Environmental Science Minor

St. Francis was known for his love for all living things.

At the University of St. Francis, there is no greater opportunity to follow St. Francis’ footsteps than a minor in Environmental Science. Respect of the environment, compassion for all organisms and stewardship are key components to the Environmental Science program.

Don’t touch isn’t part of the vocabulary in the Environmental Science program where faculty members expect students to be hands on—in the lab and in the field. If you are fascinated by plants and animals, about how they evolved and interact; if you are excited at the thought of designing experiments, collecting samples and data and pulling it all together to seek the highest meaning, then Environmental Science is for you.

Sure there are mosquitoes, poison ivy, snow, rain and heat but nothing beats field work!

The wonders of the nearby Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and the Morton Arboretum are just two of the living laboratories where USF students learn and work. Students conduct field research at Midewin, one of the largest prairie restoration projects ever undertaken where USF has even adopted a wetlands. The Morton Arboretum is well-known for the work of its researchers and environmentalists. To provide students with real-world learning, USF has teamed up with Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi Lab, Shedd Aquarium, Will County Forest Preserve and more.

Students have undertaken a wide variety research, projects or internships to engage in real-world learning:

  • Environmental Impact Analysis of new coal-fired power plant
  • Water quality studies in Spring Creek, Hickory Creek and Aux Sable Creek
  • Restoration of Doyle Lake Wetlands at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Restoration projects in local streams, wetlands and prairies
  • Marine biology at Shedd Aquarium
  • Field trips to local natural areas
  • Use of Geographic Information Systems
  • Internships at Forest Preserve District of Will County and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Environmental Education, Ecological Restoration and Conservation Biology

Students must also present research results at an appropriate conference or symposium such as the USF Science Symposium, ACCA Student Research Symposium, or NCUR.

Council for Environmental Awareness (CEA)

All interested students have the opportunity to participate in CEA activities which are not only fun, but address and raise environmental issues and awareness. The CEA is in charge of the campus-wide recycling program.


Curriculum: Environmental Science Minor (24-26 semester hours)

ENVS 120 Earth Science (4) or BIOL 126/127 Principles of Biology II (4)
ENVS 105 Environment and Humanity (4) or BIOL 361 Ecology (4)
ENVS 300 Environmental Issues (3)
CHEM 105 Chemistry and the Environment (4) or CHEM 121/123 General Chemistry I and Lab (5)


One of the following Political Science courses:

POLI 221 State and Local Politics (3)
POLI 375 American Public Policy (3)
POLI 494 Topics: Environmental Policy (3)


One of the following Philosophy or Psychology courses:

PHIL 320 Contemporary Issues and Ethics (3)
PHIL 323 Ethics and Environmental Issues (3)
PSYC 494 Topics in Psychology: Environmental Psychology (3)


One of the following Quantitative or Technical courses:

ECON 101 Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
ECON 102 Principles of Microeconomics (3)
MATH 105 Introduction to Statistics (3)
MATH 175 Statistics (4)


For more information, refer to the USF Catalog.