Earth and Environmental Sciences Studies

Career and Graduate Study Options and Outcomes. The interdisciplinary nature of the earth and environmental sciences curriculum prepares students for a variety of careers, graduate schools and professional schools, such as law school. Many graduates enter employment immediately after graduation with government environmental regulatory agencies or the private sector as environmental consultants and consulting geologists. Others choose graduate school in environmental science, hydrogeology, soil science, geology and atmospheric science. Earth and environmental sciences graduates have also pursued careers in education and environmental law.

Capstone Experience. The department members recognize the variety of ways that students learn and thus offer several different ways that students can demonstrate their learning through four forms of the capstone experience. Students may choose among Environmental Internship, Environmental Internship Seminar, Research in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Research Seminar in Earth and Environmental Sciences, or Field Program. The department recommends on-the-job, practical experiences for majors, particularly those interested in immediate employment in the private consulting or governmental sectors. Approved internships may include work in private industry, planning commissions, consulting firms, environmental law firms, or state and federal environmental departments.

For students who are interested in advanced training in graduate school, Research in Earth and Environmental Sciences represents a way for them to demonstrate their skills through an individual investigation in collaboration with a member of the department faculty. Students extend learning through exploration of an original problem and demonstrate their progress through a thesis and public presentation. Students have presented at regional and national scientific meetings sponsored by geology, meteorology, soil science and ecology societies.

All students are encouraged to enroll in an approved geologic or environmental field camp, which provides a field experience in which students are trained in current mapping and exploration methods. The Field Program option allows students who elect these opportunities to apply the experiences to the capstone experience requirement. Graduate schools often require these courses before enrollment, and the field-based training is extremely valuable to those seeking a professional career immediately following graduation. After the off-campus experience, students complete on-campus presentations and reflections on their learning.

Teaching Certification. The department offers certification in earth and space science (secondary education), environmental education (K–12), and general science (secondary education) when either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree is earned in combination with specific requirements from the Education Department. Additional information regarding certification in education is available in the education requirements section. Majors in this program must complete student teaching during their senior year, so the student teaching capstone experience is accepted as an alternate to the department’s capstone experience requirement.