West Texas A&M University

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Environmental Science Program Information

Environmental Science Program Information

WTAMU Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science

Environmental Science as a Profession

Environmental science is a new field of basic and applied science which focuses on the interaction between people and the environment. The environmental scientist has two challenging, sometimes conflicting, goals in preparing to meet the challenges of the 21st century:
  • to protect the public from environmental hazards and
  • to preserve critical environmental resources
To accomplish these goals, the environmental scientist must be well trained in the fields of agriculture, biology, chemistry, economics, geography, geology and mathematics, and must be able to apply information drawn from these fields to the solution of environmental problems. The work of the environmental scientist is highly varied.
  • Environmental scientists working for governmental agencies may direct and conduct stream monitoring programs, underground water and soils cleanup programs or programs to protect them from pollution or help make and enforce regulations to protect endangered ecosystems of plants and animals.
  • Environmental scientists with public utility companies help select the most environmentally appropriate routes for power transmission lines, manage air emission programs and hazardous waste management.
  • With a petroleum company or a mining company, an environmental scientist might help design a waste-water treatment facility or monitor air quality in the vicinity of a refinery or open-pit mine.
  • An environmental scientist with a consulting firm might advise a municipal government on the most suitable location for a sanitary landfill or a department store chain on the best place for a mall.
Environmental Science Students in full safety suits with gas masksThe demand for environmental scientists continues to increase as world population grows and the need for safeguarding people and protecting the environment increases. Environmental science is a field with equal opportunities for men and women. Those who choose environmental science as a profession generally find the work to be both exciting and meaningful. Salaries typically exceed those in other fields of science.

Because environmental science is an applied science, students who choose to major in it should have a greater-than-average ability in science and mathematics. They also should have a strong interest in environmental protection and a commitment to public service.

The environmental science program is administratively based in the Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Most of the required courses are taught in the Agriculture and Natural Sciences Building which has well equipped classrooms, laboratories and offices. Killgore Research Center, the Computer Center, the Alternative Energy Institute, the Texas A&M Research and Extension Service, the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Texas A&M Research Center at Bushland provide additional opportunities for study and undergraduate research. Within the region, many opportunities for internships and employment exist in consulting firms, manufacturing, petroleum production, agriculture, nuclear-weapons research and regional governmental centers.

Environmental Science at West Texas A&M University

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved West Texas A&M University’s application for an environmental science program in 1992. The program, which became fully operational in the fall of 1992, is a four-year program leading to the bachelor of science degree with a major in environmental science. Because environmental problems involve all aspects of the natural environment as well as the human population, the curriculum is multidisciplinary with a strong emphasis on basic sciences. Required courses for the major total approximately 80 semester hours concentrated in the areas of biology, chemistry, geology, geoscience and mathematics. A feature of the program is a series of courses in environmental science, including an internship to provide practical work experience. Courses in environmental impact statements, law and economics are also included. The program provides a multidisciplinary perspective but also provides adequate depth in technical areas. For students who want additional training in one of the basic sciences, the environmental science degree can be combined with a degree in biology, chemistry or geology.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science

Required Courses in Major Field

  • BIOL 1413—Zoology (4) or BIOL 1406—Basic and Contemporary Biology I (4)
  • BIOL 1411—Botany or BIOL 1407—Basic (4 hours) andContemporary Biology II (4)
  • BIOL 2572—Microbiology (5)
  • BIOL 4416—Introductory Biometry (4)
  • BIOL 4510—General Ecology (5)
Geology, Geoscience, Geography
  • GEOL 1403—Physical Geology (4)
  • GEOL 1404—Historical Geology (4)
  • GEOL 3325—Environmental Geology (3)
  • GEOL 3350—Hydrogeology (3)
Two courses from the following:
  • GESC 3303—Oceanography (3)
  • GESC 3313—Meteorology (3)
  • ENVR 4306—Hazardous Waste Site Assessment (3)
  • ENVR 4404*—Environmental Sampling and Interpretation (4)
  • ENVR 4430—Introduction to Dendrochronology (4)
*Cannot be used if taken in place of CHEM 3310

  • CHEM 1411—Chemistry I (4)
  • CHEM 1412—Chemistry II (4)
  • CHEM 3310—Environmental Chemistry (3) or
  • ENVR 4404—Environmental Sampling and Interpretation (4)
  • CHEM 3511—Analytical Chemistry (5) or
  • CHEM 2533—Elementary Organic Chemistry (5)


  • ECON 4355—Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (3) or
  • AGBE 4355—Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (3)

Environmental Science Students doing an experiment at the lakeEnvironmental Science

  • ENVR 4098—Internship in Environmental Science (3)
  • ENVR 4301—Preparation of Environmental Impact Statements (3)
  • ENVR 4302—Environmental Law (3)


  • MATH 1316—Plane Trigonometry (3) or
  • MATH 1348—Pre-Calculus (3)
  • MATH 2413—Calculus I (4)

Plant Science

  • PSES 3411—Soils or (4)
  • BIOL 2418—Wildland Soils (4)

Recommended Electives

  • BIOL 3312—Environmental Microbiology (3)
  • GESC 3308—Environment and Man (3)
  • ENVR 4310—Global Agriculture and the Environment (3)

Environmental Science Research at WTAMU

Undergraduates are encouraged to conduct or to participate in emerging and ongoing research activities at WTAMU. This hands-on experience makes WTAMU’s environmental science graduates very competitive in the job market. In addition, many environmental science graduates are able to obtain research grants or local employment and are able to pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental science. This early research experience provides the student with a head start on his/her advanced degree. Research areas include; research on Golden Algae (impacting fisheries throughout the world) , pesticide and herbicide effects on aquatic systems, ecological risk assessment (contaminant effects on ecosystems) , dust and odor abatement and monitoring, contaminant fate and transport modeling, endocrine effects on terrestrial and aquatic systems, hazardous waste cleanup and safe disposal and oil spill damage assessment and recovery.

Students and Faculty survey land by a creekFaculty projects include: Assistance to the World Bank and United Nations on environmental cleanup projects (supervision of 1,000 metric mercury cleanup in Azerbaijan and construction of the Republics first hazardous waste landfill), evaluation and assistance on Romania mining cyanide spill to Tiza/Danube, environmental sustainability for agriculture and electroplating in Argentina. Other projects include development of the “Ecological Protective Cleanup Level Generator” for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, environmental support to the Department of Energy Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant, and endangered species surveys and assessments for utilities and mining companies.

Undergraduate will have an opportunity to participate in local and international projects. WTAMU environmental science undergraduates have published and presented papers at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Texas Journal of Microscopy, Ecotoxicology and the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. WTAMU also provides students with internship opportunities with such organizations as the Texas Commission on Environmental quality, Department of Energy Pantex, Bell Helicopter, Excel Energy, US Department of Agriculture Bushland Experimental Station, Mickey Leland , and other local businesses.


Dr. William J. (Jim) Rogers
Dr. Rogers has over 30 years experience in virtually all aspects of environmental planning, restoration, and protection. He has worked extensively with the Work Bank, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and non-governmental organizations or NGOs on global environmental issues in post-Soviet Russia, Romania, Mexico and Azerbaijan. He has also worked with the Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on environmental issues and policy.

Dr. Rogers is the program coordinator for the West Texas A&M Environmental Science Program. He has taught at WTAMU for over fifteen years. Dr. Rogers teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes in environmental law and regulations, environmental sampling and assessment, hazardous waste site assessment, ecological risk assessment, environmental science and agricultural risk assessment.

Dr. Rogers research focuses on environmental assessment, decision support modeling, environmental risk modeling, toxicology, environmental remediation, waste management and handling with emphasis on natural resource and environmental quality protection. Currently, he is directing a project sponsored by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to development a database and tool to derive ecological protective cleanup levels for contaminated sites. Dr. Rogers recently directed the cleanup of one of the world's largest mercury contamination sites in Azerbaijan which was sponsored by the World Bank.

Dr. Rogers enjoys the outdoors and traveling to remote and exciting destinations. He always enjoys sharing his experiences backpacking in the Alaskan tundra, surveying trout streams in the Caucasus Mountains and exploring the most remote corners of the World. Dr. Rogers teaching philosophy is challenge students to use their integrated science education and background, teaming and problem solving skills to address complex local and international environmental issues.

Dr. Rogers has published over fifteen peer reviewed articles, one book , three book chapters, and has prepared and presented well over thirty technical papers. A detailed listing is available on Dr. Rogers’ on-line vitae.

Dr. Gary Barbee

Dr. Barbee received his B.S. degree in Agronomy, M.S. degree in Soil Science, and Ph. Degree in Toxicology from Texas A&M University. He was a post-doctoral associate in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. An M.P.H. from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, Occupational and Environmental Health is pending. He worked in the private sector for environmental firms for approximately 13 years.

Dr. Barbee’s research is currently focused on three primary areas: 1) develop and apply biotechnology and bioassays, such as flow cytometry, biomonitoring, biomarkers, microarrays, dendroecology, and remote sensing to assess the impact of occupational and environmental chemicals and pollution on human and ecological populations within diverse settings or ecosystems, 2) assess the acute and chronic toxicity of new agricultural, industrial, pharmaceutical/personal care product chemicals on aquatic and terrestrial species; and 3) apply deterministic and probabilistic exposure and risk assessment methods to data acquired from laboratory and field studies to quantitatively model health risks from occupational and environmental chemical exposures and implement risk management plans or health policies that protect the health of human and ecological populations. He has published 13 articles, 1 book chapter, and made numerous presentations at professional meetings both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Barbee teaches GIS (Geographic Information Systems), Environmental Toxicology, Computer Applications in Hydrogeology.

Environmental Science Students suited up and with oxygen masks, workingEnvironmental Science Society

The environmental science society provided the student with an opportunity to meet and to work with their peers. The ESS takes field trip to such locations as the Nevada Test Site, Rocky Flats Colorado, and even fun trips such as white water rafting down the Colorado and the Guadalupe Rivers. The organization holds bimonthly meetings.


Financial Aid

Scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available. In addition, advanced undergraduate students are employed as assistants in laboratory courses each semester. Undergraduate students may also be employed as research assistants on funded research projects. Work study and student loans are available through the University.

For More Information
Contact the Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences
West Texas A&M University
Canyon, Texas 79016-0001
Phone: (806)651-2570
William J. (Jim) Rogers, Ph.D.
Phone: (806) 651-2581
Email: jrogers@mail.wtamu.edu

West Texas A&M University serves people of all ages, regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, gender, religion, disability or national origin. WTAMU is an affirmative action/equal employment opportunity institution.