Environmental Science draws on basic knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological, and quantitative aspects of natural systems. This knowledge is applied to problems often caused by human activities. In environmental toxicology, these problems include chemical releases into the air, the water and soil and result in effects to the organisms living in those systems. Effects are often detrimental to the organisms and can occur at all levels of biological organization, including: molecular, cellular, individual, population, communities and ecosystems.
In addition to the Environmental Science, BS degree, Toxicology is one of four possible areas of Environmental Science emphasis. The others are Freshwater Ecology, Marine Ecology and Terrestrial Ecology.
Sample coursework includes:
- ESCI 445 - Marine Geochemistry
- ESCI 454 - Science and Management of Contaminated Sites
- ESCI 455 - Environmental Toxicology I
- ESCI 455 - Environmental Toxicology II
Beyond the Classroom
Student work is well received and recognized from national and statewide organizations for the use of field, laboratory and computer modeling approaches combined with quantitative reasoning and critical thinking skills to solve multidisciplinary problems. Students routinely present their scientific work at regional and national conferences.
Huxley hosts the Huxley College Speaker Series, which brings guest lecturers to Western’s campus to address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and beyond. The speaker series is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the Western and Bellingham communities.
Environmental Science students gain experience solving real world problems through capstone courses, participation sustainable cities projects, environmental challenges, and work on contaminated sites in Washington State. Students also designed and implemented the first waste audits at Western, which were used to inform waste management on campus.
Careers and Graduate Studies
With an education in environmental science, you can take a number of different career paths. The Environmental Science major will acquire the analytical and quantitative skills needed to assess and solve impacts to the natural environment. Students of Environmental Science can go directly into an environmental science career or on to graduate school to further their study.
Employers of recent Environmental Science—Toxicology graduates:
- NOAA: Analyst
- Stillaguamish Tribe: Natural Resources Technician
- Geoengineers: Environmental Scientist, Permitting Specialist
- Washington State Department of Ecology: Environmental Specialist
- Field Researcher
- Natural Resource Scientist
- Restoration Ecologist
- Environmental Specialist