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What can an ecology degree do for you?

You are part of a bigger picture. Learn how you and everything on Earth fits together by studying ecology.

With the environmental problems we face today, the study of our environment is essential.

And Susquehanna is the best place for it.

We have one of the only programs of its kind at an undergraduate-only liberal arts university, so you'll learn from expert faculty, with opportunities for one-on-one research in the areas of ecology you care about.

Located just a stone's throw from the mighty Susquehanna River, we're surrounded by waterways, forests and farmland.

The word ecology is derived from the Greek word oikos, meaning "house." You'll better understand our home—and the environmental threats it faces—by majoring or minoring in ecology.

You'll learn how the elements of our environment—air, water, soil and organism—relate to each another and how organisms function within their native habitat.

And that won't just happen in a classroom. You learn about the environment while getting your boots dirty.

Our rural location, close to major waterways, is perfect for the study of ecology, so you'll get plenty of chances to work in the field.

Combining the strengths of our biology and earth and environmental sciences departments, we cover a wide range of topics from streams, lakes and wetlands to nutrient cycling to land ecosystems.

You'll learn directly from our expert faculty, who specialize in aquatic ecology, soil science, behavioral ecology, paleoecology, vertebrate ecology, plant ecology, wetlands ecology and population and community ecology.

Nearly all of our graduates go on to interesting work in the field, including:

  • Wildlife, fisheries or environmental consulting
  • Forestry
  • Agricultural or natural resources management
  • Parks and recreation
  • Resource planning, management and conservation
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Wildlife conservation

Requirements for the Major in Ecology. The Bachelor of Science degree in ecology requires 56 semester hours in biology, earth and environmental sciences and chemistry with grades of C- or better in ecology, biology, and earth and environmental sciences courses. The Bachelor of Science in ecology includes a four-course introductory sequence and a year or more of student research. In addition, the 56 semester hours include 24 semester hours of elective courses with at least 12 drawn from each of Category 1 and Category 2. In cases where the lecture and laboratory components of courses are listed separately, students in the ecology program must take both lecture and laboratory.

Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>

16        Introductory Sequence (16 semester hours)

4          ECOL-100 Introduction to the Science of Ecology (BIOL-101 Ecology and Evolution, EENV-101 Environmental Science, or EENV-103 Earth System History may substitute as an initial course in the introductory sequence)

4 ECOL-110 Biogeodiversity
4 ECOL-201 Community and Ecosystems Ecology
4 BIOL-220 Biostatistics

24        Elective Courses (24 semester hours chosen from the following, with at least 12 semester hours taken in Category 1 and 12 semester hours taken in category 2)

Category 1: Biology Electives (12 credits must be chosen from the following. The course must be accompanied with the laboratory when offered and at least two courses of the 12 credits must be lab-based)

4          BIOL-312-313 Microbiology

4          BIOL-324-325 Animal Behavior

4          BIOL-326-327 Invertebrate Zoology

4          BIOL-328-329 Natural History of Early Vertebrates

4          BIOL-332-333 Population Biology

4          BIOL-404-405 Plant Physiology

4          BIOL-408-409 Aquatic Ecology

4          BIOL-460-461 Winter Ecology of Vertebrates

2          ECOL-560 Explorations in Ecology (e.g. Sustainable Food Systems, Biology of Invasive Species, Amphibian Population Declines, Vertebrate Ecology of Costa Rica, Human Evolution and Behavior, etc.)

Category 2: Environmental Science Electives (12 credits must be chosen from the following:)

4 EENV-113 Geology and the Environment
4 EENV-213 Oceanography
4 EENV-220 Water Resources
4 EENV-240 Introduction to Meteorology
4 EENV-242 Climate and Global Change
4 EENV-283 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy
4 EENV-313 The Susquehanna River
4 EENV-360 Geographic Information Systems
4 EENV-380 Wetlands Analysis
4 EENV-383 Soil Science
4 EENV-420 Groundwater Hydrology
4 EENV-430 Chemistry of Natural Waters

8          Student Research

ECOL-509 Student Research I may be taken during the third year for students that require more than one field season of research. ECOL-510 Student Research I may be taken as either 2 or 4 semester hours senior year. Students who have completed ECOL-509 must take no more than 2 semester hours of ECOL-510. 

2 ECOL-509 Student Research I
2 or 4 ECOL-510 Student Research I
4 ECOL-511 Student Research II

8          Required Corollary Courses

Students must complete the following corollary chemistry courses:

4      General Chemistry I - choose from: CHEM-101, CHEM-103 or CHEM-111

4      General Chemistry II - choose from: CHEM-102, CHEM-104 or CHEM-112

Note: Additional corollary courses are strongly recommended for those intending to pursue graduate training. These recommended courses include CHEM-221 Organic Chemistry I, CHEM-222 Organic Chemistry II, CHEM-231 Quantitative Analysis, Introductory Physics I (PHYS-202, PHYS-203 or PHYS-204), and Introductory Physics II (PHYS-205 or PHYS-206).

Majors must also take a comprehensive ecology examination prior to graduation. Exam content will be drawn from introductory sequence courses. Students have multiple opportunities to take the comprehensive examination; only the highest score is recorded on the transcript. Performance on the comprehensive examination is reported on the transcript as high pass, pass or fail.

Requirements for the Minor in Ecology. The minor in ecology requires 24 semester hours in ecology, biology, and earth and environmental sciences with grades of C- or better. The first course in the minor may be one of the following: ECOL-100, BIOL-101, EENV-101 or EENV-103. That introductory course should be followed by the sequence of ECOL-110/BIOL-204 and ECOL-201. Following the completion of the introductory sequence, the student will take at least four semester hours from Category 1 (biology) and four semester hours from Category 2 (earth and environmental sciences).

Double-counting restriction for interdisciplinary minors: only 8 semester hours of this minor may be double-counted toward the student's major.

Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>

Category 1: Biology Electives (must be taken with the laboratory)

4          BIOL-312/313 Microbiology

4          BIOL-324/325 Animal Behavior

4          BIOL-326/327 Invertebrate Zoology

4          BIOL-328/329 Natural HIstory of Early Vertebrates

4          BIOL-332/333 Population Biology

4          BIOL-404/405 Plant Physiology

4          BIOL-408/409 Aquatic Ecology

4          BIOL-460/461 Winter Ecology of Vertebrates

Category 2: Environmental Science Electives

4 EENV-213 Oceanography
4 EENV-220 Water Resources
4 EENV-240 Introduction to Meteorology
4 EENV-242 Climate and Global Change
4 EENV-283 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy
4 EENV-313 The Susquehanna River
4 EENV-360 Geographic Information Systems
4 EENV-380 Wetlands Analysis
4 EENV-383 Soil Science
4 EENV-420 Groundwater Hydrology
4 EENV-430 Chemistry of Natural Waters
Matthew Persons, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Professor of Biology

Emailpersons@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4526

Jack Russell Holt, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Professor of Biology

Emailholt@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4205

Tammy C. Tobin, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Professor of Biology

Emailtobinjan@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4067

Jennifer Mary Elick, Ph.D.

Department: Earth & Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences

Emailelick@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4214

Carlos Alberto Iudica, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Associate Professor of Biology

Emailcasaiud@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4208

Ahmed Lachhab, Ph.D.

Department: Earth & Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences

Emaillachhab@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4215

David Matlaga, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Assistant Professor of Biology

Emailmatlaga@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4347

Alissa A. Packer, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
Associate Professor of Biology

Emailpacker@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4217

Dan Ressler, Ph.D.

Department: Earth & Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences

Emailresslerd@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4216

Tanya Matlaga, Ph.D.

Department: Science in Motion
Science in Motion Coordinator

Emailmatlagat@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4778

Jonathan M. Niles, Ph.D.

Department: Dean of Arts and Sciences
Director of the Mellon Grant Program

Emailniles@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4707

Michael Bilger

Department: Dean of Arts and Sciences
Aquatic Ecology Research Scientist

Emailbilgerm@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4722

Kathy Straub, Ph.D.

Department: Earth & Environmental Sciences
Professor Earth & Environmental Science

Emailstraubk@susqu.edu
Phone570-372-4318

Recent graduates have gone to graduate school at:

Auburn
Columbia University
Oregon State University
State University of New York at Stony Brook
University of Maine
University of Southern Maine
University of Florida

Recent graduates are employed at:

AquaTechEnvironmental Consulting
Calvert Laboratories-Scranton
Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. 
Forest Management Institute at TechnischeUniversitätMünchenas
Georgia Aquarium
Imaginarium Hands on Science Museum of Fort Myers
MicrobacLaboratories Inc.
Northeast Waste and Wastewater Training Associates
Philadelphia Zoo
PPL
Staten Island Zoo
Susquehanna River Basin Commission
Tetra Tech Environmental Consulting
Tioga County Conservation District
TRC Solutions
Trout Unlimited Urban Farming Guys
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USDA Forest Service

Ecology

Help Make The Susquehanna River Cleaner

Many of our students are involved with the Freshwater Research Initiative, which includes a dedicated laboratory and state-of-the-art equipment for river research.

Ecology
Ecology

Which Environmental Science Is Right for Me?

Earth and environmental sciences, environmental studies, ecology ... they sound remarkably similar. How do you decide which one is right for you? Here's your cheat sheet on these three fields.

  • Earth and environmental sciences studies the nonliving components of our environment and how they impact living things. Think of it as the study of water, rocks, air and soil.
  • Ecology examines the intersections between all living things and the nonliving environment. Unlike earth and environmental sciences, the primary focus is living organisms.
  • Environmental studies is the major for you if you want to advocate for the environment or work for a nonprofit or non-governmental organization (NGO). This program incorporates science, law and policy to look at pressing environmental issues.

Contact Us

Ecology Program

514 University Ave.
Selinsgrove, Pa. 17870

Get Directions

Location

Natural Sciences Center

Campus Map

Phone & Email

Matt Persons
570-372-4526
persons@susqu.edu

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