Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES) program deals with environmental processes and phenomena, natural resources management and the human population. It equips students with knowledge in the scientific theories and techniques needed to monitor and understand the environment. BSES is a combination of biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, ecology and mathematics; it helps students understand these disciplines and apply them in an integrated way in the analysis of environmental problems/issues.
The BS in Environmental Science It is a relatively new program that is offered by only a few schools in the Philippines.
Many students who graduate from the BS in Environmental Science program continue to take on a master’s degree and some eventually take a doctoral degree, as many jobs in this field would require a graduate degree.
Subjects and Curriculum
The subjects in the BS ES curriculum are divided into five categories:
- General Education Courses:
Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
- Core Sciences:
- Biology: General Biology I and II, Ecology, Introduction to Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology
- Chemistry: General Chemistry I and II, Introduction to Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry
- Earth Science: Introduction to Earth Science I and II
- Mathematics: Algebra, Trigonometry, Introduction to Calculus, Applied Calculus for Life Sciences, Statistics for Life Sciences
- Physics: General Physics (Mechanics), Elementary Physics
- Environmental Science:
Introduction to Environmental Science, Systematics and Biodiversity, Atmospheric Science, Aquatic Sciences (freshwater, marine, estuarine), Computer (modeling and bioinformatics), Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation (lecture and laboratory), Fundamentals of Geology, Fundamentals of Ecology, Environmental Ecology, Introduction to Environmental Pollution, Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Soil Science, Special Topics in Environmental Science, Environmental Sociology
- Environmental Studies:
Population and Demography, Environmental Economics, Environmental Ethics, Policies and Laws, Quantitative Analysis, Principles of Systematics/Biodiversity and Conservation, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Introduction to Environmental Processes and Waste Minimization, Methods of Environmental Research, Introduction to Environmental Health and Toxicology
- Environmental Management:
Technology and Management of Waste Materials, Planning and Administration, Water Pollution Control, Aquatic and Marine Ecosystem Management, Air Pollution Control, Agro-forestry Management, Applied Environmental Conservation and Management
Students of the BSES program are taught through classroom lectures, research and laboratory works and experimental studies. They are exposed to field work while visiting forests, ecological parks, conservatories and similar places. Seminars and Educational talks are also given from time to time to educate students on current trends and issues in the field of Environmental Science.
As a requirement for graduation, a student is allowed to choose between a Thesis Paper and a Special Project. A student who chooses to make a thesis will need to choose a topic of interest related to environmental science or issues concerning the environment and write an intellectual paper. Once finished, he/she will defend the thesis in front of a panel of judges. A student who chooses the Special project will be given a project chosen by a teacher.
BSES students also have to undergo an On the Job Training (OJT) in environmental organizations, private or public agencies.
Is Environmental Science a profession?
Environmental Science is a profession. Although working in this field does not require a government certification or a passing a board exam, it does require a unique set of knowledge and skills that can only be acquired through lengthy studies and work experience.
The responsibilities of an Environmental Scientist include:
- Work to regulate, decrease, and prevent air, water, and land pollution
- Conduct research to identify and uncover the cause of air, land, and water pollutants
- Create plans and proposals to eliminate pollution, taking into account the economic needs of a city and its workers
- Specialize in land conservation, hazardous or toxic waste removal and disposal, groundwater contamination, acid rain, or wildlife preservation
- Design pollution monitoring systems
- Attend public hearings in favor of eliminating environmental pollutants
- Create environmental impact studies
- Identify and collect samples of gases, soils, water, industrial wastewater, and asbestos products to conduct tests on pollutant levels and identify sources of pollution
- Record test data into databases and compare with historical data
- Prepare reports using data and create summaries, charts, and test results
- Write reports describing the effects of pollution to assist with compliance regulations
- Write diagrams describing equipment locations
- Collect pollutants at manufacturing plants, streams, rivers, forests, smoke stacks, or beside mechanical equipment
What are the admission requirements for the BS in Forestry program?
Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the basic requirements:
- Must be a high school graduate.
Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
- College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
- Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college.
What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?
- Aptitude for Science – the foundation for this program is science, thus it is very important that you have the innate ability and love for the sciences. A student who has the aptitude for science is one who understands and quickly grasps scientific concepts. An aptitude for science could also mean that the student shows great ability in observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of certain scientific phenomena.
- Mathematical skills – in the same way that science is of great use in this course, mathematics is also equally important. The program curriculum has several mathematics subjects which are used when doing research papers and scientific studies.
- Inquisitiveness – the desire to discover new things and investigate existing information. The goal of this program is to discover and investigate issues related to the environment thus being inquisitive is very essential.
- Ability to work in unfavorable conditions – as a student, you will be exposed in field work thus you must be ready to face sudden weather changes and uncomfortable working environments, a love for the outdoors is also important.
- Analytical skills – the ability to determine how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes
- Critical thinking skills – sometimes what you read in books may not be as ideal as what happens in actual scenarios, the environment is dynamic and during your OJT you may encounter many things that you did not learn, it is important that you are able to think quickly and analyze the interconnectedness of certain scientific ideas.
- Technical skills – during the course of your study you will spend most of your time in the laboratory as well as in the field gathering samples and important environmental elements which you will test and conduct scientific experiments. To be able to do this, you must be familiar and know how to use a variety of laboratory equipment/instruments.
- Research skills – all throughout your study, you will be doing a lot of projects, assignments and case studies where your research skills will be tested.
- Attention to Detail – the ability to notice and identify even the most minute problems in a system, process or equipment
- English Proficiency – a strong foundation in both oral and written English is a need in this course since you will be interpreting and writing technical reports and research materials.
- Patience – laboratory and practicum exercises may be very time consuming and sometimes difficult thus it is important to be patient
How difficult is BS in Environmental Science?
BS in Environment Science is a difficult course. The curriculum for this program is filled with science and math subjects. Many students find this very challenging because of the complexity of lessons being taught. Long hours of lecture and laboratory exercises will wear students down; concentration and focus are highly needed. To add up to this, assignments, projects, case studies, research papers and technical reports will also consume most of your time.
Lastly, students are requires to complete a Thesis Paper/Special Project and an OJT. You will spend long nights creating your Thesis Paper/Special Project and hustle between lectures and going to the agency where you are doing your OJT.
How long does it take to complete the BSES program in the Philippines?
The BS in Environmental Science program takes four years to complete. The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.
On the Job Training
During the fourth year of the BSES program, students are required to attend an On the Job Training (OJT), usually in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), accredited institutions and other private or public agency which will provide practical experience. The OJT is done under the supervision of designated authority in the agency which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member.
The required number of hours for the OJT varies from one school to another. (See source
Career opportunities for BS in Environmental Science graduates
Jobs for bachelor's degree holders
- Environmental Officers – in charge of overseeing various activities pertaining to environmental issues ranging from organizing events to drafting environmental policies on behalf of their organization.
- Pollution Control Officer – help companies and the organizations on the preservation of our natural resources, reduce the generations of the company waste and establish proper mitigation on pollutions controls in the environment aspect and impact on air, land, water, flora and fauna and human living.
- Recycling Officer – help to plan and develop environmental and waste reduction policies in a variety of ways, including managing local recycling schemes, creating and delivering educational programs and organizing community and media liaison initiatives
- Waste Management Officer – organizes and manages waste disposal, collection and recycling facilities. They may also be responsible for waste treatment and street cleaning operations.
Jobs that require a master’s degree
- Environmental Science Instructor/Professor – prepare and deliver lectures to undergraduate and/or graduate students on topics such as molecular biology, marine biology, and botany.
- Conservation and Resource Management Staff – part of a team that develops, implements, and monitors comprehensive pollution prevention, recycling, hazardous waste management, and other related resource conservation programs
- Environmental Education Officer – involved in making people aware of environmental issues, promoting conservation and sustainability, and enhancing the public's enjoyment of the environment through teaching and interpreting the natural world.
- Nature Conservation Officer – work to protect, manage and enhance the local environment; educate and raise awareness of environmental issues, nature conservation officers work with all sectors of the local community including local schools and colleges.
- Water Treatment Plant Manager – oversees all of a plant's functions, including water storage, treatment and delivery operations.
- Environmental Manager – oversees the work of a team of environmental scientists and takes on more responsibility, ensuring that governmental regulations are strictly enforced
Jobs that require a doctoral degree
- Environmental Scientist – studies and researches sources of pollution that negatively impact humans, animals, and the environment. Primarily, these scientists study air, water, and soil and develop ways to improve the quality of each of these elements
- Natural Resource Policy Analyst – responsible for leading in the development of management policies and legislation pertaining to land use, natural resources, fish and wildlife.
- Geoscientist – studies the composition, physical characteristics, and structure of the earth.
- Environmental Analyst – help governments, companies and the public understand the human impact on the natural world. They collect, study and analyze data to propose actions and policies to create less harmful and cleaner interactions with the environment.
- Ecologist – concerned with ecosystems as a whole, the abundance and distribution of organisms (people, plants, animals), and the relationships between organisms and their environment.
- Environmental Health Practitioner – act as advisers, educators, consultants, managers and enforcement officers, ensuring people are able to live, work and play in safe, healthy environments.
- Toxicologist – plan and carry out laboratory and field studies to identify, monitor and evaluate the impact of toxic materials and radiation on human and animal health and the environment
- Soil Scientist – gathers, interprets and evaluates information about the chemistry, biology and physics of soils to inform and influence issues as diverse as agricultural production, environmental quality, human health, climate change, land remediation and biodiversity.
- Water Quality Scientist – responsible for safeguarding all aspects of water quality through scientific analysis; involved in providing solutions to water quality problems and water quality regulation.
- Aquatic Resource Specialist – study animals and plants living in the water and to record how the environmental conditions like salinity, temperature, light, acid, oxygen content and other environment related factors affect them.
- Environmental Consultant – assist in the creation, analysis and enforcement of government policies designed to protect the environment from industrial hazards. As an environmental consultant, you'll typically monitor and inspect work sites to assure compliance with local health and safety standards.