Well-educated scientific professionals are in high demand to help solve the myriad of environmental problems facing the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Overpopulation, air and water pollution, loss of habitat for endangered species, solid and hazard waste management, the buildup of pesticides and heavy metals in our food and water – these are just a few of the concerns environmental scientists have begun to address around the globe. Our environment is showing severe signs of human impact, and environmental scientists are leaders in identifying, researching and solving some of these complex societal challenges.
White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) are a model species to study the pasture fields at Primmer while they are slowly converted to Ohio Prairie (in partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service).
Environmental science is a rapidly expanding, interdisciplinary field of study. At Capital, we believe that solving complex problems requires scientific knowledge from a variety of fields, including biology, chemistry, geology and physics/engineering. Analytical and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to be part of a team, are necessary components of this discipline.
More than developing a heightened awareness of the environment, your environmental education will develop within you a scientific understanding of the natural and human-made environment. You'll inform and shape attitudes that value the environment, and you'll acquire skills for identifying and addressing environmental issues. Rooted in a solid knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics and geology, and their interrelationships in the natural world, you will be educated to act on your values and influence behaviors toward a sustainable environment. The result will be healthier people and livable communities now and for the future. (Adapted from the Ohio EPA.)
What you'll learn
Capital University's environmental science degree program provides a unique educational opportunity that combines the diversity and critical thinking skills of a liberal arts education with a solid foundation in the basic sciences. Our science faculty's broad expertise and passion — for the discipline, for teaching and for student success — give you the personal attention and necessary breadth to understand and solve complex environmental problems. At Capital, our program is tailored to prepare you for the step in your path, whether that's acquiring more scientific specialization through a master’s or doctoral degree, or direct entrance into an environmental career.
The program consists of both introductory and advanced work in biology, chemistry, geology and physics. A senior research experience also is part of the program, enabling students to examine current complex scientific problems in-depth through individualized faculty-student research projects. An accompanying minor in either geology, chemistry or biology adds depth to the knowledge and experience base in at least one scientific discipline.
Added to the scientific foundation are courses in economics, public policy, technical writing and environmental regulations — all of which are designed to help the student understand the underlying causes of many environmental problems, public perception of those problems, and the business and government systems with which environmental scientists work and communicate. Explore our program and course descriptions in our online course bulletin.
Because we embrace the highest-impact teaching practices, you'll round out your experience by participating in a hands-on internship or research opportunity in a business, government agency or volunteer organization in our thriving capital city of Columbus.
Where You'll Go: Careers and placement
An environmental science degree from Capital University can lead to a career in a wide variety of settings or to additional studies in graduate school. Many private businesses and industries employ environmental scientists as consultants, to design and operate pollution remediation and health and safety activities, and to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
The environmental protection field includes opportunities in solid and hazardous waste management, air and water quality management, and environmental restoration and remediation. Job opportunities in natural resource management include forestry, parks, water, fisheries, wildlife management and land conservation. Other environmental scientists specialize in environmental law, community planning, policy analysis or environmental education in both governmental and private sectors. New job categories and definitions originate yearly as the field of environmental science continues to expand.
High-Impact practices: LEARNING beyond borders
Study reef biology in Cozumel, Mexico and Andros Island, Bahamas. Explore tropical ecology in Costa Rica and Ecuador and Galapagos. Research environmental issues in Cuba, or take a service-learning trip to Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.
We believe strongly that transformative learning also takes place beyond the traditional borders of the classroom, lab or even campus. A well-rounded student experience includes both domestic and international settings. The department actively provides students with opportunities for experiential learning through regularly offered short-term field courses. These trips allow students to study biology and environmental science topics, experience indigenous cultures, and become involved in service to the broader community. Typically two field courses are offered annually.