Oct 31, 2020  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental and Earth Science

The Environmental and Earth Sciences (EES) programs provide students with foundational knowledge from many disciplines. This knowledge is then applied to the study, management, and conservation of the environment and living systems around us. Students examine the structure, function and dynamics of ecosystems, the interaction between biotic and abiotic systems, and explore how human enterprise is adversely affecting our global environment. Students examine how environmental degradation and pollution can be lessened or prevented by the application of conservation and management principles derived from ecological theory. Our students work towards a deep understanding of the natural world around them, while at the same time acquiring practical skill sets useful for addressing the serious environmental issues with which we as a society are faced. Our degree programs foster deep critical thinking and scientific understanding and offer a range of heuristic approaches to addressing environmental issues that span from the natural sciences to aspects of the social sciences and humanities.

The location of Saint Mary’s College, on the cusp between the urban centers of the Bay Area and the more rural setting of the coast range and the Central Valley provide unique opportunities for our students. Due to our location we have easy access to freshwater systems, (streams, wetlands, etc.), the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, the coast range mountains, mixed oak woodland forests, and chaparral communities. Some of our students are also able to take advantage of internships in a variety of fields due to our proximity to the greater San Francisco Bay Area.


Alice Baldridge, PhD, Director
(Geological and planetary sciences, aqueous geochemical systems)

Manisha Anantharaman, PhD
(Environmental Justice)

Steven Bachofer, PhD
(Inorganic/Environmental Chemistry)

Carla C. Bossard, PhD
(Terrestrial ecology, plant science)

Joel Burley, PhD
(Atmospheric Chemistry, pollution in national parks and forests)

Michael P. Marchetti, PhD
(Aquatic and marine ecology, conservation biology)

Asbjorn Moseidjord, PhD
(Environmental economics)

Myrna Santiago, PhD
(Environmental history)

Nekesha Williams, PhD
(Environmental Sciences, coastal and hydrological systems, GIS)

Steven Woolpert, PhD
(Environmental politics)

Learning Outcomes

When students complete the Environmental Science and Studies programs, they will be able to:

  • RECALL and synthesize the knowledge derived from biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, economics and political science to better understand the earth’s environment.
  • COMPREHEND environmental problems from multiple perspectives.
  • EVALUATE the credibility of varying sources of information on environment.
  • DISPLAY cognizance of ethical considerations and be mindful of them when constructing solutions to environmental problems.
  • RECOGNIZE the interconnectedness of earth’s ecosystems and human dependence on them.
  • COMMUNICATE environmental findings through seminars, written scientific reports and visual presentations.
  • KNOW how to access information on environmental topics from library sources, original scientific literature and the Internet.
  • DEMONSTRATE competence in using the basic equipment used to gather information on the environment.
  • RECOGNIZE processes and patterns of environmental interactions.

Curriculum and Course Requirements

Two degrees are offered. A bachelor of science (BS) in Environmental Science and a bachelor of arts (BA) in Environmental Studies. The bachelor of arts program involves less scientific rigor than the bachelor of science. Three minors are also offered in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies and Earth Sciences. All environmental science and studies majors will also be required to do either a research internship or a senior research thesis (such as the ongoing summer research program in the School of Science) or a senior project.


    Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of ScienceMinor


      Environmental and Earth Science - Lower DivisionEnvironmental and Earth Science - Upper Division