Environmental Issues in Miami

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science | College of Arts and Science

What is Environmental Earth Science?

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and life sciences (including physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, soil science, geology, and geography) to the study of the environment and environmental systems and to the solution of environmental problems. Earth science is an all-encompassing term for the science related to the planet Earth, including the study of the solid earth (lithosphere), the atmosphere, the hydrosphere (including the oceans), and the biosphere. This major blends these academic fields into a coherent interdisciplinary program applying geoscience skills and knowledge to environmental issues, problems, and solutions. This initiative complements other initiatives with the College of Arts and Science to expand environmental programs and offerings and interdisciplinary pursuits. Fundamentally, this is an Earth Science major but with a more interdisciplinary approach.

Environmental earth scientists are trained to work in a variety of areas crossing numerous disciplines. With concerns about shortages and conservation of natural resources, environmental pollution, and global climate change in today's society, many environmental earth scientists are involved in developing alternative energy systems, investigating, mitigating and controlling pollution solving problems associated with waste disposal, promoting sustainable urban development, and understanding the causes and effects of global climate change. Environmental earth scientists study the human influence upon the earth and provide basic information needed to solve problems and establish rational policies for resource management, environmental protection, and public health safety and welfare.

Integration of teaching and research

The faculty in the Department of Geology is an extremely active group of earth and environmental scientists and educators. Our faculty teach courses at all levels of the curriculum, which means that students interact with active scholars in virtually all geology courses. All faculty members and graduate students are working on research projects, many of which regularly involve undergraduate students. These independent study research opportunities are often the most rewarding aspects of an undergraduate's career because they provide hands-on experience applying principles and concepts learned in coursework to outstanding questions in the earth and geological sciences.

The National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, the Miami University Summer Scholars Program, the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, and the Department of Geology all provide funding that allows undergraduates to undertake independent research during the summer and school year. Many students publish their work in leading journals and participate in conference presentations.

Field-based learning opportunities

The Department of Geology sponsors several three- to five-week domestic and international field courses run annually during the summer. Shorter field courses (7 to 10 days) are often taught over the winter and spring break periods, affording undergraduate and graduate students ample opportunity to participate. Many of the upper-level earth and environmental science courses contain field components that take advantage of key aspects of the local and regional setting via multi-hour to multi-day field projects. The Environmental Earth Science major could also lead to the summer field geology course offered annually at the department's field station in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, next to one of the nation's most unspoiled and rugged wilderness areas.

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