Environmental, Soil and Water Sciences

Bachelor of Science  - Environmental, Soil and Water Sciences

This major prepares students for careers in areas which safeguard the quality of the environment.  The curriculum consists of two elements: interdisciplinary training in a broad array of environmental protection sciences, and a specialization in either pest management or soil and water conservation.  Students work with their advisor to select courses from both the environmental protection electives and the specialization electives that match their individual interests and career goals.  Recent graduates in this option are employed by municipal, state, and federal governmental agencies; consulting firms, especially those specializing in land reclamation, water quality, or pest management; and companies associated with natural resource industries.

In addition to the required curriculum students can enhance their career qualifications by also completing some or all of the following options:

  • A minor in a relevant field (Geology, Resource Economics, Wildlife Conservation, etc.)
  • USDA Soil Scientist Certification: thirty hours in biological, physical or earth science, including at least fifteen hours in soils courses such as:
    AGRN 410Soil Fertility3
    AGRN 415Soil Survey and Land Use3
    AGRN 417Soil Genesis and Classification4
    AGRN 420Soil Microbiology3
    AGRN 425Environmental Soil Management3
    AGRN 430Soil Physics3
    AGRN 455Reclamation of Disturbed Soils3
  • USDA Soil Conservationist Certification: thirty hours in natural resources or agricultural disciplines including at least twelve hours from soils, crops, or plant science, with at least three hours in soils and three hours in crop or plant science.
  • ENVP 415 Hazardous Waste Training. Equivalent to OSHA 40-hour HAZWOPER course.
  • Information on academic requirements for other professional certifications may be obtained at https://www.agronomy.org/certifications or http://www.naep.org

Program Admissions

Students who meet University admission requirements may be accepted directly into Davis College as Environmental, Soil and Water Sciences majors.

Click here to view the Suggested Plan of Study

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

Required Courses
GEF 1, 5, 6, and 715
ENGL 305Technical Writing3
BIOL 101
BIOL 103
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory (GEF 8)
BIOL 102
BIOL 104
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory (GEF 8)
Select one of the following pairs (GEF 2 & 8):8
Fundamentals of Chemistry
and Fundamentals of Chemistry
Survey of Chemistry
and Survey of Chemistry
Select one of the following:4
Planet Earth
and Planet Earth Laboratory
Environmental Geoscience
and Environmental Geoscience Laboratory
Select one of the following (GEF 3):3
Algebra with Applications
Applied Calculus
ANRD 191First-Year Seminar1
AEM 341General Microbiology4
AGEE 110Microcomputer Applications in Agricultural Education3
AGEE 220Group Organization and Leadership (GEF 4)3
AGRN 202Principles of Soil Science3
AGRN 203Principles of Soil Science Laboratory1
ARE 204Agribusiness Management3
ENVP 119Soil in the City3
ENVP 155Elements of Environmental Protection3
PLSC 206Principles of Plant Science4
STAT 211Elementary Statistical Inference3
WMAN 150Principles of Conservation Ecology3
ENVP/AGRN 425Environmental Soil Management (Capstone Experience)3
Restricted Electives15
Environmental Microbiology
Reclamation of Disturbed Soils
Soil Microbiology
Introductory Biochemistry
Soil Judging
Soil Survey and Land Use
Soil Physics
Plant Ecology
Introduction to Environmental Engineering
Introductory Soil Mechanics
Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
Environmental Sampling and Analysis
Environmental Impact Assessment
Watershed Management
Environmental Geology
Introductory Hydrogeology
Physical Hydrogeology
Environmental Geochemistry
Introductory Physics
Introductory Physics
Professional Field Experience
Environmental Policy
Foundations of Applied Geographic Information Systems
Introduction Geographic Information Systems Natural Science
Environmental Regulation
Freshwater Ecology
Stream Ecosystem Assessment
Free Electives (used to reach 120 minimum required for degree)10
Select one Area of Emphasis17
Total Hours120

 Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
ANRD 1911AGEE 1103
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ENVP 1553
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 8)
4ENVP 1193
Select one of the following (GEF 3):3BIOL 102
BIOL 104 (GEF 8)
 WMAN 1503
Select one of the following:4 
 15 16
Second Year
CHEM 111 or 115 (GEF 2)4PLSC 2064
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3CHEM 112 or 116 (GEF 8)4
STAT 2113GEF 63
GEF 53AGRN 2023
Restricted Elective3AGRN 2031
 16 15
Third Year
AEM 3414Area of Emphasis Required Course3
ARE 2043Restricted Electives7
ENGL 3053Free Electives4
GEF 73 
Area of Emphasis Required Course3 
 16 14
Fourth Year
AGEE 220 (GEF 4)3Area of Emphasis Required Courses8
ENVP 425 or AGRN 4253Restricted Electives5
Area of Emphasis Required Course3 
Free Electives6 
 15 13
Total credit hours: 120

Environmental Assessment and Reclamation Area of emphasis

ENVP 255Elements of Environmental Management3
ENVP 355Environmental Sampling and Analysis3
ENVP 455Reclamation of Disturbed Soils3
ENVP 460Environmental Impact Assessment3
Total Hours12

Soil and Water Sciences Area of Emphasis

AGRN 125Soil Judging1
AGRN 410Soil Fertility3
AGRN 415Soil Survey and Land Use3
AGRN 417Soil Genesis and Classification4
AGRN 420Soil Microbiology3
AGRN 430Soil Physics3
Total Hours17

Major Learning Outcomes

Environmental, Soil and WATER sciences

The learning outcomes of the environmental protection major center on developing individuals who are effective stewards of soil and water resources. A thorough science-based curriculum will allow students - after completion of the major - to assess, evaluate, manage, and safeguard soil and water resources and develop plans to use and/or mitigate impacts on these resources. The major emphasizes long term sustainability, conservation, and stewardship balanced with the need to develop soil and water resources for current and future human use.

Soil & Water Sciences Area of Emphasis

  • Describe the important roles of soil and water in the environment in agricultural and non-agricultural systems.
  • Design and implement sustainable soil and water management practices.
  • Evaluate existing soil, water and landscape resources to develop recommendations for sustainable land use practices.


ENVP 119. Soil in the City. 3 Hours.

Study of soil as a natural resource in urban environments; influence of soils on urban development; study of environmental problems related to soils in urban land uses.

ENVP 155. Elements of Environmental Protection. 3 Hours.

An introduction to land and water resources and their management and protection. An evaluation of the relationships between human activities and natural environments and the interaction between natural resource utilization and development.

ENVP 191. First-Year Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

Engages students in active learning strategies that enable effective transition to college life at WVU. Students will explore school, college and university programs, policies and services relevant to academic success. Provides active learning activities that enable effective transition to the academic environment. Students examine school, college and university programs, policies and services.

ENVP 255. Elements of Environmental Management. 3 Hours.

PR: ENVP 155. An introduction to the various regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The main goal of this course is to provide the student with a foundation of knowledge that will allow them to read and interpret environmental regulations as well as all types of regulations and codes.

ENVP 325. Principles of Water Resources. 3 Hours.

PR: MATH 124 or higher. This course provides students an opportunity to increase their knowledge pertaining to the role(s) that water plays in human and environmental systems by examining the geographic distribution/redistribution, quantity, and quality of water resources. Students are introduced to water management evaluation policies, law and economics used to explore the decision-making challenges surrounding water resources.

ENVP 355. Environmental Sampling and Analysis. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 and BIOL 103 and BIOL 104 and CHEM 115 and CHEM 116. Introduction to environmental sampling methods and analysis. Lecture and hands-on experience will include sampling plan development, sample point selection, sampling equipment use, containers and preservatives, sample analysis, chain-of-custody and protective equipment.

ENVP 401. Environmental Microbiology. 4 Hours.

PR: AEM 341 or consent. Microbiology as applied to soil, water, wastewater, sewage, air, and the general environment. Occurrence, distribution, ecology, and detection of microorganisms in these environments. (Also listed as AEM 401.).

ENVP 412. Pest Management. 3 Hours.

PR: ENTO 404 or consent. An in-depth look at current problems and solution in controlling insect pests in an environmentally compatible manner. Management techniques include cultural, mechanical, physical, biological, regulatory, and chemical practices. (Also listed as ENTO 412.).

ENVP 415. Hazardous Waste Training. 3 Hours.

Introduction to hazardous waste training. Lectures and hands-on experience with health and safety plan development, selecting personal protective equipment, air monitoring, incident command, site characterization, decontamination and toxicology. Includes two full-scale disaster exercises.

ENVP 420. Soil Microbiology. 3 Hours.

PR: AEM 341. Microbiology and biochemistry of the soil environment. Occurence, distribution, ecology, and detection of microorganisms in soil. (Also listed as AEM 420 and AGRN 420.).

ENVP 425. Environmental Soil Management. 3 Hours.

PR: AGRN 202 and AGRN 203. This course provides a foundation for utilizing creative solutions and technical knowledge in preserving and enhancing soil and water quality. Soil conservation, precision agriculture and nutrient management for protection of soil and water quality are covered. (Also listed as AGRN 425).

ENVP 451. Principles of Weed Science. 3 Hours.

PR: PLSC 206 and AGRN 202 and AGRN 203 or consent. Fundamental principles of weed science including identification, ecology and control in crops. (Also listed as AGRN 451.).

ENVP 455. Reclamation of Disturbed Soils. 3 Hours.

PR: Junior standing or above. Principles of soil science, geology, hydrology, and engineering will be applied to surface mine planning, overburden handling during mining, soil replacement and amendments, revegetation practices, acid mine drainage control and treatment, hazardous wastes, and land management of disturbed areas. (Field trip required.) (Also listed as AGRN 455.).

ENVP 460. Environmental Impact Assessment. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 and BIOL 103 and BIOL 104 and CHEM 115 and CHEM 116. Application of physical, biological and social science principles to assess environmental impacts. Review and prepare environmental assessments, permits, site assessments and ecological risk assessments for environmental decision-making.