Environmental Science Department
The Forces that Shape the Natural World
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary study of the things that shape our natural environment. The Department of Environmental Science offers two majors and minors in environmental policy and environmental studies.
Majors in environmental science are encouraged to participate in ongoing research projects with faculty, or to conduct their own independent research (include link). In addition, students can participate in a unique study tour to the island of Yap in Micronesia (link here) through the John Belk International Program. In Yap you'll work with local officials, scientists and your classmates to survey the landscape and monitor environmental conditions, helping to balance the use and preservation of the island's natural resources.
The Bachelor of Science in environmental science consists of core courses in environmental science, chemistry, biology and physics, complemented by electives in these disciplines plus political science, communication and other fields. Scientific theory is blended with technical training, especially through field laboratory exercises and research projects. Skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and effective communication will culminate in a senior project.
These majors are well-prepared for graduate school and for laboratory or field-based careers in both the public and private sector. Public-sector employers include regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. In the private and non-profit sectors, environmental science majors go on to jobs with environmental consulting firms, environmental law firms, and organizations like The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club and Audubon.
The Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies provides students with a solid interdisciplinary foundation in environmental issues. The program emphasizes the interconnections between physical, biological, and social processes as they affect the environment. As such, students will develop a strong capacity for understanding the scientific basis for environmental topics, and will take courses in the political science, philosophy and religion, biology and other departments. Skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and effective communication will culminate in a senior project.
Many environmental studies majors go on to graduate school in the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and law. Other career paths include environmental education, advocacy, field work, and work with consulting firms and government agencies.
Greg Pillar, Chair