Environmental Science

Housed primarily within the Biology department, our Environmental Science curriculum is taught by faculty with wide-ranging expertise and experience. In small classes and labs, you will work closely with professors who have expertise not only in the relevant science, but in teaching, learning and student success.

Environmental Science


Contact Information

Biology Department

Biology@inverhills.edu

Admissions Team

admissions@inverhills.edu
651-450-3000
College Center

The Environmental Science A.S. offers students a flexible degree option within the life sciences. This degree provides the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science degree with courses and credits that will transfer to a four year program in Environmental Science or related majors, such as Natural Resources, Fisheries & Wildlife, or Conservation Biology.

In addition to coursework, we have myriad opportunities for real experiences in the field and in the lab. Our faculty mentor student research projects both on and off campus. We have active studies on our own campus, including environmental monitoring and restoration programs in our 40-acre natural area.

We partner with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other organizations to provide students with research and learning opportunities in state parks and other locations. On trips to Malaysia and Puerto Rico, our students work to protect coral reefs and collect data for international university studies.

Students, faculty and staff work together on projects to make Inver Hills a sustainable campus. Our Student & Community Garden showcases soil conservation practices and restorative methods that maximize healthful food production while improving soil health. Inver Hills was the first campus in the state to be designated a Bee Campus USA. A nature trail, with native species and education markers, is in progress.


Degrees

A.S., Environmental Science – 60 credits

Program Planning Guide

Environmental Science Curriculum – 31- 32 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 1117 Environmental Science 4 cr
BIOL 1154 Prinicples of Biology I 4 cr
BIOL 1155 Prinicples of Biology II 5 cr
BIOL 2306 General Ecology 4 cr
CHEM 1061 Principles of Chemistry I 5 cr
CHEM 1062 Principles of Chemistry II 5 cr
Total Credits: 28

Biology elective (choose one) – 4 - 5 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 2303 Genetics 5 cr
BIOL 2205 Microbiology 4 cr
BIOL 2305 Principles of Microbiology 5 cr
Total Credits: 4-5

General Education Curriculum – 28-29 credits

Course Number Title Credits
ENG 1108 Writing and Research Skills 4 cr
COMM 1100 OR
COMM 1110
Interpersonal Communication OR
Public Speaking
3 cr
MnTC Goal 4 elective MATH 1118 College Algebra I or higher 4 cr
MnTC Goal 5 elective   3 cr
MnTC Goal 6 elective   3 cr
General electives MnTC courses only 11-12 cr
Total Credits: 28-29

Recommended Elective Courses

Should be tailored to specific major track and transfer university:

  • English Composition (ENG 1111, 1114 or 1130)
  • Higher level math courses, such as Pre-calculus or Calculus
  • PHIL 2130 Environmental Philosophy (Goal 9)
  • ECON 1106 Principles of Microeconomics (Goal 5, 8)
  • POLS 1141 Environmental Politics (Goal 5, 10)
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • GIS
  • Geology
  • Geography

Full-Time Recommended Course Of Study

If you are studying part time, simply follow the order of the courses listed here. Note that not all courses will be available every semester. You will notice that in many instances you will be able to choose the specific course you will take from within a category. For a complete list of MnTC Goal Area course choices, please visit: inverhills.edu/MnTC.

Semester 1 – 15 credits

Course Number Title Credits
ENG 1108 Writing & Research Skills (Goal 1, 2) 4 cr
BIOL 1117 Environmental Science* 4 cr
BIOL 1154 Principles of Biology I* (Goal 2, 3a) 4 cr
COMM 1100 OR
COMM 1110
Interpersonal Communication (Goal 1, 7) OR
Public Speaking (Goal 1, 2)
3 cr
Total Credits: 15

Semester 2 – 14-15 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 1155 Prinicples of Biology II* (Goal 2, 3a) 5 cr
CHEM 1061 Principles of Chemistry I* (Goal 2, 3b) 5 cr
MATH 1118 OR
MATH 1127OR
MATH 1133
College Algebra I OR
Pre-Calculus OR
Calculus (Goal 4)
4-5 cr
Total Credits: 14-15

Semester 3 – 15 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 2306 General Ecology* (Goal 2, 3a) 4 cr
CHEM 1062 Principles of Chemistry II* (Goal 2, 3b) 5 cr
MnTC Goal 5 elective   3 cr
MnTC Goal 6 elective   3 cr
Total Credits: 15

Semester 4 – 15-16 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 2205 OR
BIOL 2305 OR
BIOL 2303
Microbiology* OR
Principles of Microbiology OR
Genetics
4-5 cr
General electives MnTC courses only 10-12 cr
Total Credits: 15-16

* Course required for major

Course Descriptions

BIOL 1001  Humans In The Ecosystem: Renewable Energy   2.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1001

Introduces students to different types of renewable energy through service learning and active participation in a large education event. Students will participate as hands-on volunteers at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair, one of the largest energy fairs in the country, with over 22,000 attendees. Students will travel to the site in Wisconsin, camp out in an environmentally responsible manner during the fair, assist the organizers in various capacities, and attend informational workshops during the fair itself. This will be supplemented with classroom teaching before, during, and after the event. Students will have an opportunity to see working examples of various renewable energy technologies, and investigate one or more of these in depth.

BIOL 1002  Humans in the Ecosystem: Special Ecosystems   2.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1002

Introduces students to the interaction of humans and their environment through service learning and active participation in field projects. Students will participate as hands-on volunteers in selected regions, while also investigating the unique natural history of that region. Students will travel to the site, work in partnership with local agencies in various capacities, and engage in field work. This will be supplemented with classroom teaching before, during, and after the event. Prereq: Instructor permission required.

BIOL 1003  Community Based Learning in Biology   1.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1003

Introduces students to the interaction of humans and their environment through service and community based learning during active participation in field projects Students will participate as hands-on volunteers in selected ecological regions, while also investigating the unique natural history of that region. Students will travel to the site, work in partnership with local agencies in various capacities, and engage in field work. This will be supplemented with classroom teaching before, during, and after the event. Students may have to supply their own transportation to the field site and lodging. May be taken twice for credit.

BIOL 1107  Biology of Women   3.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1107

Provides a theme based course for learning biological concepts in the context of issues relevant to both men's and women's health. Explores the historical, cultural and biological factors that shape women's experiences and health. The course explores the nature of science, female and male reproductive anatomy and physiology, sexual differentiation, issues related to health and disease, pregnancy and birth, contraception, menopause, sexually transmitted diseases and other public health topics. Students desiring a traditional lab may take BIOL 1110 concurrently or following completion of BIOL 1107.

BIOL 1110  Human Biology Laboratory   1.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1110

Provides an optional lab with hands on experience for the lecture sections of 1114 (Critical Issues in Human Biology) and 1107 (Biology of Women). The lab covers microscopy, scientific method, study of the cell, genetics, mitosis and meiosis, aspects of human anatomy and physiology. Topics covered may also include current issues in human health. This course may be paired with BIOL 1107 or 1114 to fulfill a lab science requirement.

BIOL 1111  Medical Terminology   2.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1111

Introduces students to medical terminology, including word elements (roots, combining forms, prefixes and suffixes) and how they are used to build words. Emphasis will be on understanding definitions, correct spelling, proper usage and pronunciation. Students will be able to use terms correctly in medical reports and health care settings. This course provides a foundation for coursework in science and health.

BIOL 1114  Critical Issues In Human Biology   3.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1114

Intended for majors and non-majors interested in critical and ethical issues related to human biology. Ethical decision-making surrounding current biological issues will be examined. Topics such as evolution, human research subjects, biotechnology, antibiotic resistance, or other emerging science issues may be examined. Students will understand the process of science, be able to distinguish science from non-science, and critically analyze claims. Students desiring a traditional lab may take BIOL 1110 concurrently or following completion of BIOL 1114.

BIOL 1115  Critical Issues in Human Biology with lab   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1115

Intended for majors and non-majors interested in critical and ethical issues related to human biology. Ethical decision-making surrounding current biological issues will be examined. Topics such as evolution, human research subjects, biotechnology, antibiotic resistance, or other emerging science issues may be examined. Students will learn and understand the process of science, be able to distinguish science from pseudo-science, and critically analyze claims. Lab includes microscopy, scientific method, study of the cell, genetics, mitosis and meiosis, aspects of human anatomy and physiology.

BIOL 1116  Environmental Science (no lab)   3.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1116

Introduces students to fundamental concepts in ecology focusing on human impact and exploitation of the environment stressing the limits of the biosphere with respect to resources, energy, and pollution. Activities may include discussion, group activities, guest speakers and films.

BIOL 1117  Environmental Science (with lab)   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1117

Introduces students to fundamental concepts in ecology focusing on human impact and exploitation of the environment stressing the limits of the biosphere with respect to resources, energy, and pollution. Activities may include discussion, group activities, guest speakers and films. One semester credit of lab includes field trips and analysis of factors using the campus landscape. This course is open to all students and meets the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) 8710.3200, Subp. 3, Standard J1, J2 a, b, c, d, e, f, J3, J4 J5, J6, H1 a, b, c, H2 a, b, H3 a, b, c, d, H4 a, b, H5 a, b, H6 a, b, H7 a, b, c, d.

BIOL 1120  Exploring Biology   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1120

Introduces non-majors to important biological concepts and serves as a pre-requisite for Nursing and other allied-health programs. There is an emphasis on the molecular and cellular levels of biology surrounding the core theme of evolution. Topics include chemistry of cells, cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, evolution and ecology. Labs emphasize the process of scientific inquiry which includes learning how to propose testable hypotheses and carry out experiments to test them. Students learn the proper use of microscopes and safe handling of lab chemicals and other lab equipment while conducting hands-on experiments. This course serves as a prerequisite for Anatomy and Physiology 1 (BIOL 2201) and Microbiology (BIOL 2205 & 2305). It also aligns with content for common healthcare admissions exams.

BIOL 1123  Introduction To Forensic Science   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1123

Introduces students to the basic techniques of forensic science. Concepts will be examined with the application of scientific principles and emphasizing molecular biology, cell biology and the human body. Topics will include application of biological concepts to forensics, such as forensic pathology and anthropology, serology, toxicology, DNA profiling and entomology. Labs will include hands-on forensic inquiry and applications, such as identification of skeletal remains, blood splatter analysis, fingerprinting, chromophotography, DNA and hair analysis. Current issues, advances and questions in forensic science will also be addressed. This course will be of interest to liberal arts, science, paralaegal and criminal justice majors, and it fulfills the lab science requirement for MnTC.

BIOL 1154  Principles of Biology I   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1154

Introduces important biological principles and is intended for biology and biology-related majors. This course is the first of a 2-semester course series and, also serves as a prerequisite for other biology courses that are part of the Biology Transfer Pathway. There is an emphasis on molecular and cellular levels of biology surrounding the core theme of evolution. Topics include chemistry of cells, cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, and evolution. Labs emphasize the process of scientific inquiry where students learn to propose and test hypotheses, as well as analyze, synthesize and communicate results. Students also learn the proper use of microscopes and the safe handling of chemicals, tools and other lab equipment while conducting hands-on experiments. Prereq: Requires one year HS chemistry or a college chemistry course.

BIOL 1155  Prinicples of Biology II   5.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1155

Introduces important biological principles and is intended for biology and biology-related majors. It is the second of a 2-semester course series and, also serves as a prerequisite for several other subsequent biology courses that are part of the Biology Minnesota State Transfer Pathway (AS-P). There is an emphasis on organism to ecosystem levels of biology surrounding the core theme of evolution. Topics include the origin of life, population evolution, phylogenetic classification, ecology, and biodiversity. Labs emphasize the process of scientific inquiry where students study organisms, their comparative anatomy, and their interrelationship with the environment through research projects. Lab exercises involve individual and group work in campus lab facilities and field studies off-campus. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and use of living and preserved organisms as well as laboratory instruments and equipment.

BIOL 1185  Special Topics   1.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1185

Special Topics

BIOL 1190  Research in Biology   cr

Course Outline for BIOL 1190

Introduces students to primary research in biology. In consultation with a faculty member, students will develop a plan to investigate a contemporary research question in biology. Under faculty direction, students will gain hands-on experience using equipment, procedures and techniques to collect data in the laboratory or field. Students will be required to analyze primary data and to communicate their results in writing, orally or in poster form. Other requirements to be determined by arrangement, and outlined in a contract with instructor prior to registration. Students may take this class more than once for a maximum of 9 credits.

BIOL 2201  Human Anatomy and Physiology I   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2201

Introduces students to the anatomy and physiology of the human body with special emphasis on the relationship between structure and function and homeostatic mechanisms of the body. Systems and topics covered include anatomical terminology, histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, articulations, muscular system, nervous system, special senses, and endocrine systems. Lab component will hands-on experience with tissue specimens, as well as dissections of organs and a representative mammal. This course meets Human Anatomy and Physiology Society learning outcomes and aligns with content for common healthcare admissions exams.

BIOL 2202  Human Anatomy & Physiology II   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2202

Covers anatomy and physiology of the human body with special emphasis on the relationship between structure and function and homeostatic mechanisms of the body. Systems and topics covered include cardiovascular system, lymphatic and immune systems, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, acid-base and electrolyte balance, reproductive systems, and development. The lab component will include hands-on experience with models, histology slides and one or more representative animal specimens. This course meets Human Anatomy and Physiology Society learning outcomes and aligns with content for common healthcare admissions exams.

BIOL 2205  Microbiology   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2205

Surveys microbial groups, microbial cell structure, nutrition, growth, control of growth, metabolism, genetics, evolution, epidemiology, infection, transmission and pathogenesis, and interactions with host organisms. Through hand-on experience, students will develop competence in in microscopy, aseptic technique, as well as in culturing, staining, enumeration, identification, isolation, safe handling and biochemical testing of microorganisms. Intended for students pursuing careers in nursing or similar health professions. This course aligns with American Microbiology Society curriculum guidelines as well as the test plan for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

BIOL 2301  Zoology   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2301

Covers the morphological and physiological characteristics of animals emphasizing adaptation, evolution, and ecology. The lab component will include hands-on experience with actual animal tissue specimens as well as group projects. Prerequisites: BIOL 1154 (or equivalent) or permission of instructor. BIOL 1155 is recommended.

BIOL 2303  Genetics   5.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2303

Introduces students to major concepts in Mendelian, molecular and population genetics. Experiments with viruses, bacteria, insects and plants highlight the study of gene expression, recombination, gene mapping, chromosome analysis and population genetics. Includes discussion of current societal, ethical, and political issues relevant to genetics and covers new discoveries and current directions in molecular genetics. Lecture hours include a weekly recitation. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling, growth, maintenance and manipulation of model organisms.

BIOL 2305  Principles of Microbiology   5.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2305

Introduces the fundamental principles of microbiology with a survey of prokaryotic, eukaryotic, and viral microorganisms. Lecture covers microbial cell structure, nutrition, growth, control of growth, metabolism, genetics, evolution, epidemiology, infection, transmission and pathogenesis, and interactions with host organisms. Antimicrobial resistance and other relevant current issues will be discussed, as well as real-world applications, including food and beverage production. Experiments in lab will develop student competence in in microscopy, aseptic technique, as well as in culturing, staining, enumeration, identification, isolation, safe handling and biochemical testing of microorganisms. This course is intended for students majoring in biology & the sciences, including professional (pre-med, pre-pharm, pre-vet, pre-grad, etc). This course aligns with American Microbiology Society curriculum guidelines.

BIOL 2306  General Ecology   4.0 cr

Course Outline for BIOL 2306

Introduces students to the fundamentals of ecology, focusing on the study of organisms in relation to their physical and biological environment. The course includes a survey of individual, population, community, and ecosystem level ecology. Theoretical, empirical and applied ecology will be discussed. Activities may include discussion, group activities, guest speakers, films and field trips. Labs will reinforce lecture content and provide students with research skills including use of primary literature, experimental design, data analysis and interpretation. Prereq: BIOL 1154 (required) MATH 1103 (recommended).

Transfer Information

With this transfer option, you will be able to transfer to:

Meet the Faculty

{{ user.firstName }} {{ user.lastName }}

{{ user.title }}

{{ user.p }}
{{ user.o }}

Education Credentials

{{ user.ec }}
{{ user.ec1 }}
{{ user.ec2 }}
Clubs & Organizations

Professional Organizations

Biology Club

Connect with your fellow students and expand your knowledge regarding the different branches and career opportunities in the vast field of biology. If you would like to take on a leadership role in the club, contact:

Lisa Tracy
Biology Instructor
Biology Club Faculty Advisor
651-450-3780

Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math)

Ready to take STEM one step further? Explore all the career paths biology majors can pursue, including cutting-edge jobs in ag science. To learn more, contact:

Kristin Digiulio
Biology Instructor
Women in STEAM Co-Advisor
651-450-3272

Professional Organizations

Employment Information

Studying life for a living

Careers in biology are almost as varied as life itself. The field has branches and subdisciplines as well known as ornithology, the study of birds, or the more obscure myrmecology, the study of ants. As a biology major, you will develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for rewarding careers in scientific research and health care.

Your skill set will also include:

  • Understanding the scientific method
  • Setting up experiments
  • Using scientific equipment
  • Applying laboratory techniques and procedures
  • Gathering, organizing and analyzing data

Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with an A.S. in Biology or an A.A. with Emphasis in Biology from Inver Hills.

Additional resources

Why Inver Hills?

Completing your freshman and sophomore environmental science obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  • Manipulate the powerful genetic building blocks of life in cutting edge laboratory experiences
  • Explore the dynamic interrelationships between humans and the ecosphere
  • Discover the living world around you while working with recognized biologists in small teams
  • Receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with environmental science faculty
  • Get hands-on experience in superb biology labs
  • Save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt*

* In the first quarter of 2021, student loan balances in the United States increased by $29 billion to $1.73 trillion. Around 43.2 million Americans owe an average of $39,351 each in student loan debt.

According to the nonprofit Student Borrower Protection Center, there are 775,300 student-loan borrowers in Minnesota with a collective $29.1 billion in student-loan debt, for an average student-loan debt load of about $37,500 per borrower.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs just under $5,600. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

Additional resources

Academic Calendar

Inver Hills News

View More News Stories

Facebook