Interdisciplinary Science Studies Major

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Affiliated Faculty 

This major is designed with the idea of creating a program of study that will best prepare a student to become a science educator.  While this has been developed for students preparing to enter the teaching profession at the elementary level, it will also provide excellent preparation for those who might be interested in becoming science educators for museums, nature centers, aquariums, zoos, and a number of other fields as well.  (Methods, approaches, and practices involved in teaching elementary age children science are provided through Education coursework.)  The program has been developed to provide students with an in-depth exposure to one area of science, broad exposure to at least one additional area of science, a strong background in mathematics, and exposure to other areas that will strengthen their pedagogy (e.g. engineering/design, museum studies, digital storytelling.)

Requirements for the Major

Course requirements include twenty-one (21) hours from Earth and Environmental Sciences, an eleven (11) or twelve (12), three course building sequence from a second science area (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, or Computer Science).  Additional required courses include Mathematics 120, Interdisciplinary 307 and 407, and Computer Science 106.

Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Science Studies major will also take the undergraduate Education coursework required for students enrolled in the 5-year, Master of Science (M.S.) in Elementary Education program.

Interdisciplinary Science Studies Required Courses

EESC 110 (3 credits) – Introduction to Environmental Science

GEOL 111 (4 credits) – Introductory Geology

EESC 230 (3 credits) – Global Environmental Problems

EESC 240 (4 credits) – Field Methods in Earth and Environmental Sciences

EESC 210 (3 credits) – Oceanography and EESC 211 (1 credit) – Oceanography Laboratory OR GEOL 201 (4 credits) – Paleontology

EESC 340 (3 credits) – Energy Resources and Technology

MATH 120 (3 credits) – Quantitative Reasoning in the Sciences

CPSC 106 (3 credits) – Digital Storytelling

IDIS 307 (3 credits) – How Things Work: Engineering and the Design Process

IDIS 407 (4 credits) – Field Project in STEM Education

Course Descriptions for Interdisciplinary Science Studies Major

CPSC 106 – Digital Storytelling (3)

People have been telling stories since the beginning of time, but how is storytelling evolving in the digital age? This course explores how computers are being used to tell stories. We’ll study text-based technologies – blogging, the web – and how those models have changed the way we publish and disseminate narratives. We’ll also study the roles of audio, video, and images in narrative: computer animation, the ethics of altering digital images, and the Story Corps project. Students will use technology including blogs, virtual worlds, and computer games to create and tell their own stories. No previous computer experience is necessary.

EESC 110 – Introduction to Environmental Science (3)

Humans and the environment as viewed from the social and natural sciences.

EESC 210 – Oceanography (3)

Prerequisite: GEOL 111. An introduction to the oceans. Physical and chemical processes affecting seawater; the geology of the seafloor; biological productivity in the oceans; and environmental challenges involving the oceans. Cross-listed as GEOL 210.

EESC 230 – Global Environmental Problems (3)

Prerequisites: EESC 110 or BIOL 121. An in-depth analysis of specific global environmental problems facing society today. The course connects economic development, population growth, resource consumption and environmental degradation with detailed case studies. The challenges of achieving a sustainable society today will be investigated through the lessons learned from these environmental crises across the world.

EESC 240 – Field Methods in Environmental Science and Geology (4)

Prerequisites: GEOL 111 or EESC 110 or GEOG 110. The Earth & Environmental Sciences rely heavily on mapping and collection of physical, chemical, and biological field data. Student enrolled in the course will complete weekly laboratory and hands-on exercises to learn the essential field skills necessary to advance their careers in the earth sciences as technicians, academics, and/or educators. This introductory field course will provide a solid foundation to prepare students for advanced earth science study and/or a general introduction to the field methods within the discipline. Cross-listed as GEOL 240.

EESC 340 – Energy Resources and Technology (3)

Prerequisite: One from BIOL 122, 126, CHEM 112, GEOL 112, EESC 110 or PHYS 106. Intended primarily for science majors, this course investigates the basic science and technology relating to alternative energy sources and fossil fuels. Students who complete this class will have a greater technical understanding of energy sources and the methods used to tap them. Cross-listed as GEOL 340.

IDIS 307 – How Things Work: Engineering and the Design Process (3)

Prerequisite: Junior or Senior class standing. This course provides an introduction to the E component of STEM, engineering.  Engineering and its associated design process provide the methodology for applying scientific and mathematical principles, as well as technology in developing and testing solutions to practical problems.

IDIS 407 – Field Project in STEM Education (4)

Prerequisite: IDIS 307 and Senior class standing.  This course provides the capstone experience for the Interdisciplinary Science Studies major.  It is a project-based course, with the focus on the implementation of STEM concepts and principles in solving a practical, real-world problem.

MATH 120 – Quantitative Reasoning for the Sciences (3)

Designed to prepare students for success in the sciences by providing them with appropriate mathematics and quantitative reasoning skills. Course topics include measurement and estimation, growth and decay phenomena, scaling transformations, and an introduction to probability and statistics.