BS in Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences with Emphasis in Environmental Science

Degree Program Description

Soil is the medium of life. It provides essential nutrients so that our agricultural crops can produce bountiful harvests. It filters pollution and impurities from our water. It allows forests to grow and clean our air.  The Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences degree combines  interests in monitoring environmental change, conserving soil and assuring healthy streams while shaping new policies and educating others about the environment.  Careers include Environmental Specialists, Soil Conservationist, Soil Scientists, and Water Quality Specialists.  Environmental specialists find employment with federal, state, county and city government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as numerous private consulting firms. They use their broad technical knowledge and understanding of ecosystems to provide expertise in situations involving a variety of environmental issues, which could include air and water quality, waste management, and responsible land use.  Soil conservationists and soil scientists often are employed by state and federal agencies such as the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are responsible for working with landowners, especially farmers, to ensure that soil conservation practices are in place on the land. They use their knowledge of the physical properties, tillage, chemistry and fertility of soils to make agriculture more productive while protecting the environment. They may also use their knowledge to perform onsite investigations for various land uses. Water quality specialists also find employment with government agencies and private consulting firms. They are responsible for monitoring rivers, lakes and streams for potential pollution from erosion and runoff, as well as ensuring that wells and other sources of municipal drinking water are safe.

Major Program Requirements

In addition to university general education requirements, students must meet school requirements as well as the degree requirements below:

Emphasis in Environmental Science

Addressing environmental problems such as water and air quality, waste management and land use issues often requires an interdisciplinary science education as well as an understanding of the social and economic context of the problem. The environmental science emphasis is designed to prepare students for careers as environmental professionals.

Within the environmental science emphasis, students can choose one of three tracks: (Note: Tracks do not appear on transcripts or diplomas.)

  • water quality
  • land management
  • hydrology

Students in all tracks take a mixture of natural and applied science courses such as ecology, soil science, forestry, atmospheric science, and fisheries and wildlife.

Other required classes provide students with technical and outreach skills such as geographical information systems (GIS) and additional communications courses, to prepare for work in environmental careers. Students also gain hands-on experience in their field of interest through off-campus internships and practical courses. Each of the tracks requires a 3-credit practical internship in environmental science. Students must complete 128 credits to graduate, including 21-22 credits in the water quality, land management or air quality track.

Among the skills and abilities students develop as graduates with an environmental science emphasis are:

  • Understanding of ecosystems and the factors affecting environmental processes and problems
  • Facility with environmental monitoring techniques and instrumentation
  • Knowledge of technologies and methods for remediation of degraded environments
  • Capacity to effectively communicate and educate others about the environment
Emphasis core general requirements
Departmental Quantitative Skills3
MATH 1400Calculus for Social and Life Sciences I3
MATH 1500Analytic Geometry and Calculus I5
MATH 1700Calculus II (recommended elective for Hydrology Track)5
Departmental Sciences29-30
Biological science15
BIO_SC 1200General Botany with Laboratory5
BIO_SC 1500Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory3-5
BIO_SC 3650General Ecology5
or FOREST 4320 Forest Ecology
Chemistry3
CHEM 1330College Chemistry II4
Recommended electives
CHEM 2030Survey of Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 2100Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 2110Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 2130Organic Laboratory I2
Geology4
GEOL 1100Principles of Geology with Laboratory4
or GEOL 1200 Environmental Geology with Laboratory
GEOL 1200Environmental Geology with Laboratory4
Physics4-5
ENV_SC 4305
ENV_SC 4306
Environmental Soil Physics
and Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
4-5
or PHYSCS 1210 College Physics I
PHYSCS 1210College Physics I4
PHYSCS 2750University Physics I5
Recommended science electives for Hydrology Track:
PHYSCS 1220College Physics II4
PHYSCS 2760University Physics II5
Policy/Regulation:3
NAT_R 4353Natural Resource Policy/Administration3
or CV_ENG 4250 Environmental Regulatory Compliance
CV_ENG 4250Environmental Regulatory Compliance3
Departmental Requirements23
Atmospheric Sciences/Soil Science8
ATM_SC 1050Introductory Meteorology3
SOIL 2100Introduction to Soils3
SOIL 2106Soil Science Laboratory2
Computer Science
AFNR 1111Computing and Information Systems I3
INFOTC 1040Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming3
CMP_SC 1050Algorithm Design and Programming I3
NAT_R 4325Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 3040Introduction to Geographic Information Systems GIS3
Environmental Science Emphasis Area Requirements9
ENV_SC 1100Introduction to Environmental Science3
ENV_SC 3290Soils and the Environment3
ENV_SC 3500Pollutant Fate and Transport3
Capstone Experience3
ENV_SC 4320Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling3
Electives12-14
Hydrology Track24-25
FOREST 4390Watershed Management and Water Quality3
NAT_R 3290Hydrologic Measurement Techniques1
ENV_SC 4940Environmental Science Internship1-99
Select 6 classes (18 credit hours) from the following list (must take at least one course from ENV_SC or SOIL and a course from another department)
AG_S_M 4420Surface Water Management3
ATM_SC 4400Micrometeorology3
ATM_SC 4520Environmental Biophysics3
ATM_SC 4590Radar Meteorology3
BIOL_EN 4150Soil and Water Conservation Engineering3
CV_ENG 3200Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering4
CV_ENG 3700Fluid Mechanics3
CV_ENG 3702Hydrology4
ENV_SC 4305Environmental Soil Physics3
ENV_SC 4306Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory2
ENV_SC 4318Environmental Soil Chemistry3
F_W 3400Water Quality and Natural Resource Management3
GEOG 3630Earth Surface Systems3
GEOG 4630River and Stream Dynamics3
GEOL 4100Groundwater Hydrology3
SOIL 4308Soil Conservation3
SOIL 4320Genesis of Soil Landscapes4
Land Management Track24-25
ENV_SC 3330Environmental Land Use Management3
ENV_SC 4940Environmental Science Internship1-99
Select 6 classes (18 credit hours) from the following list (must take at least one course from ENV_SC or SOIL and a course from another department)
AG_S_M 4360Precision Agriculture Science and Technology3
AG_S_M 4420Surface Water Management3
ATM_SC 3600Climates of the World3
ATM_SC 4400Micrometeorology3
BIOL_EN 4150Soil and Water Conservation Engineering3
CV_ENG 4200Remote Sensing of the Environment3
ENV_SC 4305Environmental Soil Physics3
ENV_SC 4306Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory2
ENV_SC 4312Environmental Soil Microbiology3
ENV_SC 4318Environmental Soil Chemistry3
F_W 4800Environmental Toxicology3
FOREST 3207Forest Fire Control and Use2
FOREST 4330Practice of Silviculture3
FOREST 4370Wildland Fire Management3
FOREST 4360Photogrammetry, Inventory and Models3
FOREST 4390Watershed Management and Water Quality3
GEOG 3610Physical Geography of the United States3
GEOG 3630Earth Surface Systems3
GEOG 4710Spatial Analysis in Geography3
GEOG 3830Remote Sensing3
GEOG 3040Introduction to Geographic Information Systems GIS3
GEOG 4940Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS II)3
NAT_R 4325Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
PLNT_S 3270Forage Crops3
PLNT_S 3275Grain Crops3
RU_SOC 4341Building Communities from the Grassroots3
RU_SOC 4370Environmental Sociology3
SOIL 4308Soil Conservation3
SOIL 4313Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition3
SOIL 4320Genesis of Soil Landscapes4
Water Quality Track24-25
F_W 3400Water Quality and Natural Resource Management3
ENV_SC 4940Environmental Science Internship1-99
Select 6 classes (18 credit hours) from the following list (must take at least one course from ENV_SC or SOIL and a course from another department)
AG_S_M 4420Surface Water Management3
ATM_SC 3600Climates of the World3
ATM_SC 4400Micrometeorology3
BIOL_EN 4150Soil and Water Conservation Engineering3
CV_ENG 4200Remote Sensing of the Environment3
ENV_SC 3330Environmental Land Use Management3
ENV_SC 4305Environmental Soil Physics3
ENV_SC 4306Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory2
ENV_SC 4312Environmental Soil Microbiology3
ENV_SC 4318Environmental Soil Chemistry3
F_W 4100Limnology3-4
F_W 4800Environmental Toxicology3
FOREST 4360Photogrammetry, Inventory and Models3
FOREST 4390Watershed Management and Water Quality3
GEOG 3830Remote Sensing3
GEOG 3040Introduction to Geographic Information Systems GIS3
GEOG 4940Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS II)3
GEOL 4100Groundwater Hydrology3
GEOL 4300Introduction to Low-Temperature Geochemistry3
NAT_R 4325Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
PLNT_S 4720Aquatic Entomology3
RU_SOC 4370Environmental Sociology3
SOIL 4308Soil Conservation3
SOIL 4313Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition3
SOIL 4320Genesis of Soil Landscapes4

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Sample Plan of Study

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
GEOL 11004CHEM 13204 
HIST 1100 or POL_SC 11003ENGLSH 10003 
MATH 11003ENV_SC 11003 
AFNR 11202SOIL 21003 
AFNR 21201SOIL 21062 
 Humanities Elective3 
 13 18  
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ATM_SC 10503AG_EC 20703International Studies recommended6-9
BIO_SC 15005CHEM 13304 
RU_SOC 10003COMMUN 12003 
MATH 14003ENV_SC 35003 
ENV_SC 32903RU_SOC 22253 
 17 16 6-9
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
BIO_SC 12005F_W 34003ENV_SC 49403
BIO_SC 36505NAT_R 43253 
STAT 25303NAT_R 43533 
Humanities Elective3ENV_SC 33303 
 Humanities Elective3 
 16 15 3
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
ENV_SC 43053GEOL 41003 
ENV_SC 43062F_W 48003 
ENV_SC 43203ENV_SC 43183 
F_W 41004Other Electives7 
FOREST 43903  
Other Elective2  
 17 16  
Total Credits: 137-140

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students who have attended since August 2007 can request a degree audit by logging in to myZou and navigating to Self Service, then Student Center, and clicking on “Request Degree Audit.” The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.

MU students who have NOT attended since August 2007 can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to http://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

For newly admitted or prospective students, MU degree audits can be created at http://www.transfer.org. Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to http://registrar.missouri.edu/degree-audits/index.php.

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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