The objective of the Environmental Science major is to prepare a student for a career in the field of environmental sciences. Students receiving this degree can either pursue graduate studies or enter the field of environmental science where many jobs are available, for example, with various private businesses, government agencies, and environmental advocacy groups.
The Environmental Science major is a rigorous interdisciplinary program involving course work in biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science and engineering. The curriculum for the major involves courses that will provide students the following knowledge and skills:
- theoretical and technical knowledge of the generation, transport, and fate of pollutants;
- the impacts of contaminants and other stressors on receiving environments (air, water, land), biodiversity, natural resources, and human health;
- resource management and conservation strategies;
- design and implementation of field and laboratory studies;
- data assessment employing the use of descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing; and
- conveying technical information through written reports and poster and oral presentations.
Laboratory courses are designed to maximize hands-on experience in collecting samples from various media, and using an array of equipment to characterize samples of soils, water, and air. Many of the environmental science courses include field trips to the adjacent Ballona Wetlands and Santa Monica Bay to demonstrate methods for collecting samples, and to study environmental conditions and resident biota. Internships with local environmental organizations and companies are an integral component of the program. The major requires that the student conduct a research project followed by presentation of results upon completion.