Program Mission Statement
The mission of the BS: Environmental Science degree is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the natural processes and human impacts that create and shape the environment, as well as hands-on training in professional skills through field-and-project-based learning.
The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Program supports the department mission through a focus on scientific skill development and scientific ways of thinking that focuses on Earth systems from tectonics to climate. Montana Western currently has the only field-based undergraduate program in environmental sciences in the state and one of the only field- based programs in the nation. As a result, students are well prepared to succeed in problem-solving and skills-based tasks. The course work in the program supports development of science minded individuals through real-world, project-based learning that takes full advantage of X1 block scheduling to develop scientifically literate citizens and thinkers. Students are prepared to pursue graduate research, and be problem solvers in their communities and work places regardless of whether they continue in work directly related to environmental science or not.
Students will become informed, critical thinkers capable of scientifically evaluating complex issues involving the environment. Student development occurs through a course of study that emphasizes interdisciplinary, field-based research projects that have societal relevance. Students also gain authentic disciplinary experience through thesis research and/or internships that are supervised by faculty and/or industry mentors.
Many careers for those with BS: Environmental Science degrees are available in the area of natural resources study and management. Those with a background in environmental sciences are needed in many state and federal agencies as well as in private industry and consulting firms. The degree prepares students for entry-level positions in many of these areas and provides excellent background for the graduate training required for entry into and success in graduate programs in many science areas.
Program graduates will:
- Have Disciplinary Knowledge:
- Demonstrate knowledge about the natural processes that create and shape our environment
- Understand how environmental management decisions affect ecosystems and society
- Use quantitative, geographic and observational data to analyze the environment
- Have Research Skills
- Show competence in field and laboratory data collection methods
- Work both independently and collaboratively on professional-level scientific work
- Read and understand primary scientific literature
- Have Communication Skills
- Write scientific papers, professional reports and public informational material
- Give oral and poster presentations on original research and topics within environmental science
- Have Professional Skills
- Develop a strong work ethic and positive attitude
- Learn to work with limited supervision
- Learn how to focus, be organized, and manage workloads
- Show initiative, enthusiasm, and empathy
- Develop craftsmanship in their discipline
The program’s assessment plan provides a way to ensure that the department is fulfilling its mission statement and producing students capable of performing the stated graduate outcomes. As a department, we are also interested in certifying that our work aligns with the mission of The University of Montana Western and with professional and academic expectations for environmental sciences nationally and internationally. To assess program goals, annual data are collected in the following areas: Student learning assessment, teaching assessment, post-graduation and professional work assessment.