University of Maine at Farmington 2021-2022 Catalog

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Interdisciplinary Studies - Environmental Science
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Degree Earned
Bachelor of Arts: Interdisciplinary Studies - Environmental Science

Interdisciplinary Studies recognizes that academic disciplines do not exist in a vacuum, that to fully understand a subject one must move beyond the silos of the individual disciplines and integrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are to be found in related, complementary academic subjects. Thus the student will study at least two different subjects in the Interdisciplinary program, looking for connections between them.

About the Concentration:

This concentration provides a rigorous interdisciplinary preparation in environmental science. Students join an active community of scientists who are willing to guide students in laboratory or field-based research. Field projects take advantage of the nearby lakes, forests, the coast of Maine, and domestic and international field study sites. Students have an opportunity for internship experiences in the environmental field and become proficient in doing and communicating science, often making presentations in public and scientific arenas. Graduates are well prepared for careers in the private and public sectors at places like the Maine State Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of GIS and private consulting firms.

Learning Goals, Assessment and Requirements


BIO 141 The Living Earth: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 4
BIO 142 The Living Earth: The Cellular and Molecular World Ecology 4
BIO 212 Principles of Ecology 4
CHY 141 General Chemistry I 4
CHY 142 General Chemistry II 4
CHY 291 Analytical Chemistry                              4

One additional course from the following:

BIO 232 Landscape Ecology 4
BIO 265 Ecological Restoration 4
BIO 294 Forest Ecology and Conservation        4
BIO 383 Aquatic Biology 4
CHY 241 Organic Chemistry I 4
ENV 257 Soil Science 4

Where appropriate, these additional courses are cross-listed as ENV courses.

One 100-level Geology course chosen from the following:

GEY 101N Environmental Geoscience                                     4
GEY 102N The Dynamic Earth 4
GEY 103N The Earth System 4
GEY 104N Oceans:Ancient and Modern 4
GEY 203 Surficial Processes 4
One 300-level Geology 4
PHY 116 Energy, Physics, and the Environment                    4
PHY 141 General Physics I 4


One additional 200 or 300-level course in any science discipline(BIO, CHY, ENV, GEY, PHY)



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

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

3. Chemistry courses from the Environmental Science major may not be used to fulfill the General Education requirments in Natural Sciences.

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

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


Learning Goals, Assessment and Requirements
Program Goals:

The program aims to integrate the underlying scientific disciplines and subject areas of environmental science into a structured, focused course of study. The program provides students with a strong core in the natural sciences and mathematics and then in-depth preparation in one of four specializations: environmental biology, environmental chemistry/physics, environmental geology, or environmental health. All students should develop the following:
  • an understanding of the fundamentals of the Earth's interdependent systems;
  • an understanding of the impact of humans on these systems;
  • an ability to use the scientific process to analyze environmental problems;
  • an ability to work as part of a team and to communicate with a variety of audiences.
The central goal of this program is to produce environmentally literate citizens capable of using scientific approaches to effect constructive change.

Specific Goals:


Students will:

  • Have a solid understanding of major concepts in the following critical areas of environmental science: the interdependence of Earth's systems (geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere), energy low and the cycling of matter; human population dynamics and Earth's carrying capacity; renewable and non-renewable resources, including water, minerals, soils, biological resources, energy and land; environmental quality, including air/water/soil pollution, solid waste, and impact on human health; global changes and their consequences; the environment and society; choices for the future, including conservation, remediation, sustainability.
  • Have a solid understanding of major concepts in the disciplines underlying environmental science: biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.
  • Understand the philosophy of the scientific process and be able to distinguish science from pseudo-science.
  • Be aware of the interconnectedness of the sciences and their importance in the critical analysis of environmental problems and potential solutions.
  • Have broad awareness of the physical environment, species, and ecosystems of Maine and the environmental problems faced by those natural systems.


Students will:

  • through instruction and practice, understand and be able to apply the scientific method. They will understand procedural knowledge and skills necessary for carrying out a scientific study as well as critically analyzing the work of others.This includes the following abilities: make systematic observations to detect patterns and relationships, develop hypotheses and make predictions.
  • design experiments to test hypotheses, critically evaluate results and draw conclusions.
  • through instruction and practice, understand and be able to apply quantitative and statistical analyses to scientific problems.
  • be competent in the use of modern technology for environmental science research and communication. This should include use of the following: equipment used in the field/laboratory, appropriate to each specific disciplinary track; computer-based data acquisition and analysis hardware and software; standard and computer-based literature searching.
  • be competent in scientific writing and oral communication, including the use of appropriate audio-visual presentation technology.
  • be able to work collaboratively in teams and to interact with the public, business, government and non-profit sectors of society.


Students will:
  • learn and demonstrate professional behavior.
  • become aware of the ethical responsibilities of scientific practice.

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