The program has graduated over 250 students since the program began in 1976 , many of whom have made significant contributions to academia, government, and industry.
The Environmental Sciences Program provides a solid conceptual base in environmental processes and problems, as well as a theoretical and practical dominion of methods in the scientific analysis of the environment. The present situation in Puerto Rico is critical because of the increase in population and the need for management and sustainable use of the island's natural resources.
In the last 50 years the country has experienced a rapid population increase of 72%, being the second highest population density in America with 428 inhabitants per km2 (Marrero & Coln, 2006). Consequently, Puerto Rico is the second in energy consumption per capita in the Caribbean Region and one of the countries with the highest vehicular traffic with approximately 574 cars per 1,000 inhabitants (Marrero & Coln, 2006). In that context, the Environmental Sciences Program goal is to educate students in how to identify present and potential problems regarding the environment, and train them to apply sampling methods and environmental analyses, interpret data and field observations with an environmentally integrated vision and capacity to recommend conservation and remediation strategies of environmental systems.
The Bachelors curriculum was revised to be more flexible to meet the interests of individual students and was implemented in August 2009. This revised curriculum includes 33 credits of core science courses and 9 credits of optional science courses. There are in addition 13 credits of free electives. The Profile of the BS graduate in environmental science indicates that students should be trained to effect change, not just to be researchers. The undergraduate capstone experience, a culmination of the Bachelors program in which students integrate the knowledge gained in their studies, was previously a small thesis based on a research project on an environmental problem in Puerto Rico. The options for this capstone experience have been expanded beyond a research thesis to include internships at other institutions, government agencies, and industry where applied projects may be conducted.