Through an interdisciplinary approach to interactions between the biological/physical world and human institutions, students will (1) understand essential biological/physical processes; (2) understand the policy, economic, and social implications of many environmental issues; (3) develop skills necessary to analyze, understand and predict the consequences of human actions on the physical, biological, and cultural world; (4) examine and understand the requirements needed to achieve environmental conservation for a sustainable society; (5) develop writing, speaking, and electronic communication skills needed to communicate with the public and professionals concerning environmental science; (6) build critical thinking skills as the basis for decision making and sound value judgments; and (7) build teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution skills.
Within the program, the Environmental Policy option trains students to understand and address environmental issues in their political, social, and scientific context, designing policies that balance our need for resources with our need to conserve the environment. The Ecological Restoration option emphasizes renewing degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems through active human intervention, reestablishing ecological integrity and sustainability by restoring native species and ecological linkages. Students in the Energy and Climate option are provided a foundation in climate change-related sciences, as well as knowledge in important concepts related to the ways we produce and use energy. The Geospatial Option gives students the skills to solve problems with spatial information by analyzing the relationships within and between natural and human created systems.
Potential careers: graduates should find work with state, federal, and local governments, nonprofit conservation organizations, private sector consulting firms (particularly those dealing with environmental impact analysis, wetlands delineation, environmental restoration, and natural resource management), or go on to professional and graduate schools to study disciplines such as: ecology, soils, watershed management, law, political science, public administration, or environmental policy.