Courses & Programs

Environmental Science (Transfer)

Gain a solid understanding of environmental science principles and prepare for transfer to a four-year college or university.

Jamie Laurin

Chair, Environmental Science

Science, Engineering & Math

Marieb 325

413.552.2523 (Tel)


What will you learn?

The Environmental Science and Technology Transfer Option (M031) is 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 known as MassTransfer. Graduates of the program are trained in a wide spectrum of sophisticated technical procedures used in the laboratory and in the field. They are exposed to a broad knowledge base in air quality, surface water and ground water quality, hazardous waste technologies and computer applications like geographic information systems(GIS). As a result, such individuals are highly organized and have strong comprehension and communication skills. Through this expansive knowledge base, graduates are astute problem solvers which are essential elements in the assessment and protection of the environment. 

What will you do?

This option prepares students to continue their education at a four-year college or university. Career options are varied, and include:

  • Environmental Remediation
  • Waste Management
  • Air, Soil, and Water Science
  • Planning and Conservation
  • Public Policy

Explore career opportunities at HCC's Advising, Career & Transfer Center or at What Can I Do With This Major?

65-67 total credits

20 credits General Education Requirements + 45-47 credits Program Requirements

A limited number of courses can be completed online.


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 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.
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.
A scientific examination of human social phenomena. Major topics include interaction, statuses and roles, groups, social institutions, culture, socialization, social control, conforming and deviant behavior, collective behavior, social inequality, demography, social change, urbanism, industrialism and globalization.Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101
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

Program Requirements

45-47 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.
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
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.
A survey of the political, economic, social, and cultural developments of the United States from pre-Colonial times to the end of the Civil War, including early settlement, the Revolution, the implementation of the Constitution, the War of 1812, the Jacksonian era, and the causes and course of the Civil War.
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
Humanities [C] Electives ART 101, ART 110, ART 121, ART 122, ART 123, ART 124, ART 131, ART 132, ART 140, ART 141, ART 276 (formerly 142), ART 145, ART 147, ART 148, ART 150, ART 151, ART 222, ART 272 (formerly 156), ART 231, ART 232, ART 235, ART 241, ART 242, ART 250, ART 253, ART 254, ART 255, ART 261, ART 262, ART 273, ART 274, ART 275, ASL 201, ASL 202, ASL 291, ASL 292, COM 121, COM 131, COM 150, COM 205, COM 214, COM 235, EMS 111, EMS 112, EMS 118, EMS 124, EMS 125, EMS 225, DFS 101, DFS 104, DFS 108 (formerly 106), DFS 205, ENG 201, ENG 202, ENG 203, ENG 211, ENG 212, ENG 214, ENG 215, ENG 216, ENG 217, ENG 218, ENG 223, ENG 224, ENG 226, ENG 227, ENG 230, ENG 231, ENG 232, ENG 235, ENG 237, ENG 245, ENG 250, FRH 201, FRH 202, FRH 205, FRH 206, GER 205, HIS 101, HIS 102, HIS 103, HIS 104, HIS 105, HIS 107, HIS 109, HIS 108, HIS 111, HIS 112, HIS 121, HIS 130, HIS 150, HIS 162, HIS 220, HIS 225, HIS 250, HIS 260, HON 206, HUM 206, MUS 100, MUS 105, MUS 106, MUS 107, MUS 110, MUS 126, MUS 140, MUS 150, MUS 208, MUS 209, MUS 250, MUS 259, MUS 260, PHI 100, PHI 101, PHI 103, PHI 110, PHI 120, PHI 130, PHI 140, PHI 230, SPA 201, SPA 202, SPA 203, SPA 204, SPA 205, SPA 206, SPA 110, SPA 210, SPA 211, SPA 212, SPA 214, THE 100, THE 110, THE 124, THE 125, THE 212, THE 213, THE 227, THE 235, THE 237
Select from any Math (D) course with a MTH prefix.
Select from any Math (D) course with a MTH prefix.
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.


Ecological Economics, ECN120 (B) and Environmental Ethics, PHI 140 (C) are recommended to fulfill the social science and humanities electives, respectively. 

Students must achieve a minimum grade of "C" in all ENV prefix courses in order to graduate from this degree option. Course may be repeated to obtain a grade of "C" or better.

Students planning to transfer to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst should either complete the mathematics sequence MTH 113, MTH 114 or fulfill the prerequisites for MTH 113, MTH 114 prior to transfer. Also, students transferring to the UMASS, Amherst, environmental science department are advised to complete the HCC chemistry sequence of CHM 121 and 124. 

Students planning to transfer to Westfield State University are recommended to take MTH 142, Introduction to Statistics, along with another 100-level mathematics course.

This program qualifies for MassTransfer, which guarantees credit transfer to Massachusetts state colleges and universities. MassTransfer also will grant students automatic acceptance to certain state colleges and universities by achieving the minimum grade point average and the HCC degree.