Environmental Science

Department Chair: Dr. Andre DeLorme, andre.delorme@vcsu.edu, (701) 845-7573
Faculty Contact: Dr. Susan Kilgore, susan.kilgore@vcsu.edu, (701) 845-7455
Department Office: 203 Rhoades Science Center, (701) 845-7452
Schedule a Visit: http://visit.vcsu.edu/, (701) 845-7101 or (800) 532-8641, ext. 7101


The Environmental  Science  program  prepares  students to enter the job force in an environmental-related field, or to further their education in graduate school. This major integrates courses from all of the major fields of science - geology, biology, chemistry, and physics—so it is well-suited for those who are interested in environmental issues, as well as students who enjoy all subjects in science, but prefer not to focus on one specific area.

Many of the courses in the Environmental Science major at VCSU involve frequent field trips to provide hands-on experience. Faculty also encourage students to participate in research projects or internships during the school year and the summer. The Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program provides competitive research stipends, and several faculty members in the Science Department also have access to grants to fund student work. Faculty actively help students to search for and apply for internships and jobs with local environmental companies and state and federal agencies. Additionally, guest lecturers from agencies frequently visit classes to discuss employment opportunities.

Graduates of the program will gain the education and experiences necessary to work in a wide variety of well-paying fields, including environmental consulting, natural resource management, the energy industry, public health, and many others. Career opportunities include Environmental Consultant, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Health Specialist, Soil Scientist, Geologist, Biological Scientist, Hydrologist, Agricultural Scientist, Laboratory Technician, Water Scientist, Natural Resource Manager, Technical Writer, and Park or Forest Ranger.

  • Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Club
  • Pre-Professional Club

Practical Experience

The  Rhoades Science Center includes a greenhouse for work in biology and botany, a planetarium, and laboratories for earth science, biology, fisheries and wildlife, chemistry, and physics.  Students have access to fully equipped Aquatic Macroinvertebrate and Biomedical Research laboratories, Prairie Waters Education and Research Center, the dam and reservoir at Lake Ashtabula, the Valley City National Fish Hatchery, weather stations, a river gauge station along the Sheyenne River, and two pontoon boats and a 20-foot sampling boat for biology and fisheries field trips. 

Technology used by students in this major include: Global Information System (GIS) training, handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, multiparameter water quality sonde, and illuminometer. In addition, VCSU faculty have connections with area agencies, such as the North Dakota Department of Health, USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, North Dakota Fish and Game Department, USFWS Wetland Management District, Soil Conservation District, North Dakota State Extension Service, and North Dakota Parks and Recreation.

“I went on a trip to the Boundary Waters with my professor for an archaeological dig. While there, I was able to put my soils and geology knowledge to use. My classroom experience has been phenomenal. Environmental Science is such as well-rounded discipline that our teachers really utilize that aspect. We are able to talk about the biology, chemistry, ecology, economics, philosophy, politics and so much more!” —Michaela Halvorson, Milnor, N.D.

General Education Requirements 

English Composition
Select one of the following:6
College Composition I
College Composition II 1
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition II 1
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition III
Speech Communication
Select one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Select one of the following:3
College Algebra
Finite Mathematics
Calculus I
Elementary Statistics
Lab Science
Select two of the following:8
Concepts of Biology
General Biology I 2
General Biology II
General Zoology
Introductory Chemistry
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
General Chemistry I 2
General Chemistry II
Introduction to Earth Science
The Earth Through Time
Concepts of Physics
Introductory Astronomy
Introductory College Physics I
Introductory College Physics II
University Physics I
University Physics II
Introduction to Psychology Lab (Corequisite: PSYC 111 Introduction to Psychology) 3
Technology, Engineering, and Design
HPER 100Concepts of Fitness and Wellness2
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Computer Information Systems
Introduction to Programming in Java
Introduction to Structured Programming I
Discovering Computing
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Film
World Literature I
World Literature II
American Literature I
American Literature II
Civilization, Thought, and Literary Heritage
Ethics and Philosophy of Science
1st Year Spanish I
1st Year Spanish II
2nd Year Spanish I
2nd Year Spanish II
Introduction to Theatre Arts
Acting One
Art and Music
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Visual Arts
Fine Arts and Aesthetics
Music Appreciation
Music Fundamentals
World Music
History of Rock and Roll
Social Science
Select two of the following:6
Understanding Media and Social Change
Human Communication
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
Human Geography
United States to 1877
United States to Present
World Civilizations to 1500
World Civilizations since 1500
Environmental History
Native American Studies
American National Government
State and Local Government
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Anthropology
Additional Humanities or Social Science
Select one additional course from Humanities or Social Science or select from the following:2
Drawing I
Ceramics I
Survey of Geography
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Concert Choir
Athletic Band
Concert Band
Planetarium Science
Theatre Practicum
Total Credits39

Major Requirement

BIOL 151General Biology II4
BIOL 350Environmental Contaminants3
BIOL 360Environmental Law and Regulations3
BIOL 440Biostatistics and Experimental Design4
BIOL 455Introduction to GIS4
BIOL 491Integrated Science Capstone2
CHEM 122General Chemistry II5
GEOL 100Introduction to Earth Science4
GEOL 300Environmental Earth Science4
GEOL 315Soil Science and Survey4
GEOL 416Hydrology4
PHYS 161Introductory College Physics I4
MATH 165Calculus I4
Directed Electives
Select sixteen hours from the following:16
Conservation Biology
Field Ecology
Restoration and Plant Ecology
Human Dimensions in Fisheries and Wildlife
Quantitative Analysis I
Quantitative Analysis II
Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry II
Technical and Scientific Writing
Human Geography
The Earth Through Time
Environmental History
Introductory College Physics II
Total Credits65

Total General Education 39 Hrs
Total Major Requirement 65 Hrs
Total Credits Needed to Graduate 120 Hrs

For degree and graduation requirements, visit degree requirements and graduation requirements.

Plan of Study

First Year
CHEM 121 (Gen Ed)5BIOL 1514
GEOL 1004CHEM 1225
MATH 103 (Gen Ed)3Elective3
UNIV 1501ENGL 125 (Gen Ed)3
Technology (Gen Ed)2 
 15 15
Second Year
BIOL 150 (Gen Ed)4Directed Elective4
GEOL 3154GEOL 3004
PHYS 1614HPER 100 (Gen Ed)2
Social Science (Gen Ed)3MATH 1463
 Speech Communication (Gen Ed)3
 15 16
Third Year
BIOL 3754Art and Music (Gen Ed)3
Directed Elective4BIOL 3603
English Composition (Gen Ed)3BIOL 4404
Literacies (Gen Ed)3Elective3
 Social Science (Gen Ed)3
 14 16
Fourth Year
Additional Humanities or Social Science (Gen Ed)3BIOL 4554
BIOL 4912Directed Elective 4
Directed Elective4Elective 4
Elective4GEOL 4164
 13 16
Total Credits 120

Please note:  This plan is intended for general information only.  Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor each semester before registration.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the Environmental Science Program the student should be able to:
1.  Understand the natural environment and its relationship with human activities
2.  Exhibit critical thinking skills by applying the scientific method to solve problems
3.  Exhibit the ability to read and communicate in a scientific style
4.  Understand how to implement scientific research strategies, such as collecting, managing, and interpreting data.