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Welcome Message

Chair Message

Thank you for your interest in the environmental science/studies program. Our students find this an extraordinarily relevant discipline as we confront climate change, deteriorating environmental quality, and sustainability issues in this country and around the globe. For those of you interested in making a difference, this is the program for you.

As an environmental scientist, I am part of this exciting world and look forward to answering any questions you may have.


Bernhard Riegl, Ph.D.

Why Choose This Major?

  • This program offers opportunities to sample a broad range of science courses, to develop expertise in environmental issues, to study abroad, and to graduate with the tools necessary to make a positive impact on science and society.
  • This program provides excellent preparation for entry-level environmental positions. The U.S. Department of Labor expects strong growth in opportunities for environmental science professionals in the coming years. Environmental science majors find jobs as professional scientists in federal, state, and local governments; technical consulting firms; and architectural and engineering firms. Environmental studies majors find jobs in parks and recreation, public policy, and environmental advocacy.
  • This program provides excellent preparation for graduate studies in science, law, education, or the health professions. Students planning to enter graduate programs in the natural sciences generally choose the environmental science track over the studies track.

Click here to learn about career opportunities for graduates of this program.

Response to a National Need

In 1994, the Commission Supporting Education about the Environment recognized the need for new environmental science programs. The Commission's goal was to broaden the standard conception of education to include sustainable development. Because of such support, the teaching of environmental science is now commonplace within middle and high schools.

Despite awareness about environmental concerns, there remains an alarming state of ignorance about everyday issues. A recent survey of American adults by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation showed that only one in three adults knew that most of the electricity in the United States is produced by burning coal, natural gas, and oil.

This probably explains why lawmakers find it difficult to engage the general public in solutions to global warming and maintaining air quality. Similarly, three out of four adults do not know that the leading cause of water pollution is water running off farmland, parking lots, city streets, and lawns. Although there are misconceptions about environmental issues, the vast majority of Americans favor environmental education. Concern about the environment is reflected in the interests of students. There is a need to provide students with the opportunity to further develop this subject at the tertiary education level. The program at the College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography is a response to this need.

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