Biosciences (Green) Track

The Environmental Biosciences Track provides the essential skills for entry-level positions that require a good knowledge of biotic systems and the ability to inventory biologic resources. This track aims to produce scientists capable of tackling environmental problems in which links/interactions with life sciences are crucial and a greater knowledge of biological/ecological sciences is required. It also lays a strong foundation for graduate or professional training in disciplines such as ecology, wildlife management, and natural resource management. Students must complete at least 33 s.h. of Environmental Biosciences Track course work, including one 4 s.h. field course at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory.

For help planning your courses, please see the green track's Example Plan of Study, or contact the ES Program's undergraduate academic advisor, Hannah Whitcomb: 

Students who plan to apply to graduate programs may consider supplementing this degree with courses in Organic Chemistry and Physics.

Environmental Biosciences Foundation

All three of these courses:

BIOL:2374 Biogeography (Fall only) 3 s.h.
BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics (Fall and Spring) 4 s.h.
BIOL:3172 Evolution (Fall and Spring) 4 s.h.

and at least 9 s.h. from these:

BIOL:2246 Entomology Lab (Fall only) 4 s.h.
EES:3070 Marine Ecosystems and Conservation (Spring only) 3 s.h.
EES:3220 Evolution of the Vertebrates (Spring only) 4 s.h.
GEOG:3500 Intro to Environmental Remote Sensing (Fall only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:2950 Environmental Conservation (Spring only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:3315 Ecosystem Ecology (Fall only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:3350 Urban Ecology (Spring only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:4470 Ecological Climatology (every other Fall) 3 s.h.


Environmental Biosciences Field Study

At least 3 s.h. from the list below. New Lakeside Laboratory (IALL) courses are added regularly; check with your advisor to see if a course not listed below will count toward your major):

ENVS:3095 Field Ecology (Fall only) 3 s.h.
ENVS:3096 Winter Ecology (Spring only) 2 s.h.
ENVS:3097 Introduction to Bird Study (Spring only) 2 s.h.
ENVS:3230 Special Topics (when topic involves field work / field trips) 1-4 s.h.
IALL:3034 Topics in Ecology and Sustainability (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 2 s.h.
IALL:3103 Aquatic Ecology (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3105 Plant Taxonomy (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3109 Freshwater Algae (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3115 Field Mycology (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3117 Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3121 Plant Ecology (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3123 Prairie Ecology I (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 2 s.h.
IALL:3125 Prairie Ecology II (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 2 s.h.
IALL:3126 Ornithology (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 2 s.h.
IALL:3131 Ecology (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 4 s.h.
IALL:3162 Restoration Ecology (Summer only - Lakeside Labs) 2 s.h.

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory is located in northwestern Iowa on Lake Okoboji. It offers unique summer educational opportunities, including the courses listed above. Information on Lakeside Lab courses is on ISIS, but registration is handled separately via the Lakeside Lab website. Note that you need to register for Lakeside Lab courses before mid-April (registration begins in January). If you have a GPA of at least 2.5, you also should apply for a scholarship to cover the cost of room and board.


Environmental Biosciences Electives

At least 6 s.h. from the following list. Additional field courses or foundation courses may also be used for elective credit:

BIOL:1261 Introduction to Botany (Fall only) 4 s.h.
BIOL:2663 Plant Response to the Environment (Fall only) 3 s.h.
BIOL:3244 Animal Behavior (with or without lab) (Fall only) 3 or 5 s.h.
BIOL:3676 Evolution Lab (Fall only) 4 s.h.
BIOL:3994 Introduction to Research (Fall and Spring) ARR
BIOL:4999 Honors Investigation (Fall and Spring) ARR
CEE:5440 Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology (Fall only)  3 s.h.
CHEM:2210 Organic Chemistry I (Fall and Spring) 3 s.h.
CHEM:3110 Analytical Chemistry I (Fall only) 3 s.h.
CHEM:3120 Analytical Chemistry II (Spring only) 3 s.h.
EES:2200 Historical Geology (Spring only) 3 s.h.
EES:3080 Introduction to Oceanography 2 s.h.
EES:3110 Chemical Evolution of the Oceans (Every other Spring) 3 s.h.
EES:3210 Principles of Paleontology (Fall only) 3 s.h.
EES:4630 Hydrogeology (Fall only) 4 s.h.
EES:4790 Applied Environmental Geology (Fall only) 3 s.h.
ENVS:3230 Special Topics  1-4 s.h.
GEOG:2310 Introduction to Climatology (Fall only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:3310 Landscape Ecology 3 s.h.
GEOG:3570 LiDAR: Principles and Applications (Spring only) 3 s.h.
STAT:6513 Intermediate Statistical Methods (Fall and Spring) 3 s.h.

Students may petition their Environmental Science advisor to use other appropriate 2000-, 3000- and 4000-level courses as electives.

Policy Course

At least 3 s.h. from the following list: 


BIOL:1260 Plants and Human Affairs (Fall only) 3 s.h.
ECON:3625 Environmental and Nat Resource Economics (Fall only) 3 s.h.
EES:1115 The History and Science of Oil (Fall only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:1070 Contemporary Environmental Issues (Fall and Spring) 3 s.h.
GEOG:3340 Ecosystem Services: Human Dependence (Fall only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:3780 U.S. Energy Policy in Global Context (Spring only) 3 s.h.
GEOG:4770 Environmental Justice (Fall only) 3 s.h.
PBAF:2020 Environmental and Society: Sustainability, Policy, and Politics (Fall only) 3 s.h.