• academic - science 06
Environmental Science Major
  • Overview

    Well-educated scientific professionals are in high demand to help solve the myriad of environ­mental problems facing the United States and the rest of the world. Overpopulation, air and water pollution, loss of habitat for endangered species, solid and hazard waste management, the buildup of pesticides and heavy metals in our food and water – these are just a few of the con­cerns that environmental scientists have begun to address around the globe. Our environment is showing severe signs of human impact, and it is environmental scientists who are involved in characterizing and solving some of these societal concerns.

    Environmental science as a discipline is a rapidly expand­ing, interdisciplinary field of study. To solve problems that are complex by nature, one needs to approach the problem well-armed with scientific knowledge from a variety of fields, including biology, chemistry, geology and physics/engineering. Analytical and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to be part of a team, are necessary compo­nents of this discipline.

    Course requirements for all majors and minors can be found in our online course bulletin.


    An environmental science degree from Capital University can lead to a career in a wide variety of settings or to additional studies in graduate school. Many private businesses and industries employ environmental scientists to provide environmental consulting services, to design and operate pollution remediation and health and safety activities, and to ensure environmental regula­tion compliance. The field of environmental protection includes opportunities in solid and hazardous waste management, air and water quality management, and environmen­tal restoration and remediation. Natural resource management includes such job areas as forestry, parks, water, fisheries, wildlife management and land conser­vation. Other environmental scientists specialize in environmental law, commu­nity planning, policy analysis or environ­mental education in both governmental and private sectors. New job categories and definitions originate yearly as the field of envi­ronmental science continues to expand. 


    The Capital University degree program provides a unique educational opportunity that combines the diversity and critical thinking skills of a liberal arts edu­cation with a solid foundation in the basic sciences. The broad expertise and professional commitment of the sci­ence faculty at Capital offer students the personal attention and necessary breadth to understand and solve complex environmental problems. This program is designed to prepare students for either additional scientific specializa­tion through the pursuit of a master’s or doctoral degree or direct entrance into an environmental career.

    The program consists of both introductory and advanced work in biology, chemistry, geology and physics. A senior research experience also is part of the program to allow students to examine current complex scientific problems in-depth through individualized faculty-student research projects. An accompanying minor in either geology, chem­istry or biology adds depth to the knowledge and experi­ence base in at least one scientific discipline.

    Added to the scientific foundation are courses in econom­ics, public policy, technical writing and environmental regulations – all of which are designed to help the student understand the underlying causes of many environmental problems, public perception of environmental problems, and the business and government systems with which one must work as an environmental scientist. Rounding out each student’s training will be an opportunity to participate in a hands-on internship or research opportunity in a business, government agency or volunteer organization.

    Further opportunities exist for students to receive specialized training through Cap­ital’s affiliation with other educational and research institutions and governmen­tal agencies in Central Ohio. A campus chapter of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) and other on-campus organizations provide opportunities to be involved in initiatives such as recycling, Earth Day celebrations, environmental educa­tion and politics, and to network with like-minded students throughout the country.

    Environmental education is the learning process whereby people acquire an awareness and scientific understanding of the natural and human-made environment, attitudes that value the environment, and skills for identifying and addressing environmental issues. It is rooted in a solid knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics and geology, and their interrelationships in the natural world. When effective, it leads to actions that result in a sustainable environment, healthier people, and livable communities for the present and for the future. (Adapted from the Ohio EPA.)