Apr 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 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, Associate Professor, Director
(Geological and planetary sciences, aqueous geochemical systems)

Manisha Anantharaman, PhD, Associate Professor
(Environmental Justice)

Steven Bachofer, PhD, Professor
(Inorganic/Environmental Chemistry)

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

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

Michael P. Marchetti, PhD, Fletcher Jones Professor of Biology
(Aquatic and marine ecology, conservation biology)

Asbjorn Moseidjord, PhD, Professor
(Environmental economics)

Myrna Santiago, PhD, Professor
(Environmental history)

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

Steven Woolpert, PhD, Emeritus
(Environmental politics)

Learning Outcomes

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

  • RECOGNIZE the processes and patterns of Earth’s environmental systems.
  • EVALUATE the credibility of varying sources of data on environmental topics.
  • DEMONSTRATE competence using appropriate methods used to gather information on the environment.
  • SYNTHESIZE the knowledge derived from scientific and social-scientific perspectives to better understand the Earth’s environment.
  • CONSTRUCT ethical and mindful solutions to environmental problems.
  • COMMUNICATE skillfully environmental findings through seminars, written scientific reports, or visual presentations.

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 yet is more interdisciplinary. Two minors are also offered in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. 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 ScienceBachelor of ArtsMinor


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