Courses & Programs

Environmental Science (Field Technician)

Focused on providing a strong foundation in environmental science and equipping the student for an efficient transfer to a four-year institution by fulfilling the Massachusetts statewide transfer policy.

Jamie Laurin

Chair, Environmental Science

Science, Engineering & Math

Marieb 325

413.552.2523 (Tel)


What will you learn?

This option emphasizes environmental field investigation and includes strong laboratory preparation. Students gain an understanding of environmental science principles as they relate to the movement of contaminants through the ecosystem. Practical experience in the use of specialized sampling and analysis equipment and the methods to assess, control, and prevent environmental contamination are included. Wetland delineation, soil analysis, landfill characterization, and groundwater movement analysis are representative of field activities. Classroom work is supplemented and enriched by an environmental internship field experience. Graduates of this option are ideally suited for positions in government, industry, and consulting which requirefield investigation or inspection and some laboratory analysis. 

Students must achieve a minimum grade of "C" in all ENV prefix courses in order to graduate from this option. Students receiving less than a"C" grade in these courses are placed on probation until they retake the courses for a grade of "C" or better.

What will you do?

Graduates of this option are ideally suited for positions in government, industry, and consulting which requirefield investigation or inspection and some laboratory analysis. Explore career opportunities at What Can I Do With This Major?

60-61 total credits

20 credits General Education Requirements + 40-41 credits Program Requirements


General Education Requirements

20 CREDITS
This course is the first half of the college composition sequence and focuses on close reading, critical thinking, beginning research skills, and the writing process. Students will read, analyze, and cite a range of nonfiction texts. Students will produce several formal essays totaling approximately 3000 words. Prerequisite: Appropriate scores on English placement tests or C- or higher in ENG 095.
This course is the second half of the first-year composition sequence and focuses on close reading, critical thinking, academic writing, research, and the writing process. Students will locate and evaluate both primary and secondary sources, and will gain skill in summarizing and synthesizing source material while employing MLA documentation. Texts will include a range of nonfiction (articles, essays, scholarly sources) and literary works. Students will produce at least 3000 words of formal written work, including a documented essay of at least 1250 words. Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C-or higher.
A study of the fundamental chemical laws and theories, including gaseous state, mole concept, stoichiometry, periodic law, and atomic and molecular structure. Descriptive materials supporting the discussion are from the field of inorganic chemistry.
A study of the fundamental chemical laws and theories, including stoichiometry, the gaseous and liquid states, periodic law, atomic and molecular structures, and energy. Descriptive material supporting the discussion is from the field of inorganic and organic chemistry. Qualitative and quantitative laboratory work supports the lecture discussion. Prerequisite: MTH 08 with a grade of C- or higher, or an equivalent self-paced level (SM12), or algebra placement test score of 50 or higher.
An introduction to solutions, ionization, kinetics, energy, equilibria, acid-base theories, oxidation-reduction, and organic chemistry. Descriptive material supporting the discussion is from the fields of inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. Prerequisite: CHM 101, CHM 113, or CHM 121.
A study of solutions, ionization, acid-based theories, equilibria, oxidation-reduction, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry, and an introduction to organic chemistry. Descriptive material supporting the discussion is from the field of inorganic and organic chemistry. Qualitative and quantitative laboratory work supports the lecture discussion.Prerequisites: CHM 113 or CHM 121 or equivalent with a grade of C- or better.
Select from the following courses: ANT 101, ANT 103, ANT 110, ANT 114, ANT 120, ANT 130, ANT 150, ANT 250, COM 212, CRJ 110, CRJ 117, CRJ 200, CRJ 208, CRJ 209, CRJ 210, CRJ 217, ECN 100, ECN 101, ECN 102, ECN 104, ECN 105, ECN 120, ECN150, ECN 250, GEO 110, GRT 110, HON 206, HSV 120, HSV 205, HSV 208, HSV 212, HSV 226, HSV 230, LAW 215, POL 101, POL 110, POL 120, POL 125, POL 126, POL 140, POL 150, POL 230, PSY 110, PSY 202, PSY 203, PSY 210, PSY 215, PSY 216, PSY 217, PSY 218, PSY 220, PSY 222, PSY 224, PSY 225, PSY 226, PSY 230, PSY 233, PSY 240, PSY 242, PSY 250, PSY 260, PSY 265, PSY 270, SOC 110, SOC 130, SOC 150, SOC 204, SOC 208, SOC 213, SOC 214, SOC 215, SOC 216, SOC 220, SOC 240, SOC250, SSN 120, SSN 230, WST 100, WST 215, WST 217
An introduction to the structure, function, and politics of United States government at the state, county, and municipal levels, emphasizing their roles within the federal system.

Program Requirements

40-41 CREDITS
A series of guest speakers from industry, government, consulting, and education share their perspectives on current environmental problems and solutions. In addition, speakers will present career alternatives in environmental science and provide a forum for discussion with seminar participants.
A study of the scientific principles and processes underlying the interrelationships between humans and the environment. Concepts used to evaluate problems and options available in dealing with population growth, wise use of natural resources, and environmental degradation and pollution are considered in this course. Major topics include the evolution of human-environment relationships; principles of matter and energy; structure, function, and dynamics of ecosystems; and water, food, agriculture, land wildlife and plant resources. Laboratory exercises include field experiences and computer simulations.
An introduction to the rich geologic history and the diverse natural flora and fauna of the region. New England possesses a great assortment of landforms and ecological systems in a relatively small geographic area. The geologic past included volcanoes, lava flows, collisions and divergences of continental plates, and most recently retreating glaciers. This newly renovated landscape made way for a succession of varied forest types and other ecosystems as the flora and fauna adapted to this newly warming and geologically overhauled environment. Geologic history of the New England, natural and human disturbance, forest succession, and the resulting shifting mosaic of the biotic community will be discussed. Field experiences require some walking over uneven terrain.
This is an introductory course in Geographic Information Science (GIS). Geographic information systems are computer technologies for producing maps and discovering possible correlation between spatial data (e.g., natural resource data, census information, land use data, city planning records, epidemiological information, water quality figures, air quality figures, marketing statistics, etc.). Individuals from diverse disciplines are encouraged to enroll in this course which focuses on obtaining and creating digital data, performing elementary spatial analysis and producing graphical representations though the use of computer mapping software.
The exploration of environmental geology, an applied science, will include the fundamentals of geologic processes and the Earth's natural resources, with an emphasis on the human interaction within the geologic environment. Lecture topics included in this course: general overview of rocks and minerals, geologic hazards (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes, mass wasting, flooding), soil formation and documentation, geological landscapes (e.g., glacial deposits, lava flows, and floodplains), groundwater, waste management, land-use planning and current events in geology. Laboratory exercises, which are intended to reinforce the lecture topics, will include: field visits to local geologic points of interest, computer simulations, and hands-on investigations.
This course is an overview of the major principles and techniques required for the detailed investigation and documentation of soil conditions. Consideration is given to the physical and chemical properties of soil development. Topics to be covered include soil forming factors, soil profile genesis, layer and horizon nomenclature, soil texture and the applications of soil science to scientific studies. Lecture and field/laboratory exercises are designed to introduce the student to the qualitative and quantitative methods of the soil assessment process. A major component of this course will be a student project that emphasizes field investigation integrated with internet research.
This course focuses on the biological, chemical, and physical aspects of environmental pollution and considers the relationships between environment and society. Major topics include mineral and energy resources; pesticides; environment and human health; solid and hazardous wastes; and air, water, and land pollution. Environmental ethics; environment and law; and the relationships between the environment, economics and government are also covered. Laboratory exercises include field experiences and computer simulations.
This course is an overview of the major principles and techniques required for the assessment and reporting of site conditions utilized to identify any potential environmental problems. Consideration is given to the sources of pollution and the current methods available (aerial photo-interpretation, GIS, soil maps, vegetation identification) to measure and assess extent of pollution. Classroom lecture is designed to introduce the student to qualitative and quantitative methods of the site assessment process. A major component of this course is a groundwater simulation project which emphasizes the team approach to solving complex environmental problems.Prerequisite: ENV 120, ENV 140Corequisite: ENV 137 (concurrently)
A study of the aquatic environment as an ecosystem with emphasis on responses to pollution. The physical, chemical, and biological parameters of the aquatic ecosystem are systematically surveyed. Eutrophication as a natural process of succession in lentic systems is described and interrelationships within the lake are defined. Responses of lakes and streams to both natural enrichment and anthropogenic pollution are explored. In-lake restoration and watershed management are investigated as technologies to restore and prevent water quality degradation. Laboratory investigations and field studies stress collection, identification, classification, and analysis of biotic and abiotic ecosystem components as a means of assessing water quality and pollution effects. Students will design and conduct a small scale water quality sampling/analysis program. Prerequisites: One semester of environmental science or biology
A supervised field training program with an environmental protection and control agency, environmental consulting company, environmental laboratory, environmental education center, or industry providing experience in the performance of tasks appropriate to the environmental technician. Prerequisites: CHM 102, CHM 114, or CHM 124 previously or concurrently; ENV 140; and permission of program coordinator.
Environmental history examines how humans and nature have interacted through time and with what results. The natural environment (water, land, climate, geological changes, disease, plant and animal ecology, etc.) and human factors (population, capitalism, technology, social relations, cultural attitudes, etc.) from an interrelated system. However, the environmental history of a period and place is a matter of interpretation, and this course actively explores the many facets of this new field of study. As an introduction to interpreting America's environmental past, students will explore such themes as Native American ecology, hunting, the impact of agriculture, mining, industrialization, as well as the emergence of ecology and the modern environmental movement. Prerequisite: Eligibility for English 101
Select from any Math (D) course with a MTH prefix.


Environmental Internship: An integral part of this program is an internship/cooperative education field experience with an area industry, governmental agency, or environmental consulting firm. These positions, many of which are paid, allow students the opportunity to put theory into practice and to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to make informed career decisions, to set career goals, and to plan further educational experiences.

Math Elective: Students should choose one of the following courses with the advice and consent of an Environmental Science advisor based on results of the Mathematics Placement Examination and individual career goals: MTH 104, MTH 108, MTH 113, MTH 114 or MTH 142.