Environmental Studies Life Sciences Option

The life sciences option is designed to prepare a student for jobs in environmental biology, natural resources management, and conservation. The emphasis is on understanding the impacts of human activities on plants, animals, and the ecosystems they live in. Environmental Scientists with a background in biology work to understand how our actions might impact threatened or endangered plants and animals and how those impacts might be reduced. They also work to ensure that populations of game animals and non-game species remain healthy and abundant. In addition, they work to help ensure that ecosystems continue to function and provide the goods and services, such as flood control, water and air purification, and natural products such as wood, that all species, including humans, depend on.

Advisor: Dr. John McCarty (554-2849), Biology Department, (402) 554-2641.

Students majoring in Environmental Studies - Life Sciences Option, must complete the courses required by the College of Arts and Sciences and by the Environmental Studies Core Curriculum. In addition, they must complete in-depth course work for the Life Sciences Concentration. Required courses include:


Biology 1450 Biology I

Biology 1750 Biology II

Biology 2140 Genetics

Biology 2440 Biology of Microorganisms

Biology 3340 Ecology

Biology 3530 Flora of the Great Plains

Biology 4120 Conservation Biology

Biology 4610 Environmental Field Methods

Biology 4800 Internship

plus at least two additional upper-division biology electives.


Chem 1010/1014 or Chem 3030

and one of the following sequences:

Chem 1180/1184, Chem 1190/1194, Chem 2250, Chem 2260/2274


Chem 1180/1184, Chem 1190/1194, Chem 2210/2214, Chem 3650/3654


Chem 1140/1144, Chem 2210/2214, Chem 3650/3654


Either Physics 1050/1054 OR Physics 1110/1154 and 1120/1164



Opportunities for Hands-on Experience

Employers at both governmental and non-governmental agencies and graduate school advisors agree that obtaining experience beyond the required course work is critical to a student's future success. At UNOmaha, we encourage students to start looking for opportunities early in their undergraduate careers. Whether as a volunteer, an intern, or an employee, experience with environmental science outside of the class room helps students hone their interests and makes them stronger candidates for employment and graduate school after they finish the Bachelors Degree.

At a minimum, we require students to complete one internship prior to graduation. Interns receive 3 credits from Biology 4800. Details on the formal internship and Biology 4800 can be found here.

We encourage you to start to obtain a broad range of experience early in their careers. The Volunteer Conservation Corps (run by a UNOmaha graduate) provides a good way for undergraduates with little or no experience to see a wide range of work done in environmental science. Faculty at UNOmaha also act as a clearing-house for information on other short-term volunteer activities. See Dr. McCarty about being added to an informal e-mail list that advertises local opportunities <jmccarty@mail.unomaha.edu>.

By gaining experience early, you should be in a position to obtain a full-time paying position in Environmental Science by the summer following your Junior year.

Obtaining hands-on experience, especially as a full-time employee, demonstrates to employers and graduate programs that you are dedicated and committed to a career in Environmental Science. Experience provides additional benefits as well. Environmental Studies is by definition a broad, interdisciplinary field. Our program is designed to help you balance the breadth of experience you get from the core curriculum, with a degree of specialization in Life Sciences. Hands-on experience helps you gain further specialized expertise and gives you guidance on which areas of Environmental Science most interest you.

Your faculty advisors will be happy to provide additional guidance on finding positions. In addition, check out our job hints page.