Degree Programs

Earth System Science Program

UAH offers a B.S. and M.S. in Earth System Science, administered by the Department of Atmospheric Science.

The primary objectives of the ESS program are:

  • To meet important national, regional, and statewide needs for highly technically-educated professionals who understand the Earth as a system.
  • To produce graduates who will be able to perform a variety of functions in research centers and industry centered in our impact on the Earth system.

Specifically, that means that students will be trained with:

  • The ability to deal quantitatively with real-world problems
  • The ability to integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines to scientifically address Earth system issues quantitatively
  • The ability to work in interdisciplinary teams

Earth System Science

Individualized Bachelor of Science (IND) Degree

A UAH undergraduate who discovers that his or her interests don’t coincide with one of the departmental majors in the College of Science may propose an individualized science major which would allow the student to create a program of study appropriate for his or her individual educational and career goals. The student will need a clear concept of what his or her college degree is to accomplish.

Some examples of individualized science majors are biochemistry, biophysics, mathematical biology, astrophysical modeling, computational chemistry, environmentally sustainable systems, climate change, medical physics, and many others.

Global Studies Minor - Global Markets and Politics Concentration

This concentration helps students examine the global dimensions of business, finance, and manufacturing and their impact on daily life and on local, national, and international politics. Students are also encouraged to consider alternative practices for enabling more socially equitable market outcomes and sustainable development.


BYS 302: People, Plants and the Environment

This course introduces students to the vital roles that plants have in our ecosystems through the study of basic plant and soil science. Topics include the structure, function, growth processes, reproduction, physiology and ecology of plants and soil microbes, including resources derived from the plant world such as food sources, medicines, and industrial products. The course incorporates a strong hands-on laboratory component during which students will investigate live specimens by growing their own garden plants in the Shelby Center Research Greenhouse, setting up outdoor student gardens at the UAH Community Garden, understanding the key concepts of sustainability and permaculture, and participating in a campus plant sale. Through the study of science in the garden, students will develop skills in the growth, cultivation, and use of plants and soil using environmentally sustainable and responsible practices.

CE 658: Sustainable Design

The built environment has a substantial impact on energy and material resources as well as being a critical determinant of health and productivity. This course covers topics such as site planning and construction variables, energy and water alternatives, and current rating systems. Case studies and field trips of historic and contemporary projects exemplifying various sustainability features will be included.

ESS 610 - Land Use APP & Sustainability

Study of land use and sustainability issues using satellite image processing and GIS. International examples of urbanization, agriculture, transportation, water management, and natural resources exploitation. Discussions of current literature and quantitative analyses of satellite and situ data. Prerequisite: ESS 515 or consent of instructor.

Honors 301: Sustainability

This course begins with the development of a working definition for sustainability balanced across the three areas of concern – social well-being, environmental stewardship and economic prosperity – People, Planet and Profit. The course examines processes, reporting tools and measurement practices necessary to better understand, monitor and control the influences of greenhouse gases, energy sources, water, conservation measures, labor-related issues and other impacts along with local and global policies shaping behavior at the consumer, industrial and governmental levels. The course examines a “Best in Class” case study both in the classroom and in the field to determine a development improvement strategy for a test case.

Course Goals:

This course provides students with a broader understanding of the concepts and principles of sustainability as they apply to the protection of our natural environment, to the social well-being of individuals and communities and to the economic prosperity both within the context of a local setting as well as a global influence.

Permaculture Design Class

The Eldenbridge Institute in Huntsville also offers a Permaculture Design Class to UAH students. Students get the chance to earn an International Certification in Permaculture Design Science. To learn more about the class, visit the Eldenbridge Institute PDC website.