Program in Environmental Science

Jaap Vos, Director (Water Center 242G ; phone 208-885-4595 ; ;

The interdisciplinary, university-wide program in environmental science was established in 1993 and is administered by the College of Natural Resources. An environmental science degree from the University of Idaho is distinctive because students have access to our iconic outdoor laboratories, field stations, and broad network of faculty and alumni expertise working together to fulfill the UI land grant mission for a sustainable future. Over 80 faculty from across the UI system actively participate in the program.   

The Environmental Science Program offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees that emphasize interdisciplinary scientific approaches for students to study and address environmental issues. The diverse multi-disciplinary faculty represents all colleges at the university and includes soil scientists, engineers, writers, geographers, biologists, lawyers, ecologists, political scientists, sociologists, chemists, philosophers, and hydrologists.

Career opportunities in the environmental sciences are diverse and numerous. Our graduates are employed in the private and public sectors in areas such as natural resource management, sustainable community design, pollution prevention, air and water quality monitoring, hazardous waste management, sustainable energy, environmental and land use planning, ecological restoration, environmental policy and governance, environmental remediation, and environmental regulation and compliance.

Students enrolled in the Environmental Science B.S. degree combine study across several disciplines and professional fields to gain an understanding of the complex nature of environmental problems. In addition to studying traditional disciplines, the program creates an integrated and coherent approach to environmental problem solving.  All Environmental Science students engage in meaningful field experiences, internships, and service learning projects working independently and in teams.  The curriculum fosters cohorts of students to form a supportive learning community.  At the B.S. level, five option areas are offered within Environmental Science: Ecological Restoration; Culture and Communication; Policy, Planning and Management; Integrated Sciences; and Sustainability Sciences.  The Sustainability Sciences option is designed for online students.  

Graduate training in the Environmental Science program includes degree options of M.S. thesis-track, M.S. non-thesis-track, and Ph.D. Modes of study include online and in-person. Admission to the graduate program is based on the ability to complete graduate-level work evidenced by undergraduate transcripts and relevant work experience. In addition, for research-based degrees (M.S. thesis-track and Ph.D.), admission is based on the applicant's statement of research and career objectives; the compatibility of the student's objectives with faculty expertise and program objectives; and availability of graduate faculty to act as major advisor for the applicant. Applicants with backgrounds across a wide array of topics are encouraged due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Students without backgrounds in environmental science may be admitted after certain undergraduate deficiencies are completed.