University of Maine at Farmington 2020-2021 Catalog

 
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Earth and Environmental Sciences
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Degree Earned
Bachelor of Science: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Earth and environmental sciences (EES) are critical disciplines for environmental stewardship and resource management. Students in this program engage in diverse field and laboratory investigations in order to develop their understanding of the past, present, and future behavior of the whole earth system. They become members of a scientific community, learning techniques of field observation, measurement, sampling, and analysis as part of their coursework. EES majors work side-by-side with their professors in classes and laboratories, and in the field conducting research in nearby forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, and coastal settings.

EES majors also have opportunities for hands-on internship experiences. They become proficient in doing and communicating science, often making presentations in public and scientific arenas. EES majors will graduate with a solid foundation for careers in the earth and environmental sciences, K-12 science education, or graduate school, ready to tackle resource, energy, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. They will be environmentally literate citizens capable of using scientific approaches to effect constructive change.

With distinct roots, geology having first blossomed in the 19th century and environmental science more recently as the response to widespread awareness of humanity’s impact on the planet, today the two share much in common.  Such a broad field necessitates concentrations in either Earth or Environmental Science; students will select a B. S. in either the Geology or the Environmental Science track. Both tracks place a strong emphasis on field and hands-on experiences.

Learning Goals, Assessment and Requirements


Track A: Geology concentration


Students in the UMF Earth and Environmental Sciences: Geology track focus on understanding the past and present processes that shape our planet and its resources. The program especially values field experiences both at nearby field sites and, during travel courses, other geologically rich locations such as Newfoundland, Ireland and Scotland, and central Canada. Graduates go on to careers in mineral exploration, water resource management, education, and GIS analysis.


EES-Geology Degree REQUIREMENTS

One of the following 100-level courses (4 credits):

GEY 101N Environmental Geoscience 4
GEY 102N The Dynamic Earth 4
GEY 103N The Earth System 4
GEY 104N Oceans: Ancient and Modern 4

All of the following 200-level courses (24 credits):

GEY 201N     Earth History  4
GEY 202     Mineralogy  4
GEY 203     Surficial Processes  4
GEY 251     Stratigraphy and Sedimentation  4
GEY 252     Introduction to Petrology  4
GEY 254     Structural Geology and Tectonics  4


Two of the following 300-level courses (8 credits):

GEY 302  Advanced Petrology  4
GEY 303  Climate Change  4
GEY 304  Geochemistry  4


Required Courses in Science and Mathematics (12 credits):

CHY 141               General Chemistry I  4
CHY 142               General Chemistry II  4
PHY 141               General Physics I  4
or    
PHY 116               Energy, Physics, and the Environment  4


Total Credits for the Geology track: 48

Geology Concentration Options

1. An Honors option, consisting of an additional 6 credits of senior research (GEY 496 Senior Research I and GEY 499 Senior Research II) is available to students who demonstrate initiative and the capacity for original work in their introductory and mid-level courses.

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Track B: Environmental Science concentration
 

The UMF Earth and Environmental Sciences: Environmental Science track offers an interdisciplinary preparation that is flexible, quantitative, and offers the opportunity for greater specialization. Students gain a strong core in the natural sciences and mathematics and, with the guidance of an advisor, may select electives that allow for in-depth specialization in a specific discipline. Graduates pursue careers in lake conservation, environmental impact and assessment, endangered species conservation, state park and marine resource protection, sustainable agriculture, air quality, and energy resources or enroll in graduate studies.


EES-Environmental Degree Requirements

COMPONENTS OF THE DEGREE (17 courses; 68 credits)


A. Seven Foundation courses in the Natural Sciences
B. Five Advanced Core Elective courses in environmental science
C. Three Background Elective courses in the Natural Sciences
D. One Social Science course environmental studies
E. One Statistics course


A. Required FOUNDATION courses in the Natural Sciences

BIO 141 The Living Earth: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 4
BIO 142 The Living Earth: The Cellular and Molecular World 4
CHY 141 General Chemistry I 4
CHY 142 General Chemistry II 4
GEY 101N Environmental Geoscience 4
GEY 203 Surficial Processes 4
PHY 116 Energy, Physics, and the Environment 4


B. One of the following two courses in STATISTICS

MAT 120M Introductory Statistics                        4
MAT 220 Data Analysis 4


C. Five advanced CORE ELECTIVE courses in environmental science

BIO 294 Forest Ecology and Conservation 4
BIO 321 Tropical Island Ecology 4
BIO 353 Conservation Biology 4
BIO 361 Ecology 4
BIO 383 Aquatic Biology 4
CHY 291 Analytical Chemistry 4
ENV 257 Soil Science 4
ENV 390 Environmental Science Internship 4
GEY 303 Climate Change 4
GEY 304 Geochemistry 4


Criteria for CORE ELECTIVES is as follows:

  •  A large portion of the course (>1/4) explicitly applies natural science principles and methods to environmental issues.
  •  Much of the course is devoted to the analysis of complex natural systems that is directly applicable and essential to environmental science and issues.
  •  Much of the course is devoted to methods that are essential for environmental science practitioners


Where appropriate, Core Electives are cross-listed as ENV courses.

D. Three additional courses from either SUPPORTING ELECTIVE (below) or CORE

ELECTIVE courses (above)

BIO 363 Evolutionary Biology 4
BIO 386 Ornithology 4
BIO 391 Entomology 4
BIO 396 Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 4
CHY 241 Organic Chemistry I 4
CHY 242 Organic Chemistry II 4
CHY 392 Instrumental Analysis 4
ENV 497 Independent Study 4
GEY 201N Earth History 4
GEY 202 Mineralogy 4
GEY 252 Introduction to Petrology 4
GEY 254 Structural Geology and Tectonics 4
GEY 277 Geology Field Trip 4
GEO 304 Environmental GIS (Prereq: GEO 204) 4
PHY 112N Introductory Meteorology 4
PHY 141 General Physics I 4
PHY 142 General Physics II 4
GEO 235 Physical Geography 4


E. One course in SOCIAL SCIENCE in environmental studies from the following list:

EPP 131S*       Conservation and Environment 4
GEO 231S*       Environmental Issues 4
GEO 331       Nature and Society (Prereq: GEO 231S* or permission) 4
ECO 228       Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 4
         (Prereq: ECO 110S* or permission of instructor)
          *would also count as an S distribution courses

Students are encouraged to take additional courses in disciplines other than Natural Sciences related to environmental science.  Examples: HEA 210 Environmental Health, GEO 325 Geography of Health and Disease, GEO 340 Land Use, ENG 277 Nature Writing: A Field Course, and ENG 272H American Texts and Contexts (when it’s taught with an environmental focus).

F. Students must select one of the following courses designated as capstones

(which will also count in the requirements listed above):


BIO 361 Ecology                                     4
GEY 304 Geochemistry 4


Total Credits for the Environmental Science track: 68

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NOTES:

1.  A grade of C- or above must be earned in all science courses and their prerequisites.

2.  Geology courses from the Geology track may not be used to fulfill the General Education requirement in Natural Sciences.

3.  For Environmental Science track majors declaring a science minor in a science discipline, only eight credits of required coursework in the major can be counted toward the science minor.

4.  Chemistry courses from the Environmental Science track may not be used to fulfill the General Education requirement in Natural Sciences.


WORLD LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT

For specific information about world language requirements and expectations, see the General Education Requirements in the Academic Programs section of this catalog.

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

For specific information about general education requirements and expectations, see the General Education Requirements in the Academic Programs section of this catalog.

MINIMUM TOTAL CREDITS FOR THE DEGREE: 128

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Learning Goals- Students will be able to:

  •  Demonstrate, in common with the other natural sciences, an understanding of the nature of science, especially the interactions between imaginative hypothesis generation and rigorous observation and data collection. Students will design and conduct original scientific research. They will acquire practice in recognizing problems in the earth and environmental sciences, develop testable hypotheses, make systematic observations to detect patterns and to quantify relationships, employ state-of-the-art technology in data collection, critically evaluate their results, draw statistically significant conclusions and communicate them in writing and orally to a variety of audiences, including the public.
  •  Appreciate how most EES problems require an integrative approach, and apply tools from chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to solve them. Students will demonstrate basic knowledge of the history of science, including the major scientific revolutions. They will be able to critically evaluate the work of others, in part acquired through computer-based literature searching, on which their efforts are built
  •  Demonstrate an understanding of the interdependent components (solid Earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere) and fundamental processes that control earth system behaviors (steady-state, secular trends, cyclical, chaotic), including factors that tend to maintain or drive a system from equilibrium.
  •  Monitor the impact of humans on these natural systems, and evaluate scenarios intended to optimize interactions between humanity and its environment;
  •  Work collaboratively in teams and interact effectively with the public, business, government and non-profit sectors of society.
  •  Exhibit professional behavior and become aware of their ethical responsibility to portray the results of investigations in an unbiased nature.
  •  Gain a deeper appreciation of their planet through exploration of the landscape, motivating them to embrace an ethic of environmental stewardship.

Additional EES-Geology Learning Goals:

  •  Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the major geologic processes including:

              - formation of minerals, rocks, and other earth materials;

              - geochemical cycling (especially the rock, water, and carbon cycles);

              - circulation of the solid earth, oceans, and atmosphere;

              - deformation (plate tectonic to micro-scale);

              - energy flows (internal heat and solar);

              - processes pertinent to stratigraphy and the geologic record; and
 
              - the origin/evolution of the earth system (tectonic, climatic, and biologic events).

  •  Students will be able to document and decipher geologic records through:

             - geologic field methods (e.g., pacing, GPS, hand specimen description, Brunton compass) and

             - laboratory procedures (e.g., petrography; grain size analysis); and
 
             - techniques for data documentation, manipulation, and display (e.g., GIS, spreadsheets, graphing).


Assessment Criteria:

Assessments include preliminary and final course examinations; abundant written and illustrated summaries of field and laboratory investigations, including modeling studies; review papers; and oral and poster presentations of original research.

Additional EES-Environmental Assessment Criteria:

  •  Students will have an understanding of major concepts in the following areas of environmental science: the interdependence of Earth's systems (geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere), energy flow and the cycling of matter; human population dynamics and Earth's carrying capacity; renewable and non-renewable resources; environmental quality; global changes and their consequences; the environment, society and choices for the future.
  •  Students will have an understanding of pertinent major concepts in the disciplines underlying environmental science.
  • Students will have broad awareness of the physical environment, species, and ecosystems of Maine and the environmental problems faced by those natural systems.

 

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