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Why Environmental Science?

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary major/minor that applies biological, physical, and information sciences to solve challenges in natural and managed ecosystems. Students start from the ground up (from Soil Science to Ecosystem Science) and study the interaction of things such as plants, water, microbes, and policies.

As you go through your degree, you will discover how societal and ecological dynamics shape the world we live in. You will learn how environmental pressures affect the human family and then acquire the tools you need to make a difference in our rapidly changing world. From improving sustainability in our communities to measuring the pulse of the planet, come join us and help build a better world for humanity and all of God’s creations.

Top Five Reasons to Choose Environmental Science

1. High Career Satisfaction

Environmental scientists, such as Dr. Booth pictured here, tend to have very high career satisfaction.

2. Mentored Research

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Most environmental students participate in mentored research with many opportunities for research, leadership and authorship. Mentored research provides excellent experience for job, graduate school, and professional school applications.

3. Study Abroad

Annual Environmental Science study abroad opportunities that allow you to take core courses overseas as well as participate in research and experience new cultures.

4. Career Paths

Career placement opportunities in the private sector, the public sector, NGOs and local, state, and federal government. Excellent preparation for professional school and graduate school.

5. BYU Environmental Science Club

From field trips to networking events to engaging panel discussions, the Environmental Science Club is known for incredible events and fantastic members.
Tree Heart Attacks: Aspen Clones Dying

Environmental Science & Sustainability in the News
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Air pollution costs Utahns billions annually and shortens life expectancy by two years

November 18, 2020 09:13 AM
New study led by ESS undergraduate Isabella Errigo reveals the cost of air pollution for Utahns’ health and pocketbooks
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BYU researchers help test wastewater for COVID-19 infection rates in Utah

May 18, 2020 09:58 PM
ESS professor Zach Aanderud and his team of students use cutting-edge molecular methods to track COVID-19 in municipal wastewater.
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How You Can Have a Positive Impact on the Climate Change Emergency

November 23, 2020 07:20 AM
COVID-19 isn’t the only worldwide emergency affecting billions of people—climate change continues to threaten us with devastating implications. Here are some ways to help.
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Studying climate change at opposite ends of the Earth

ESS undergraduate Natasha Griffin has presented at conferences in Europe, ridden in a helicopter and visited both the North and South Poles to figure out how humans are affecting the Earth.
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The price of air pollution

We all know intuitively that polluted air isn't good for our bodies or communities, but just how much is air pollution costing us? ESS undergraduates and faculty led a statewide study to answer just that.
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Influencing Environmental Change from Iran to Utah

April 08, 2020 10:36 AM
ESS PhD student Sara Sayedi wanted to use science to improve policy in her home country of Iran, but politics limited her work in the public arena. Now at BYU, she is influencing policy at a global scale.
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After a mega fire: how waterways are impacted by wildfires

BYU team investigates ecosystem resilience to wildfire, linking plants, streams, climate, and society
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Tree Heart Attacks: Aspen Clones Dying

Professor Sam St. Clair from the Environmental Science & Sustainability program takes the vitals of one of North America's keystone tree species.
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How environmental justice affects all of us

June 24, 2021 12:30 PM
Environmental degradation harms every individual by causing pervasive decline of life on Earth, but it doesn’t impact everyone to the same degree. ESS professor Ben Abbott shares three ways to improve your understanding on how environmental justice affects you and your community.
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Saving the world's water (and humans) one little stream at a time

January 16, 2018 10:00 PM
ESS professor Ben Abbott presents a new tool to fight nutrient pollution. Streams can be “sensors” of ecosystem health, allowing both improved water quality and food production.

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Fighting bad air quality with ... dance?

September 11, 2018 10:00 PM
Dance professor Keely Song and ESS professor Ben Abbott teamed up to promote BYU's free UTA passes to students, employees, and their families.
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Dr. Gary Booth: A Lifelong Legacy

July 03, 2020 03:29 PM
While at BYU, Dr. Gary Booth taught a wide range of subjects. Students and faculty alike appreciated Booth and his impact on the college.
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BYU analysis of 115+ studies: Masks powerful & cost-effective in combating COVID-19

July 23, 2020 09:56 AM
After reading 115 studies on COVID-19, ESS faculty and students published non-technical report on the effectiveness of masks at slowing the spread.
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Why are aspen dying?

June 27, 2013 10:00 PM
If Utah’s quaking aspen appear to be quaking more than usual this summer, the trees have reason to tremble, says a Brigham Young University biologist. In dappled forests across the West, aspen trees are battling deadly killers from heat stroke to bud-nipping predators to tree “heart attacks.”
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Permafrost Collapse and the Global Ecosystem

March 17, 2020 11:10 AM
ESS professor Ben Abbott co-authored a study in Nature on the permafrost climate feedback. Working with an international team, he found that abrupt permafrost collapse could double carbon release.
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Water cycle diagrams are giving us a false sense of water security

June 10, 2019 10:00 PM
A new study in Nature Geoscience led by ESS professor and students found that the global water cycle is incorrect even in modern papers and textbooks. 85% of diagrams show no people, despite human domination of water at a global scale.
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Plant & Wildlife Sciences Across the Map

June 29, 2020 02:18 PM
Professors and students from Environmental Science & Sustainability lead research projects from Antarctica to Alaska.
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Study finds bedrock is teeming with microorganisms protecting water quality

February 03, 2019 10:00 PM
The solution to nutrient pollution could be right below out feet. Literally. New study reveals the active and dynamic world of groundwater microbes.
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Interdependence and Stewardship: Piecing Together Humanity’s Relationship with the Earth

By Carlee Reber
June 05, 2019 01:06 PM
Will we show up in the geologic record in millions of years? The Anthropocene suggests the answer is yes: collective human impact on the environment will leave a definitive mark in future bedrock.
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