(Bachelor of Science)
The Environmental Science major prepares students to analyze, understand, and solve environmental problems. While many universities are just beginning to recognize the need for environmental science programs, UW-Green Bay has over 50 years of teaching and research experience in the field. This Environmental Science program was one of the first in the nation and the interdisciplinary focus allows students to have a diverse education.
The Environmental Science major is interdisciplinary, emphasizing an integrated approach to knowledge in the field. Because the study of environmental problems requires a sound understanding of scientific principles, the Environmental Science major is grounded in the natural sciences and mathematics. The curriculum also includes a social science component, enabling students to gain an understanding of environmental economic and policy issues. Field experiences, internships, practicums, independent research and travel courses are also emphasized throughout the program.
This major helps students: 1) understand fundamental physical and biological processes of the natural environment; 2) recognize relationships between humans and ecosystems at local, regional, and global scales; 3) apply knowledge from multiple disciplines to environmental challenges and opportunities; 4) build practical skills for scientific problem-solving, including familiarity with laboratory and field instrumentation, ability to use current computer technologies, and experience in statistical modeling techniques; 5) demonstrate competency in collecting, managing, evaluating, interpreting, and communicating information through hands-on research; and 6) critically evaluate strategies for sustainable management and restoration of environmental systems.
Students who plan to pursue this major will apply science and mathematics in their course work. Courses in biology, chemistry, geoscience, mathematics, and physics provide the needed background. They receive hands-on and practical learning experiences in both the laboratory and the field. A significant number of graduates of this major gain entry-level positions in the environmental science field. About one-third of these positions are in the public sector and two-thirds are in the private sector, including positions with industry, business, and engineering consulting firms. Numerous graduates have also successfully completed master’s and doctoral degrees.
Faculty members are actively addressing current environmental problems and their solutions through research at the regional, national and international levels. This research keeps them up to date on current trends and topics in the field, while providing opportunities for undergraduates to become involved in their research projects and gain valuable knowledge and experience. Faculty members are highly involved in the students’ education, both inside and outside of the classroom and laboratories.
Environmental Science students have access to modern computer facilities which are continually upgraded. Computing software resources emphasizing geographic information systems (GIS), mathematical modeling and statistical analysis tools also are available. In addition to general-access computer laboratories, students can also use a computer laboratory dedicated to the sciences. Students wishing to gain hands-on field experiences have access to the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, which includes the 290-acre Cofrin Memorial Arboretum on campus and several natural areas in the region including Point au Sable, Tofts Point and Kingfisher Farms. The Gary A. Fewless Herbarium, and the Richter Museum of Natural History on campus include extensive collections of plant and animal specimens. Funding opportunities are also available through the Biodiversity Center for independent student research projects.
A variety of equipment is available for environmental measurements and monitoring. Laboratory instrumentation enhances student opportunities to perform chemical analyses which are important in environmental monitoring. Such instrumentation includes mass spectrometers, infrared and UV-visible spectrophotometers, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, gas chromatographs, ion chromatographs, and high-performance liquid chromatographs. In addition to opportunities to monitor air and surface-water quality, students also have the opportunity to monitor ground water; three wells have been drilled on campus specifically for that purpose.
As industries recognize their responsibility to help create and maintain a sustainable environment, often achieving efficiencies in the process, they create positions dealing with waste management, pollution reduction, and other environmental responsibilities. Many UW-Green Bay Environmental Science graduates find employment in these industries or go on to advanced study in environmental science or other scientific disciplines. The following list represents some careers that have been pursued by Environmental Science graduates: agricultural scientist, botanist, ecologist, forest ranger, oceanographer, agricultural technician, engineering technician, forester, air and water quality manager, environmental analyst, park ranger, air pollution analyst, environmental consultant, environmental educator, geologist, project manager, environmental engineer, geophysicist, biologist, hazardous waste manager, hydrologist, environmental lawyer, chemical technician, soil conservation technician, chemist, management consultant, teacher, meteorologist, urban and regional planner, civil engineer, environmental planner, microbiologist/wastewater plant operator, natural resource specialist, wildlife manager, conservationist, zoologist.
Students may study abroad or at other campuses in the United States through UW-Green Bay’s participation in international exchange programs and National Student Exchange. Travel courses are another option for obtaining academic credits and completing requirements. For more information, contact the Office of International Education at (920) 465-2190 or see http://www.uwgb.edu/international/.