Dr. David Sissom, department head
Natural Sciences Building, Room 348A
WTAMU Box 60808
806-651-2570 • Fax 806-651-2928
Faculty: Babitzke, Bouma, Byers, Cepeda, Crosman, Fritzler, Ghosh, Hiranuma, Holland, Johnson, Karaganis, Kazmaier, Lee, Matlack, Meador, Rogers, Schultz, Sissom.
The Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences is composed of faculty with a broad range of academic interests. The department offers majors in Biology, Wildlife Biology, Biotechnology (until August 2024; no new majors), and Environmental Science as well as programs to prepare students for professional schools (Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Occupational Therapy and Pre-Physical Therapy). In addition, the department offers a major in Science Education (Science 7-12 and Life Science 7-12).
Students pursuing a degree in biology are offered an array of courses that allow them to gain a general background in biology or to specialize in one of several areas (e.g., vertebrate biology, ecology, cellular/molecular biology, microbiology, etc.). Students opting for the biology major often plan to attend graduate school (Master of Science or Ph.D. programs) to enhance their chances of securing employment in the field. There are teaching opportunities in colleges and universities, as well as positions in state and federal governments, and private laboratories. Some biology majors are laying the foundation for their entry into professional schools of medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, etc.
Environmental science combines basic and applied science, which focuses on the interaction between people and the environment. The environmental scientist has two challenging, sometimes conflicting goals: one, to protect the public from environmental hazards; and two, to preserve critical environmental resources. The demand for environmental scientists is likely to increase in the future as the world population grows and the need for safeguarding people and protecting the environment increases. The Environmental Science degree presents the student with two options, one specific for Environmental Science and the other for Geology.
The Environmental Science Program (Geology Option) serves the needs of students who intend to pursue the profession of geologist upon graduation or to pursue graduate studies in geology. It also serves the needs of students preparing for a teaching career in earth science. Students may fulfill the science requirement for their particular degree plan by taking courses in geology or geoscience. In addition, geology and geosciences courses are an essential part of the Environmental Science Program.
The Wildlife Program offers a degree for those who wish to become professional wildlife biologists. A wildlife biologist is responsible for preserving lands in a condition that wildlife can use for survival and successful reproduction. Wildlife biologists also provide data for control of hunting seasons and oversee situations where conventional agriculture, forestry and range management cause conditions where some animal species may become pests. They are responsible for reducing negative interactions between wildlife and people.
The department offers courses in sufficient numbers and variety to provide a student with the basic preparation to pursue a laboratory-oriented research career through graduate school or to continue their interest in science as a field scientist who divides time between research out-of-doors and in the laboratory. Most of our majors continue into careers that match the original goals for which they began their academic preparation. The department has excellent facilities with supporting equipment for field work that includes a fleet of vehicles as well as ample laboratory facilities for teaching and research.
Undergraduate Majors and Programs
- Wildlife Biology
- Life Science Education Certification, Grades 7-12
- Science Education Certification, Grades 7-12
- Biotechnology (until August 2024; no new majors)
- Pre-Healthcare Professional (includes Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, and Pre-Optometry)
Pre-Clinical Allied Health Programs
West Texas A&M University offers preclinical programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy and others that require at least one year of college work. The University does not offer baccalaureate degrees in these programs. The program of study involves the core curriculum plus prerequisite courses required by the specific program. The department provides advisement concerning prerequisite courses for the chosen program and assistance in locating and making application to the required clinical or professional facility.
University Core Curriculum Requirements
Refer to the “University Core Curriculum ” section of this catalog.
Discipline - Course Prefix
Anthropology - ANTH
Biology - BIOL
Biotechnology - BIOT
Environmental Science - ENVR
Geology - GEOL
Geoscience - GESC
Natural Science - NSCI
NOTE: See the “Course Descriptions ” sections of this catalog for a complete list of courses offered by the University.
Teacher Certification Programs
The Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences offers secondary teacher certification in Science and Life Science. Consult the “Department of Education” section of this catalog for certification requirements related to programs offered by this department.