Environmental Science

Pair with any bachelor’s degree

Environmental science integrates physical, biological and information sciences to find solutions to the environmental challenges of the 21st century. Graduates enter their careers or graduate school with technical research skills and an enhanced understanding of environmental issues.

Program Overview

Find solutions to the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

The Environmental Science minor is a great way to round out your degree with a stronger, more diverse scientific emphasis in biology, chemistry, geology, physics, math and environmental management. Through our connections to natural resource agencies, field trips and internship opportunities, you’ll develop a wide range of technical research skills and a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues. When you graduate, you’ll be well-prepared for a wide range of in-demand careers as an environmental scientist, lawyer, engineer or conservationist.

Field studies

Student Ma’alaea Lawrence records data for a research plot within the West Fork Complex fire. The West Fork Complex fires burned over 100,000 acres in the summer of 2013. Student and faculty research looks at the effects on forest regeneration after compounding disturbances of the spruce beetle and wildfire.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

A minimum of 23 credits is required including:

One of the following:3-4
MATH 151
Calculus I (GT-MA1)
MATH 213
Probability and Statistics
Select at least 13 credits chosen from at least three disciplines (including two labs) from the following:13
BIOL 130
Environmental Biology (GT-SC2)
BIOL 135
Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1)
BIOL 150
Biological Principles (with laboratory) (GT-SC1)
BIOL 151
Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)
CHEM 111
General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)
CHEM 112
General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1)
CHEM 113
General Chemistry II
CHEM 114
General Chemistry Laboratory II
GEOL 101
Physical Geology (GT-SC2)
GEOL 105
Physical Geology Laboratory (GT-SC1)
PHYS 120
Meteorology (GT-SC2)
PHYS 125
Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2)
Select at least six credits chosen from the following but cannot count toward another minor or another major:6
BIOL 301
General Ecology
BIOL 302
Ecology Laboratory and Recitation
BIOL 440
Conservation Biology
CHEM 231
Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
CHEM 234
Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory
CHEM 306
Analytical Chemistry (with laboratory)
ENVS 373
The Water Planet
ENVS 390
Environmental Monitoring
GEOL 240
Introduction to Petroleum and Mining Geology
GEOL 320
Geomorphology (with laboratory)
And the following:1
SCI 400
Environmental Science Seminar
Total Credits23-24


Environmental Science

Kellie Egging


“Western has a mixture of things I’m passionate about—music, sports and the environment.”


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 15 for 2021. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Board, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming freshman or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found here (click). Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. Expand your community and network, while gaining hands-on experience in your field.

  • Chemistry Club: Members share their love of chemistry with the community in an annual demonstration that draws hundreds.
  • Geology Club: The Geology Club is active in fundraising for student experiences, including field trips and attending professional conferences.
  • Gunnison Valley Observatory: Faculty and students use this sophisticated facility for research and teaching.
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Western biologists and students collaborate with the world-renowned research station seven miles north of Crested Butte.
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students collaborate with faculty (and can receive funding) on original research.
  • Tri Beta and the Wildlife Society: Student-run clubs that provide professional development, training, networking, internships and field experiences.

Collecting samples

Students collect water samples for an analytical chemistry lab that involves studying the principles, techniques and calculations involved with quantitative analysis of substances.

News & Research

Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

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Western professors, grad students advocate for sustainability at UN Food and Agriculture Organization meeting

Western professors, grad students advocate for sustainability at UN Food and Agriculture Organization meeting

Read More
Western Faculty Work to Preserve Nature with the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Western Faculty Work to Preserve Nature with the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Read More
Western Professor and Students Publish Study on Fire Ecology

Western Professor and Students Publish Study on Fire Ecology

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Western’s MEM program helps start ecological restoration in Gunnison Valley

Western’s MEM program helps start ecological restoration in Gunnison Valley

Read More

Department Chairperson

Robin A. Bingham, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Administrative Assistant

Samantha Siegfried

Administrative Assistant for NES

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Hurst Hall 128
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231