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Academic Majors


Biological Sciences/Environmental Science

Although derived from several longstanding areas of science-biology, chemistry and physics-environmental science is a relatively new and rapidly developing field. It is characterized by an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to environmental issues of concern to humans. This represents an exciting, rewarding area of science, which requires an especially strong academic background and an ability to think both analytically and comprehensively.

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Career Opportunities

Growing human populations and the increasing impacts associated with human activities, along with heightened expectations about environmental quality, are resulting in new career opportunities. Large corporations, such as those involved with mining; power generation; production of various food, pharmaceutical and chemical materials; agriculture and waste management have a need for environmental scientists. Consulting firms are adding such specialists to their staffs, which already include attorneys, economists, engineers and planners. Government agencies charged with the responsibilities of environmental inventory, monitoring and regulation offer another professional avenue. At the federal level, this includes segments of the Environmental    Protection    Agency,    Department    of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy and Department of Defense. Examples at the state, and sometimes county or city level, include departments such as environmental quality, health, natural resources, waste management and planning. Environmental education and interpretation programs now appear in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, parks, wildlife areas, private tours and even some large resorts.

This option provides an excellent foundation for a variety of careers. It also leaves a student well-prepared to continue into graduate degree programs in the biological sciences. In fact, most professional scientists now can anticipate graduate education as being essential for career advancement.

High School Preparation

High school students should take year-long courses in biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, advanced algebra, geometry and trigonometry. If available, an advanced science course and pre-calculus are encouraged. There should be an above-average performance in such course work, as well as in the student's overall high school program. An ACT composite score of 24 or higher also is suggested.

The Program

This program is designed as an option within the biology major. It includes the course work for that major plus additional course work in chemistry, the earth sciences, mathematics and physics. Core courses total 33 semester credits, and 13 or more elective credits within the major, plus general education electives, allowing the student to design a program best fitting his/her interests and career objectives. Electives in areas such as political science, resource economics and sociology are recommended. To complete this degree in four years requires that students have an adequate science and mathematics background, begin working on sequential courses during the freshman year, and carry 15 or more appropriate course credits each semester.

Related Experiences

Career opportunities are enhanced by work experiences and extra-curricular involvement. Part-time, science-related work experiences are available in several North Dakota State University departments, as well as at the nearby U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratories. Off-campus work, such as summer employment with public agencies or private organizations, is especially valuable and has sometimes been the entry point for a first permanent position after graduation. NDSU offers many extra-curricular activities, including science-related organizations such as the Natural Resources Management Club, the Pre-Med Club, the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society and the Range Science Club.

Faculty and Facilities

Besides the expertise of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences, the environmental science option also is based on a strong, diverse foundation from departments such as animal sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, geosciences, mathematics, plant sciences, range science, soil science and statistics. Collectively, these units can provide the facilities and equipment necessary to a sound undergraduate education.

Sample Curriculum

General Education RequirementsCredits
First Year Experience
  Univ. 189 - Skills for Academic Success1
  Comm. 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
  Engl. 110, 120 - College Composition I, II 3, 3
  Engl. 324 - Writing in the Sciences3
Quantitative Reasoning
  Stat. 330 - Introductory Statistics3
Science & Technology
  Biol./Bot./Zoo. 315, 315L - Genetics and Lab 3, 1
  Chem. 121, 121L - General Chemistry I and Lab 3, 1
  Chem. 122, 122L - General Chemistry II and Lab 3, 1
Humanities & Fine Arts6
Social and Behavioral Sciences Sciences6
Cultural Diversity-
Global Perspective-
College and Department Requirements Credits
Hum/Soc. Science Electives (B.S. Degree) 6
Hum/Soc. Science Electives (B.A. Degree) 12
Second Year Language Proficiency -
Total 6-12
Major Requirements Credits
Biol. 150, 150L - General Biology I and Lab 3, 1
Biol. 151, 151L - General Biology II and Lab 3, 1
Biol. 364 - General Ecology 3
Biol. 459 - Evolution 3
Biol. 480 - Ecotoxicology 3
Biol. 491 - Seminar 2
Bot. 314 - Plant Systematics or
 Bot. 372 - Structure and Diversity of Plants and Fungi or
   Bot. 380 - Plant Physiology or
    Bot. 431 - Intermediate Genetics or
     Bot. 450 - Range Plants or
      Bot. 460 - Plant Ecology

3 or 4
Geol. 105, 105L - Physical Geology Lab 3, 1
Geol. 106, 106L - Earth Through Time and Lab 3, 1
Soil. 217 - Meteorology and Climatology 3
Soil. 410 - Soil and Land Use 2
Total 33
Additional Requirements Credits
Chem. 431, 431L - Analytical Chemistry I and Lab or
  Geol. 428 - Geochemistry

3, 1 or 3
Chem. 240 - Survey of Organic Chemistry and
 Chem. 260 - Elements of Biochemistry or
  Chem. 341, 341L - Organic Chemistry I and Lab and
   Chem. 342 - Organic Chemistry II and
     Bioc. 460 - Foundation of Biochemistry 

Math. 146 - Applied Calculus I 4
Math. 147 - Applied Calculus II 4
Phys. 211, 211L - College Physics I and Lab 3, 1
Phys. 212, 212L - College Physics II and Lab 3, 1

This sample curriculum is not intended to serve as a curriculum guide for current students, but rather an example of course offerings for prospective students. For the curriculum requirements in effect at the time of entrance into a program, consult with an academic adviser or with the Office of Registration and Records.

Stevens Hall
Room 229

Stevens Hall is located on the corner of Centennial Boulevard and Bolley Drive
(Campus Map)

Contact Information

Dr. Gary K. Clambey
Department of Biological Sciences
North Dakota State University
Stevens Hall 229
Dept. 2715, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-8404 / Fax: (701) 231-7149

Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Ceres 114
Dept 5230, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-8643 / Fax: (701) 231-8802

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8643 / Fax: (701) 231-8802
Campus address: Ceres Hall 114
Physical/delivery address: 1301 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5230 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: NDSU WebMaster

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 10:29:43 AM