Bachelor in Environmental Science


Program Description

Bachelor of Environmental Science

Conduct research at an environmental consulting company. Develop plans to restore polluted land or water. Test and analyze soil, water, and air for environmental contaminants. As an environmental science major at BVU, you will study the interrelationships between human activities and the environment, and learn the skills to work in a wide range of careers in government, industry, education and consulting.

Through coursework, internships, and travel, you will acquire the necessary tools to address key issues of the environment, communicate effectively, and think critically and creatively. You will also conduct field research using cutting-edge equipment while implementing extended projects in collaboration with expert professors. These practical, hands-on experiences will enhance your overall learning experience, broaden your perspectives, and prepare you to enter and adapt to the rapidly changing field of environmental science. There are three tracks in environmental science at BVU – science, social science, and conservation education – allowing you to focus your studies, customize your career path, or continue on to graduate or professional school.

Program Features

BVU is located on the shores of Storm Lake, a 3,200-acre natural glacier lake. The lake is near the southern tip of the Des Moines Lobe, which was formed some 15,000 years ago when a glacier smoothed the area during the region's most recent ice age. The glacier left a landscape rich in prairie potholes and wetlands that serve as an outdoor laboratory for studying the animals and plants that claim it as their habitat. The lake also provides a convenient environment to study freshwater ecology and aquatic toxicology, programs not commonly seen at undergraduate institutions.

In 2008 and 2009, the environmental science program and its students received grants from the Raccoon River Watershed Association to conduct nutrient impact assessments and develop wetland assessment protocols. The program has also received two Veolia-Storm Lake Water Quality Research Scholarships to support additional data collection. Further research and internship opportunities exist with the Whiterock Conservancy and Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.


The Estelle Siebens Science Center is a 70,000 square-foot building with 18 laboratories and three research areas. As an environmental science student, you will have regular access to labs and will carry out research and experiments using state-of-the-art equipment owned by BVU.

Environmental science is cross-disciplinary, often sharing resources with the chemistry and biology programs. The environmental science program utilizes many standard pieces of field equipment for aquatic, soil and plant assessment.

Equipment available to environmental science students includes:

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometer (GC-MS)
  • Confocal Microscope
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Gene guns
  • Sterile Hoods
  • UV and chemiluminescent imaging equipment
  • Greenhouse with three environmental growth chambers
  • Hach Test Kits
  • Colilert equipment
  • ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) kits
  • Garmin GPS and ArcGIS (Geographic Information System) remote sensing technology
  • Canoes and Johnboats
Last updated Feb 2018

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About the School

Welcome to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Our picturesque campus covers 60 acres and is located on the shores of a 3,200-acre natural lake.

Welcome to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Our picturesque campus covers 60 acres and is located on the shores of a 3,200-acre natural lake. Read less