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Program Director

Felicia Armstrong
2080 Moser Hall
(330) 941-1385

Program Description

The Environmental Science program offers a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental graduate program leading to a Master of Science degree. The program office is housed in Moser Hall and is administered by the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES). This pro­gram is intended for individuals who have undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science/sci­ence, other natural or social sciences, engineering, or health professions. It is designed to meet the needs of students and working professionals preparing for supervisory roles in environmen­tal science (research and management), with emphasis on a risk-based approach to the solving of environmental problems. The curriculum requires students to broaden their knowledge with core courses in Environmental Science, to deepen their expertise with elective courses, and to demonstrate their abilities to prepare a scholarly thesis. This degree will benefit students who are planning careers with regulatory agencies, regulatory compliance and management, research facilities, and consulting firms providing state-of-the-art assessment, management, and remediation.

Admission Requirements

  • One year of college-level general chemistry with lab
  • One semester of calculus
  • A minimum of 15 semester hours of additional science courses with two of these additional courses containing a lab component (chemistry, biology, environmental science, geology, environmental engineering and/or physical geography).
  • An cumulative undergraduate minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required for admission. Students with a GPA of under 3.0 could be considered for provisional admission.
  • Satisfactory performance on Graduate Record Examination (general test)
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Applicants not satisfying the minimum admission requirements may be accepted provisionally at the discretion of the Department Graduate Committee. In those cases where the undergraduate preparation is deficient in three or fewer courses, students must satisfy the deficiencies by completing the equivalent undergraduate courses with a grade of B or better within the first year of study as a provisional graduate student.

Any student admitted with provisional status will be reviewed for regular graduate admission to the program at the completion of 9 semester hours of degree-credit coursework. Students with an undergraduate course deficiency greater than three courses must remove the deficiency as a post baccalaureate, undergraduate student.

Isam E. Amin, Ph.D., Professor
Ground water contamination and remediation; characterization and remediation of Mahoning River banks; sediment transport in rivers and streams; intra-state water conflicts

Felicia P. Armstrong, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Environmental chemistry of soils; water quality; ecotoxicology; soil remediation

Jeffrey C. Dick, Ph.D., Professor
Groundwater contamination; water quality characterization/baseline investigations and petroleum geology

Alan M. Jacobs, Ph.D., Professor
Environmental health sciences in public health

Colleen McLean, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Aqueous and environmental geochemistry; paleolimnology; biogeochemistry

Ian J. Renne, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Plant community ecology; invasive species; community structure; allelopathic systems; avian ecology

Bradley A. Shellito, Ph.D., Professor
Applications of geospatial technology (Geographic Information Science, remote sensing, global positioning systems, and 3D Modeling)

Josef B. Simeonsson, Ph.D., Professor
Analytical atomic and molecular spectroscopy; trace and ultratrace analysis; laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy; laser ionization spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; environmental analysis

Environmental Science program requires courses that are designed to provide breadth in environmental science and understanding of environmental issues and regulations. Each student admitted to the program will meet with the coordinator to choose initial coursework and meet graduate faculty. It is highly recommended that new students enroll in ENST 6995 Introduction to Environmental Science Research. Each graduate student is required to select a thesis committee with the recommendation of his or her thesis advisor within the first year of full-time graduate study.  

All students in the Environmental Science graduate program must have their course schedules approved by their thesis advisors every semester. A proposed course of study must be approved by the thesis committee. The course of study will be based on the student’s area of specialization, background, and career interests.

The thesis committee will consist of three to five faculty members in appropriate fields of expertise and one non-faculty professional. The non-faculty member must qualify for appointment as an adjunct graduate faculty member at YSU. Research proposals and proposed course of study must be completed and approved by the thesis committee by the end of the second semester of full-time graduate study.

The thesis shall advance knowledge in environmental science and be applicable to the solving of environmental problems. The thesis requirement includes a formal document and a draft article in journal format suitable for publication submittal. A draft of the thesis must be reviewed by the thesis advisor then submitted to the thesis committee two weeks before the thesis defense. The thesis defense will comprise an oral presentation before the thesis committee for final thesis approval. 

Required Courses
ENST 6900Advanced Environmental Studies3
BIOL 5853Biometry3
Select two of the following:6
Environmental Impact Assessment
Risk Assessment
Environmental Regulations
Sources of Contamination
Environmental Compliance
Industry/Institutional Management for the Environmental Professional
Ecological Risk Assessment
Select an additional 15 semester hours. Elective courses can come from Environmental Science, Geology, Biology, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Geography, Chemistry or other disciplines recommended by the graduate committee.15
Note: Additional ENST courses may be taken as electives.
Introduction to Environmental Science Research (recommended)
Environmental Safety (recommended)
ENST 6990Thesis6
Total Semester Hours33

All graduate students in Environmental Science are required to successfully pass a graduate exam during the second year of their graduate program. Currently the Environmental Professional Intern (EPI) exam is being utilized. This exam covers topics in environmental science with respect to chemistry, biology, regulations, analysis, and other environmental issues.

No more than nine (9) semester hours from the 5800 level (swing course) may be counted towards the Master of Science degree. (Note: More courses at the 5800 level can be taken, but only 9 s.h. count towards the 27 s.h. required for the Master's degree).  Additional background courses (undergraduate or graduate) may be required as prerequisites for some of the graduate courses.

Credits earned for the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Studies may be applied to the Master of Science degree to the extent allowed by the School of Graduate Studies (normally nine semester hours).  Students in the certificate program, who intend to pursue the Master's degree, must apply to and meet all the requirements for the Environmental Science Master of Science program.

Learning Outcomes

Communicate effectively using the language, concepts, and models of environmental science in written, visual, and numerical formats.

Properly apply the scientific method to research an environmental problem and formulate conclusions.

Demonstrate ability to apply appropriate field-and laboratory-based methods (of acquiring, quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing and interpreting environmental data and information).

Apply environmental science research as demonstrated by the successful completion of the comprehensive exam and a Master’s thesis.