Environmental Science

Phone: (845) 257-3760
Location: Science Hall, Room 105
Web address: www.newpaltz.edu/envscience

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. The program is administered by the Department of Geology and focuses on the environmental aspects of geology, chemistry and biology. Through formal courses, laboratories, and research projects, students develop an awareness of the geological, chemical and biological processes that impact society and the environment. Both a major and a minor in Environmental Science are offered.

In the major program, a sophomore-level survey course, EGS370 Introduction to Environmental Science & Engineering, draws on the foundation courses to bring together a truly interdisciplinary view of environmental science. Students will see how the different sciences must be combined to understand and address environmental problems. Particular emphasis will be placed on the roles of chemistry, geology, and environmental engineering. In the senior year, students will engage in a full-year Senior Research Project under the supervision of a faculty mentor or an experienced regional scientist. During the spring term of the senior year, oral presentations of student research projects will be made in a Senior Seminar. This seminar will also feature guest scientists who will relate their own work in environmental science.

The EGS major program is a rigorous four-year sequence in science and mathematics, so it is essential that interested students seek advising early in their college studies. First-year students should take GLG201 Physical Geology and GLG211 Physical Geology Laboratory, CHE201 General Chemistry I and CHE211 General Chemistry I Lab, and MAT251 Calculus I in their first semester, followed by PHY201 General Physics 1 and PHY211 Physics 1 Laboratory, CHE202 General Chemistry II and CHE212 General Chemistry II Lab, and MAT252 Calculus II in their second semester.

Transfer students should complete the above first-year requirements before entering SUNY New Paltz and should additionally take one year of calculus-based physics, a course in statistics, a laboratory course in historical geology, and organic chemistry.

Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all courses required for the Environmental Science major or minor.

This information is provided as a resource for students to aid in selecting a major or degree track. Students should, however, obtain a current plan of study form and consult with an advisor before selecting a program or enrolling in coursework. Complete advising guidelines may be obtained from the Department of Geology or by consultation with the Director of the Environmental Science program, Prof. Shafiul Chowdhury (chowdhus@newpaltz.edu, (845) 257-2618).

Environmental Science (BS) Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the Environmental Science program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the fundamental knowledge areas related to solving environmental problems: geology, chemistry and, to some extent, biology.
  • Demonstrate competency in the supporting fields of physics, chemistry, biology, geography, and mathematics, particularly as related to the environmental sciences.
  • Read and interpret topographic, geologic, and other maps and demonstrate map-making skills.
  • Perform basic wet chemistry techniques, particularly with regard to standard and sample planning and preparation.

Successful students develop skills in the following areas:


  • Understand and use the scientific method to conduct research; critically evaluate scientific work.
  • Observe, describe, and identify environmental problems in different land-use settings using field data collection techniques and scientific methodologies.
  • Acquire information resources from scientific journals, environmental databases, internet resources, and other primary sources.
  • Apply quantitative methods for problem solving, data analysis, and model formulation.
  • Work independently and collaboratively on scientific problems.

Technical Skills

  • Use a variety of geochemical field equipment for data collection.
  • Use common geological, chemical and biological laboratory instruments and techniques.
  • Perform quantitative data analysis and interpretation using computers.


  • Effectively communicate technical findings and conclusions through written reports using formats and styles required for scientific writing.
  • Deliver oral presentations in a professional style.
  • Use maps, three-dimensional diagrams, and other imagery to communicate factual information and concepts.


  • Demonstrate a regional and global understanding of the earth, including tectonic, historical, environmental, and resource management aspects and their relationship to the human experience.
  • Identify and describe environmental problems in different land-use settings by applying scientific knowledge, observational techniques, the ability to synthesize, and the ability to communicate effectively.
  • Engage in group field excursions involving the scientific study and aesthetic appreciation of the geo-environmental aspects of our world.
BIO340Ecology 4
CHE201General Chemistry I 3
CHE202General Chemistry II 3
CHE211General Chemistry I Lab1
CHE212General Chemistry II Lab1
CHE303Introduction to Analytical Chemistry 4
CHE306Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
CHE318Organic Chemistry I 3
CHE407Instrumental Techniques 4
EGS coursesSee descriptions below
GEO341Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
GLG201Physical Geology3
GLG211Physical Geology Laboratory1
GLG339Natural Resources and Energy 3
GLG346Environmental Impact Assessment3
GLG475Geology Research Project 1 3
GLG476Geology Research Project 2 3
MAT241Introduction to Statistics3
MAT251Calculus I 4
MAT252Calculus II 4
PHY201General Physics 13
PHY202General Physics 23
PHY211Physics 1 Laboratory1
PHY212General Physics 2 Lab1

EGS370. Introduction to Environmental Science & Engineering. 4 Credits.

A survey course covering the broad scope of environmental science and engineering, including air pollution, water pollution, water quality control, environmental chemistry, global atmospheric change, solid waste management and resource recovery. Case studies and outside speakers. COURSE FEE.


  • Liberal Arts


  • Must not be enrolled in the following class: Freshman


  • CHE202 Minimum Grade of C-
  • GLG201 Minimum Grade of C- or GLG 220 Minimum Grade of C-
May not be repeated for credit

EGS475. Environmental Sciences Research Project 1. 3 Credits.

Students will undertake a two semester research project, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, focusing on a detailed examination of a real world environmental problem. The project will culminate in a written document and an oral presentation in the Senior Seminar.


  • Liberal Arts


  • Must have the following level: Undergraduate
  • Must be enrolled in the following class: Senior
  • Must be enrolled in the following field(s) of study (major, minor or concentration):
    • Environmental Geochem Science (519)
    • Environmental Science (526)
    • Geology (510)
May not be repeated for credit

EGS476. Environmental Science Research Project 2. 3 Credits.

Continuation of EGS475.


  • Liberal Arts


May not be repeated for credit

EGS477. Senior Seminar in Environmental Science. 1 Credit.

a series of presentations by senior students and by invited speakers. In the course, students nearing graduation present the findings of their senior project. On alternate weeks, invited professionals from the environmental sciences present relevant aspect of their work.


  • Liberal Arts


  • Must have the following level: Undergraduate
  • Must not be enrolled in one of the following classes: Sophomore, Freshman
  • Must be enrolled in the following field(s) of study (major, minor or concentration):
    • Environmental Geochem Science (519)
    • Environmental Science (526)
    • Geology (510)


May not be repeated for credit


Belinsky, Kara 
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Office: CSB 218
Phone: (845) 257-3748
E-mail: belinskk@newpaltz.edu

Chowdhury, Shafiul H.
Program Director
Associate Professor of Geology/Director Environmental Science
Ph.D., Western Michigan
Office: SH 105
Phone: (845) 257-2618
E-mail: chowdhus@newpaltz.edu

Dhar, Preeti 
Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Office: CSB 318
Phone: (845) 257-3797
E-mail: dharp@newpaltz.edu

Engel-DiMauro, Salvatore
Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies
Ph.D., Rutgers University
Office: SH 115
Phone: (845) 257-2991
E-mail: engeldis@newpaltz.edu

Ferguson, Megan
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Office: CSB 217
Phone: (845) 257-6935
E-mail: fergusom@newpaltz.edu

Keeling, Eric 
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., University of Montana
Office: CSB 220
Phone: (845) 257-3745
E-mail: keelinge@newpaltz.edu

McGlinn, Lawrence 
Associate Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Office: SH 133
Phone: (845) 257-2696
E-mail: mcglinnl@newpaltz.edu

Rayburn, John 
Professor of Geology
Ph.D., Binghamton University
Office: SH 104
Phone: (845) 257-3767
E-mail: rayburnj@newpaltz.edu

Richardson, David 
Professor of Biology
Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
Office: CSB 227
Phone: (845) 257-3805
E-mail: richardsond@newpaltz.edu

Vollmer, Frederick 
Professor and Chair of Geology
Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Office: SH 112
Phone: (845) 257-3760
E-mail: vollmerf@newpaltz.edu

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