Environmental Studies

Are you looking for a rewarding career that impacts our quality of life? Then our Environmental Studies program may be a great fit for you. High concerns over habitat loss and declining fish and wildlife populations have created a growing interest in the long-term sustainability of natural resources. Prepare for a fulfilling career in natural resource management while studying environmental science.

Learn to monitor, measure, analyze and report the presence of various environmental pollutants. Take advantage of the program’s opportunities to conduct environmental research at the Iowa Great Lakes, gaining experience in monitoring air and water pollutants. Study the ecology of northwest Iowa’s many prairies, forests, marshes, natural lakes, and river systems while earning your Associate in Applied Science degree.

Whether you choose to pursue a career in fisheries and wildlife biology, forestry, park management or soil conservation, you’ll enter the workforce with a strong understanding of ecological and resource management concepts. On-the-job work experience through the summer internship along with program coursework will equip you with the professional skills needed to excel in this wide field with various opportunities.

Instructor accredited with Iowa State University. This program transfers well to Oregon State University and South Dakota State University. 

Faculty Contact

Drew Howing
Assistant Professor | Environmental Studies
712-362-7978 | dhowing@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details


DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (68 credits)

CAMPUS: Estherville


Did You Know?

Starting Salary: 34,513

Average Salary: $47,947

Projected Employment Growth: 1.6%

Special Certifications Available


Term 1

Credits: 4

Introduction to biology concepts with emphasis on ecology, cellu­lar biology, reproduction and development, genetics and evolution. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 4

Environmental Studies I is an introduction to ecology and environ­mental science. This course acquaints the student with the rela­tionship between humans and their environment and the environ­mental problems that often develop because of this relationship. Topics covered include concepts of ecology, population dynamics, human ecology and environmental law. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 2

Students will learn about drafting cover letters, creating resumes, developing e-portfolios, interviewing and networking skills in this course. They will also explore a myriad of career options in the environmental field and find their best fit. Also during this course students will become familiar with the Student manual for environ­mental studies practicum and understand the instructor, sponsor and student role in cooperative education.

Credits: 3

CSC-110 is an introductory course that surveys a variety of topics to include history, hardware, software, terminology, com­munications, computer ethics, and societal impact of computers. In addition to computer literacy, students will complete hands-on modules using operating systems, word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software; such as Microsoft Office programs.

Credits: 3

Principles of Management provides the student with a conceptual framework for understanding the basic theories of management. Emphasis is placed on the internal and external environment, ethics, planning, goal setting, decision making, organizational structure, motivation and group dynamics, and effective control mechanisms for establishing and accomplishing business objectives.

Credits: 3

The basic fundamentals of business. Basic business and economic concepts and terminology; management, marketing, finance, human resource management, accounting and other business areas.

Choose either CSC 110, MGT 101 or BUS 102
Mathematics: 3 credits

Term 2

Credits: 4

Introduction to biology concepts with emphasis on kingdoms; taxonomy and a survey of invertebrate and vertebrate organisms; plant structures and physiology; and animal systems. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: BIO 112 – General Biology I

Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy

Credits: 4

Environmental Studies II is an introduction to the study of global resources management and the analysis and control of environ­mental pollution. This course acquaints the student with the fun­damentals of resource management and the physical, chemical, and biological analysis of pollutants that contaminate the Earth’s biosphere. Topics covered include global resources, resource management, environmental pollution and pollution control. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 3

The fundamentals course develops the basic skills involved in a variety of communication situations, including oral presentations and interpersonal speaking.  Emphasis is placed on organization, audience analysis, vocal and physical delivery, listening, nonverbal communication, critical thinking, and methods of dealing with communication apprehension through class discussion and activities.

Term 3

Credits: 4

Environmental Studies Practicum is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in a field and/or laboratory setting through a cooperative education agreement between the col­lege and the sponsoring agency, business, or individual. The practicum is meant to be an actual job situation in environmental technology or natural resources management.

Term 4

Credits: 4

The first of two general survey courses introducing the student to general, organic and biological chemistry. Topics covered are chemical calculations, atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, periodic relations, gas laws, solid state, solutions, and acids and bases. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 3

Continuation of ENG 105 with emphasis on research and docu­mentation as well as literary analysis.

Prerequisites: ENG 105 – Composition I

Credits: 4

Introduction to Natural Resources Management places an em­phasis on the recognition, inventory, and conservation of natural resources. Attention is given to the distribution and availability of natural resources and the limitations associated with their us­age. Topics covered include management of natural resources, hydrospheric resources, lithospheric resources, and atmospheric resources. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 3

This course will introduce students to the concepts and applica­tions of geographic information systems (GIS).Students will become familiar with using GIS software to visualize, query, cre­ate, edit, analyze and present geospatial data. There will also be exposure to public datasets available today on the internet that can be accessed. Implementing global positioning systems (GPS) will also be used in creating maps in this course.

Term 5

Credits: 4

Natural Resources Management Techniques places an emphasis on the problems associated with the usage of natural resources and the techniques available to evaluate, develop, and manage natural resources. Attention is given to renewable resources and the management techniques that can be utilized to best conserve these resources. Topics covered include wildlife management, forest and recreational land management, agricultural and range­land management, and fisheries management.

Credits: 4

Continuation of CHM 151. Covers kinetics and equilibrium of chemical reactions as well as acid-base theory. Hydrocarbon naming and reactions are also covered, including alcohols, car­bohydrates, amines, acids, acid derivatives, lipids, amino acids, nucleic acids and proteins, SNA, RNA and metabolism. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: CHM 151 – College Chemistry I

Credits: 4

General microbiology designed for the science major and nurs­ing students. Emphasis on morphology, physiology, microbial genetics, immunology, pathology, epidemiology, and laboratory techniques. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: BIO 105 – Introductory Biology, BIO 112 – General Biology I, BIO 163 – Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, BIO 168 – Human Anatomy & Physiology I,  AGV 118 – Animal Anatomy & Physiology I or higher.

Credits: 3

Students are given the opportunity to apply human relations concepts and evaluate experience and observations. Social skills required in various occupational settings will be developed, emphasizing how appropriate personal attitudes lead to social and business success.

Credits: 3

An introduction to the scientific study of behavior; a brief history of psychology as a science, and topics fundamental to human behavior including developmental issues, sensory abilities, cogni­tive performance, social and emotional factors in behavior, and abnormal behavior and therapies.

Credits: 3

A survey course applying basic sociological concepts, theories, and methods to examine society, culture, cultural institutions, cultural diversity, and cultural stability and change.

Credits: 3

An introduction to basic soil formation, classification, physical properties, water, organic matter, pH, and fertility.

Credits: 3

Survey of the American criminal justice system, the early, middle and late stages of the criminal justice system are analyzed within the framework of law and research.

Credits: 3

Introduction to Sustainable Energy Resources is designed to provide a basic understanding of energy, current trends in energy consumption, and the role of sustainable energy resources in today’s society. Topics covered will include matter and energy laws, the history of energy usage by humans, the categories of energy resources, and the environmental problems currently be­ing caused by energy consumption.

Choose either CHM 152 or BIO 186
Choose either BUS 161, PSY 111, or SOC 110
Choose either AGA 154, CRJ 100, or SER 101

† indicates a course that fulfills the diversity requirement. This course may also fulfill another general AA requirement.