Environmental Science aims to understand every aspect of modern and ancient Earth. A degree in environmental science provides the diverse skills required to work in many different employment settings. For example, the acquired scientific and mapping skills are great for jobs in parks and forestry management, museum work, science education, urban and suburban planning, and jobs that involve natural resource issues. Within the field of geology, environmental and geotechnical jobs exist for people with BS degrees. A master’s degree provides better job opportunities in those fields, as well as in oil and gas exploration, which can be enormously rewarding both intellectually and financially. A PhD provides additional employment options, especially in universities and government labs. Internships enable students to meet potential employers, learn about real world opportunities, and sample different types of work.
Geology deploys an interdisciplinary mix of physics, chemistry, biology, math, and natural science to understand the mysteries of nature. It focuses on the solid Earth (rocks, minerals, mountain belts, volcanoes, earthquakes, sedimentary basins, oil and gas deposits, etc.) as well as the history of life (paleontology) and its impact on the Earth. In recent decades, geologists have become increasingly concerned with the history of the Earth’s climate, how the physical and chemical behavior of the oceans has changed over time, and how drifting continents and evolving life have interacted to control the composition of the atmosphere and oceans and hence to control global climate. Geologists also examine how human activities affect our environment, including the quality of air, water, and soil.
Geology majors have hiked the Appalachian Trail, gone backpack camping with at-risk youth in the Utah deserts, bicycled across North America, plumbed the depts. Of unexplored caves, and traveled to Mongolia in pursuit of summer research. Geology majors take a six week summer field camp that features extensive hiking in the western U.S., Italy, New Zealand, or other places around the world. To see whether environmental science is a good major for you try a geology class (GEOL 0040, GEOL 0800, or GEOL 0860) and the Physical Geology Lab (GEOL 0055). Make sure you are comfortable with the required biology, chemistry, math, and physics courses.
The Environmental Science major requires completion of at least 63 credits, as follows.