Bachelor Degree in Environmental Physical Science


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Program Description

Bachelor Degree in Environmental Physical Science

Environmental Physical Science deals with the identification, study, and treatment of a variety of environmental problems including ground and surface water quality and management, waste treatment, land-use planning, soil testing, contaminant chemistry and monitoring, hazardous waste disposal, land reclamation, and energy management and production. The Science Department at Black Hills State University is a small, personable department committed to quality undergraduate programs in science, with a special emphasis on involving students in research and internship experiences. Although the Environmental Physical Science major is rigorous, the rewards are great. This is a broad and varied science, requiring a background in a number of different science areas. In addition to a variety of geology classes, students will complete additional coursework in chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Students with a strong background in these physical sciences are thus able to successfully compete for the internship, graduate school, and employment opportunities. More advanced study at the graduate level opens up even more opportunities, including advanced research in national laboratories, environmental law, and teaching/research at the college or university level. This major also takes advantage of Black Hills State University's geographical location in an area of active renewable and nonrenewable resource production. The environmental concern surrounding this type of activity creates a wide variety of opportunities for internships and undergraduate research projects.

Is there a demand for graduates with this major?

One of our goals at Black Hills State University is to provide students with high-quality employment opportunities after graduation. Despite the current economic worries, many sources suggest students graduating from the environmental physical science major are well positioned for the job market on completion of their degree. Employment as a Geoscientist, Environmental Scientist or Hydrologist is expected to grow faster than the average employment rate. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs over the last ten years have been hiring at a rate three times that for non-STEM jobs and this is only expected to continue. With a lack of graduates in the geosciences to fill the current and projected geoscience positions (including environmental geoscience), environmental physical science majors can expect quality employment in their field. Environmental positions for Bachelor’s degree graduates exist in the private sector through consulting, chemical, petroleum, and other manufacturing corporations. Positions also exist with state and federal government agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey Water Resource Division, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Forest Service. There is an occupational demand for environmentally trained personnel in non-science areas as well. For example, environmental law is an increasing area of interest, as is the environmental business. Students deciding to continue to graduate school for a Master’s degree in a related discipline will find ever more opportunities open to them on graduating.

Environmental Physical Science Degree Requirements

Environmental physical science is a field of study that includes a study of environmental problems such as water quality and management, contaminant chemistry and monitoring, land reclamation, waste treatment, land-use planning, soil testing, hazardous waste disposal and energy management and production. Required Core

  • General Chemistry I & 112L Lab (gen ed)
  • General Chemistry II & 114L Lab (gen ed)
  • Physical Geology & 201L Lab
  • Historical Geology & 203L Lab
  • Seminar Environmental Geology
  • Calculus I (gen ed)
  • Calculus II
  • University Physics I & 211L Lab
  • University Physics II & 213L Lab

9 Take three courses from the following eight courses:

  • Volcanology
  • Mineralogy/Petrology
  • Environmental Geology
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Hydrogeology
  • Topics
  • Independent Study
  • Structural Geology (at SDSM&T)

6 Take two courses from the following five courses:

  • Calculus III
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Differential Equations
  • Introduction to Numerical Analysis

3 take one course from the following or other courses with the prefix GEOL/GEOE/MATH - cannot duplicate from above:

  • Electron Microscopy & 317L Lab
  • Physical Chemistry I
  • Instrumental Analysis & 434L Lab
  • Introduction to Modern Physics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Global Positioning & Geographical Information Systems
Last updated Feb 2018

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About the School

BHSU Vision Black Hills State University will be recognized as an innovative, high-quality University in the Black Hills region, the state, the nation, and the world. We, at Black Hills State Universi ... Read More

BHSU Vision Black Hills State University will be recognized as an innovative, high-quality University in the Black Hills region, the state, the nation, and the world. We, at Black Hills State University, are committed to: Scholarship We engage in the scholarship of research and creative activity to contribute knowledge and art to the community, the state, the region, the nation, and the world; we engage in the scholarship of teaching by using relevant and cutting edge practices to prepare students for the future; and, we engage in the scholarship of service by accepting leadership roles in society and making meaningful contributions to the profession and to the general public. Read less
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