The mission of the Environmental Science Program at Florida Atlantic University is to educate and support students who are motivated to reach the highest level of professional achievement in environmental science, and to facilitate the pursuit of excellence in research, scholarship, creative activity, teaching and community engagement for faculty and students.
The environmental science program believes diversity, equity and inclusion are driving forces and indicators of excellence and innovation in environmental science. The mission of the Environmental Science Program includes supporting and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among students, faculty and staff. The ES Program aspires to create a diverse workforce of environmental scientists and educators dedicated to promoting high quality, equitable and inclusive scientific communities working together to solve environmental problems.
The undergraduate program promotes a broad, integrated understanding of the interdependencies of humans and their environment and prepares students for diverse career paths related to environmental science. At the graduate level, the ES Program fosters leadership and provides students with in-depth knowledge and training in the natural and social sciences, preparing them to develop and implement solutions to complex environmental problems.
1) The ES Program will provide students a foundational understanding of the inter-related disciplines that pertain to environmental issues through an interdisciplinary core curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate level. To meet this goal, the ES Program requires all students to complete core courses that emphasize the inter-connectedness of the natural and social sciences and require students to gain practical experience in environmental science. Upon completion of the degree program, students will be able to form and identify conceptual linkages across disciplinary boundaries, and utilize multiple perspectives of diverse disciplines to develop practical approaches to environmental challenges from local to global scales.
2) The ES Program will develop students’ professional skills in Environmental Science through a flexible curriculum that accommodates a broad range of student goals and interests. To meet this goal, courses in the ES Program curriculum are organized around interdisciplinary core areas in the natural and social sciences. Courses offered within this framework include: traditional lecture-style, e-learning lab, and field courses; special topics courses that introduce students to the latest theories, methods, and emerging issues; professional certifications; seminar series; experiential learning through thesis research, directed independent research (DIR), and internship programs. Through this framework, students will gain proficiency in the application of scientific principles such as critical thinking, experimental design, synthesis, and quantitative analysis, as well as a sense of professional responsibility and integrity.
3) The ES Program will prepare students to meet the real-world challenges they will face as environmental science professionals and citizens through experiential learning and faculty mentoring. To meet this goal, student education in the ES Program capitalizes on the research strengths and experience of the FAU faculty and the close connection to the diverse community of Environmental Scientists in South Florida. Students conduct and publish research in their field of interest under the guidance of experienced faculty. The ES Program supports both undergraduate and graduate student research that is relevant, novel and applicable to solving critical environmental problems. By fostering external partnerships (NGOs, local, state, federal agencies), the ES Program provides faculty and students access to sources of funding, specialized services and equipment, as well as the opportunity for direct engagement with the public, private organizations, and environmental decision-makers. By linking the practice and application of environmental science, the ES Program ensures that students develop professional skills in: Communication of science to a variety of audiences; Development and maintenance of professional collaborations; Ethical obligations to the scientific community and society; Technical proficiency within the field.
4) The ES Program will produce students with the skills required for professional positions within the field of environmental science in the public or private sector and/or continued graduate education.
5) The ES Program will create policies to ensure not only the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, but also the cognitive diversity, of its students and faculty. Diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity and includes factors such as gender, educational background, individual achievement, research experience, non-traditional academic backgrounds, socioeconomic disadvantage, and other life experiences and choices.
Goals for the Graduate Program in Environmental Science
Both thesis and non-thesis students in the Environmental Science Master's Program will demonstrate a broad understanding of the multidisciplinary field of environmental science and in-depth knowledge of their area of specialty. They will be able to use scientific research methods, perform analyses of scientific data and critically evaluate and communicate research findings. They will demonstrate professional skills in environmental science, as evidenced by scholarly interactions with professionals in the field, including participation in professional organizations, workshop and conference participation.
Graduate students enrolled in the thesis option will be able to conduct original research and perform in-depth analysis, as demonstrated by successful completion of a Master’s Thesis. Specifically, students will demonstrate: 1) current knowledge of their field of study and the ability to critically review and interpret scientific literature 2) the ability to develop a hypothesis, design and execute scientific experiments, and draw logical conclusions from data and 3) the ability to write scientific reports and communicate effectively in scholarly presentations.
Goals for the Undergraduate Program in Environmental Science
Undergraduate students in the Environmental Science Certificate Program will understand and be able to apply the following core concepts to the analysis of environmental issues; 1) Fundamental principles in the natural and social sciences; 2) Basic interactions between social and natural systems; 3) Processes and feedbacks that govern complex dynamic systems; 4) Major challenges in human-environment interactions. Using these core concepts, undergraduate students will be able to effectively communicate and apply critical thinking and analytic skills to problem solving in environmental science and demonstrate proficiency in practical skills related to environmental science.