0, 3 cr.]

This course introduces the organization of individual organisms into populations, communities, and ecosystems. It focuses on the interactions between living organisms and their physical environment. Concepts such as diversity, competition, natural selection, adaptation, climate changes, migration, extinction and deforestation are covered. Additionally the course tackles concepts of environmental microbiology in relation to pollution, remediation and recycling of liquid and solid wastes.

CHM340 / Environmental Chemistry [3-0, 3 cr.]

This course is a study of natural and non-natural chemical substances in the environment and their chemical transformations. It involves chemistry of energy resources, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and, lithosphere (natural and in polluted environment). Principles of chemical reactions, chemical equilibrium and reaction kinetics are applied in this course. Other covered topic is waste treatment and chemical processes. Parallel with these is learning the methods of environmental chemical analysis.

ENV200 / Introduction to Environmental Science [3-0, 3 cr.]

This is an introduction to the environmental problems and challenges facing mankind. Global problems will be directly related to issues facing the regional, and local environment. The course covers environmental problems and their causes, ecosystems and how they work, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, species extinction, air pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, solid waste disposal, renewable energy technologies, and applications to alleviate environmental problems. Case studies will be presented, and potential solutions will be attempted. The course includes field trips.

ENV423 / Environmental Microbiology [2-3, 3 cr.]

This ecologically based course discusses the relationship of microorganisms with one another and with their environment. It stresses the three major domains of life – Eucaryota, Archaea and Bacteria and studies their diversity, interactions and physiology in their natural environments. Biodegradation of organic matter, bio-geo-cycling of minerals and waste bio-treatment are emphasized. The course also deals with metagenomic, metaproteomic techniques and applications as well as the use of microarrays in Microbial Ecology.

ENV427 / Environmental Physics [3-0, 3 cr.]

The course comprises aspects of atmospheric physics, soil physics and many aspects of applied physics.   It introduces the essentials in environmental physics, and describes the basics in environmental spectroscopy e.g. black body radiation and the solar UV and Life.  It also addresses the global climate, energy balance, energy available for human use, transport of pollutants, and noise pollution.  The course also discusses risk estimations, energy saving and nature and future thinking in the context of the global society.

CIE course descriptions are included in relevant sections of this academic catalog.

Last modified: September 26, 2017