May 17, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Science, BS

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College Arts and Sciences
Academic Award Bachelor of Science
Credits Required 125 semester credits
Faculty Lead Alex Johnson
CIP Code 3.0104

The Environmental Science major aims at developing graduates who, through scientific study and the use of applying advancing technologies, will actively engage in environmental stewardship to build a sustainable future for the earth and its people. The major provides broad and comprehensive education in the areas of biology, ecology, natural resource management, sustainable development, and the social sciences. This area of study focuses on the relationship between humans and the natural world, focusing intently where human interactions, both small and large, impact biological and physical environments, and seeking creative remedies for environmental problems. The curriculum involves field study, academic research, and career preparation, all presented with the biblical understanding that the Christian is called to be a steward of the earth.

Purpose and Philosophy

Stewardship, knowledge and servant-hood are essential to the Northwest University Environmental Science major. We firmly believe the Earth and all its creatures embody the majesty of God’s ingenious powers. We believe that humanity, by God’s ordaining power, is placed here to serve as stewards. Stewardship includes living sustainably and caring for our neighbors at home and abroad. The scientific laws and principles that govern this natural world represent God’s continued and sustaining presence and therefore these laws can and should be discovered and understood by students and faculty. This knowledge enhances human understanding of the Creator and provides us with the tools to carry out our stewardship responsibilities. We strive to provide a unique approach to a major in Environmental Science through the integration of science and theology. The interplay between scientific experiment and theory is balanced with growth in understanding and human imagination. We emphasize the joining of faculty and students in studying the wonders of nature in order to develop an inquisitive mind combined with rigorous reasoning and hands-on field experiences. Stewardship and servant-hood displace materialism and human power as the primary goals of graduates committed to making our world environmentally sustainable. 

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum foundation provides a broad exposure to knowledge and experience in the ecological sciences. The elective component allows individual students and their advisors to target the specific applicational focus.


Graduates with a degree in Environmental Science will be able to:

  1. Effectively communicate scientific research. 
  2. Demonstrate a strong knowledge base in the environmental sciences.
  3. Analyze primary scientific literature.  
  4. Apply the scientific method to answer scientific questions.
  5. Demonstrate competency in basic scientific laboratory techniques. 
  6. Articulate a Christian worldview that integrates faith and science.

Course Sequence

The sequential nature of many of the required science courses mandates that students pay close attention to course numbering and course prerequisites, and to work closely with a science department advisor. Many requirements are foundational and often prerequisite or corequisite to other courses. Additionally, some of the courses are offered in alternating years. The student is strongly encouraged to confer with the science advisor in the choice of elective courses that can strengthen the educational experience.

Core Curriculum Requirements: 43

Humanities: 3

  • 3 credits in this area must be from Writing Practice courses* (see Course Descriptions  for applicability)
  • 3 additional credits selected from the following 3 credits
    Art (ARTE), Bible (BIBL), Drama (DRAM), English (ENGL), History (HIST), Language (LANG), Music (MUSI), or Theology (THEO)

Social Sciences: 6

  • 6 credits in this area must be from Writing Practice courses* (see Course Descriptions  for applicability)
  • Select a minimum of two disciplines from the following:

Business Administration (BUSM), Communication (except COMM 1213), Economics, Education (EDUC), Exercise Science (EXSC), Geography (GEOG), Information Technology (INTC), Management (BMGT), Marketing (BMKT), Philosophy (PHIL), Political Science (PSCI), Psychology (PSYC), Sociology/Anthropology (SOCI), or User Experience Design (UXDE)

Formation and Calling: 6

Professional Readiness: 2

Two Core Curriculum elective credits are required to be Career Readiness credits. These credits can be earned by taking a combination of Career Readiness Courses and introductory internship and/or job shadowing experiences. 

  • This two-credit requirement is waived for students who transfer 60 or more credits to NU
  • Students with 47-59 transfer credits are required to take one Career Readiness credit

Core Electives: 5

Any college-level courses

Environmental Science Major Requirements: 68

PHASE II Environmental Science Core: 25

PHASE III Major Tracks: 24

(Choose one of the following tracks)

Natural Science Track: 24

Select 24 credits from the following in consultation with the academic advisor:

Environmental Education Track: 24

Select 24 credits from the following in consultation with the academic advisor:

Five-Year MIT

In addition, students majoring in Environmental Science with an Environmental Education Track may achive a fifth year Masters in Teaching with careful planning early in the student’s education in conjunction with the College of Education.

Environmental Policy Track: 24

Select 24 credits from the following in consultation with the academic advisor:

Five Year MA-ICD

In addition, 12 credits of the MAICD program are required during the junior and senior years. 9 of these credits will count towards the Natural Science or Environmental Policy Track, completing the 21 credits in the track. The remaining 3 MAICD credits will count toward general electives.

  • GLST 5153 Research for Social Change 3 credits for SCIE 4923 Research Topics
  • GLST 5313 Community Development 3 credits for SOCI 1113 Survey of Sociology
  • GLST 5503 Culture Studies in a Global Context 3 credits for PHIL 2753 Introduction to Philosophy
  • GLST 6343 Social Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking 3 credits for an Undergraduate Elective

General Electives: 14

Any college-level courses

Total: 125 Semester Credits

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