Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Environmental Science Lab PhotoPenn State Behrend’s campus is a ready-made natural laboratory for students pursuing the B.S. in Environmental Science. 

Our 854-acre campus is an arboretum bordered by an old-growth hemlock forest and Wintergreen Gorge, a 250-foot shale and sandstone chasm. Just beyond campus are Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania’s only strand plain coast. Penn State Behrend’s deep commitment to stewardship of water resources is evidenced by its Sea Grant College status; our Pennsylvania Sea Grant offices offer you research and internship opportunities on Lake Erie and on the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers.

Why Penn State Behrend?

Here, you’ll use the fields of earth science, biology, and chemistry to examine the human-earth interface. More importantly, you’ll learn in ways that emphasize practical, hands-on experience, including:

  • Integrating geographic information systems and global position systems in environmental research. Current students are using GIS and GPS technology to inventory invasive species on campus, monitor beach and landform changes at Presque Isle State Park, and map Lake Erie bluff topography and geology.
  • Undergraduate research. In collaboration with faculty, you’ll have opportunities to pursue original research that frequently results in presentations at regional and national professional conferences. Emergent pollutants are a major research area for the degree program; you might find yourself studying the environmental chemistry of platinum group elements in car exhaust or assessing the quality of campus groundwater.
  • Field work. Penn State Behrend’s unique Great Lakes location makes it possible for you to acquire experience working in a variety of settings, from fresh-water streams to former industrial sites.

Two options within the B.S. in Environmental Science let you to tailor your degree to your career interests. The Environmental Field Studies option adds a concentration in field biology, GIS, and environmental geoscience, while the Environmental Lab Science option emphasizes analytical chemistry and geochemistry. For further specialization, add a minor in a related area such as biology, chemistry, statistics, or sustainability leadership.

Who Hires Environmental Science Majors?

State and federal agencies, nonprofits, and corporations all are looking for environmental scientists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that over the next twenty years the number of jobs for environmental scientists will grow faster than the average for all occupations. This increase will be driven by population growth and its concurrent need for water, energy, and mineral resources. A recent BLS report found that the median salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $68,910 (May 2016).

Your Career Starts Here

Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system that will help you to identify and achieve your goals for the college classroom and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.

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