Courses | Environmental Science, B.S.

Course Overview

The following documents outline a suggested course schedule.


Below are some of the courses you’ll have an opportunity to take as a student in this program. Note: This list is intended to give you a quick glimpse into the program’s academic offerings, and should not be used as a guide for course selection or academic advising. For official program requirements see catalog for details.

General Education

An introduction to philosophy through a study of the principal ethical theories and thinkers; basic ethical problems and related biblical teaching.

Major Courses: Biological Science

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment using concepts from ecology, biology, chemistry, geology, the social sciences and Scripture to understand the interplay of natural resources, how humans are affecting the environment, and how to deal with environmental problems.

Introductory course for biological science majors emphasizing the principles of systematics and biodiversity, population genetics and origins theories, ecology, and anatomy and physiology.

This laboratory, which accompanies General Biology II, will involve dissection as well as experimentation. A field project involving the La Mirada Creek is included.

Writing for competency in the biological sciences. Students will get instruction and practice in science writing for the biological sciences as well as the two portions of the writing competency requirement. At the end of the course, students will take the timed writing portion of the writing competency requirement.

The study of the organs, tissues, functions and responses to environment of typical flowering plants and the morphology and life history of the major lower plant groups. Some classification of local forms is included, and limited use of the scanning electron microscope is available.

Prepares the student for biostatistical application essential to practice in evidence-based professions. Content includes: descriptive statistics; probability theory and rules; discrete and continuous probability distributions; sampling distributions; confidence intervals; hypothesis testing; experimental design; ANOVA; linear and multiple regression; contingency table analysis; non-parametrics; survival analysis; discussion of the use of statistics in journal articles.

An introduction to the general concepts of the ecology of populations, communities and ecosystems, including physiological ecology, speciation and evolutionary theory. Laboratory includes field trips and a research project.

Literature research followed by oral presentation, group discussion and evaluation; independent thought and study stressed.

Professionally supervised participation in a research project at a laboratory facility or an industry. Documentation of the time spent and the activities performed as well as a written paper explaining the project are required.

Major Courses: Supporting Science

Principles and theories of the structure and properties of matter including stoichiometry, atomic theory, the periodic table, chemical bonding, molecular structure, nomenclature, chemical reactions, states of matter, gas laws and solutions.

Continuation of General Chemistry I. Subjects include chemical kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, solubility, acidity, electrochemistry, coordination complexes and various special topics.

The structure, properties and reactivity of organic and biological molecules.

Quantitative introduction to the chemistry of the atmosphere and air pollution, energy and climate, toxic organic compounds, water pollution and purification, soil chemistry and waste disposal.

An introduction to earth science including: processes that shape the earth's surface, oceans and atmosphere; plate tectonics, earth history and the fossil record, natural resources and environmental concerns.

An optional laboratory experience designed to utilize hands-on investigations of geologic materials and processes, including minerals, rocks, topographic and geological maps, in order to support and augment the topics covered in the introductory geology course (PHSC 103). One field trip is required and is credited as one of the lab sessions.

A study of mechanics, heat and sound. Intended for non-Physical Science majors. Principles are treated quantitatively but without a calculus requirement.

Continued from Physics I; includes electricity, magnetism, elementary circuits, optics, and modern physics.

Application of the laws and theories of mechanics, heat and sound through experiment. Laboratory to accompany Physics I.

Application of the laws and theories of electricity, magnetism, circuits and optics through experiment. Laboratory to accompany Physics II.

Supporting Science Courses: Organismal Biology

The biology of vertebrates, stressing structure and function. Laboratory dissection of representative vertebrates emphasizes comparative anatomy.

Taxonomy and morphology of invertebrate phyla; laboratory dissection of invertebrates.

Introduction to oceanography, marine plant and animal diversity, and ecological relationships. Lab sessions will include field trips.

A field-oriented course to study and identify the common plants and animals found within the major plant and animal communities of Southern California.

Taxonomy, life history, physiology, ecology, and morphology of animal parasites with emphasis on those affecting humans.

Systematics, distribution, physiology, behavior and ecology of birds. Field identification emphasized.

Supporting Science Courses: Natural Resource Management

Environmental analysis of natural resources in relation to people and policy. Focus is on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and land stewardship. Employs a discussion format both in classroom and field settings. Emphasis on grappling with difficult practical and ethical problems.

Systems level perspective on landforms and ecosystems. Includes analysis and interpretation of field data, remotesensing data derived from satellites and aircraft and geological information systems (GIS). Field trips to and analysis of forests, wetlands, lakeshores, and rivers. Includes application to policy and land use planning.

Field study of lakes and other freshwater systems with applications to planning and management. Includes an introduction to limnology and investigation of representative lakes, streams, and wetlands of the region and compares the North American Great Lakes with other great lakes of the world and their stewardship.

Principles of conservation biology with applications to sustainable human society and biospheric integrity. An integrative approach to biology and society that interrelates population biology, ecological principles, biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem functions, and human society in the context of biospheric degradation. The course develops a stewardship perspective rooted in biological principles and directed at conservation of plant and animal species, biotic communities, ecosystems, and human society. Included are topics of human development, poverty, and economic growth.

Ecological and theoretical foundations for ecosystem and biotic community restoration. This course develops ecological principles for ecosystem restoration and applies them to redeeming and restoring degraded and damaged ecosystems and endangered species. Field studies include analysis of restoration and rehabilitation work with Kirtland Warbler, an officially designated wild river, coastal dunes, kettle-hole bogs, deforested lands, degraded residential and farming sites, and abandoned oil wells. A practical field laboratory is included in which techniques are applied to a specific site.

Au Sable is a Christian institute focusing on field studies from a stewardship perspective. Biola is a participating member of the institute. Courses are taught at field stations in Michigan, Washington, Florida and India. Coursework taken through the institute can be counted as elective credit in the Biological Sciences, or may be substituted for specific major requirements.

Selected topics in natural resource management.

Supporting Science Courses: Environmental Policy and Ethics

Environmental analysis and natural resources analysis in relation to society and developmental issues. Focus on ecological sustainability and sustainable society in the context of various factors that are bringing environmental degradation and impoverishment of people and cultures. Topics include tropical agriculture, hunger, poverty, international debt, appropriate technology, relief programs, missionary earthkeeping, conservation of wild nature, land tenure and land stewardship. Employs a discussion format grappling with difficult practical and ethical problems and issues that require deep and personal thought.

Investigation of contemporary problems in environmental stewardship including the use of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, pollution, appropriate land use and development, third world concerns, and preservation of wild nature. In addition to developing a Christian environmental ethic from a stewardship perspective, the course considers such movements and issues as deep ecology and ecofeminism, animal rights, wilderness ethics, wildlife management, biodiversity, and agro-ecology. Emphasis on considering concrete, current ethical debate.

The dilemmas of dangerous knowledge in environmental and medical activities are investigated, including stem cell research and applications, fetal tissue research, human gene manipulation, transgenic bioengineering, genetically modified crops, release of bioengineered organisms into natural ecosystems, and emerging disease, the ethics of environmental activism, and the religious roots of ethical values. This course uses a seminar format in which topics are presented by student teams including presentations, panel discussions, and debate. Current attempts to develop a theological basis for bioethics are considered.

Introduction to the fundamentals of environmental health, with an introduction to environmental epidemiology and environmental medicine. Environmental pollutants and their sources, effects of environmental pollution on the environment and public health, environmental control agencies, methods of pollution control, environmental law and policy, environmental and public health research agencies, environmental epidemiology, environmental medicine, and environmental stewardship are included. Field trips and lab assignments complement the materials covered in lectures.

Au Sable is a Christian institute focusing on field studies from a stewardship perspective. Biola is a participating member of the institute. Courses are taught at field stations in Michigan, Washington, Florida and India. Coursework taken through the institute can be counted as elective credit in the Biological Sciences, or may be substituted for specific major requirements.

Selected topics in environmental science.