What You’ll Study

Our program uses an applied, field-based ecosystem approach to learning in our 1,100-acre classroom. In addition to studying the past and engaging in a range of classroom-based discussions, you’ll head out to learn and hone skills you’d use in a career in this field, such as:

  • Field sampling design and implementation
  • Measurement of environmental parameters
  • Laboratory analytical methods
  • Data analysis and evaluation

You’ll also have the opportunity to work on the Environmental Studies Crew doing water quality monitoring, or the Recycling Crew working at our new state-of-the-art composting facility. (Learn more about our Work Program and the way it augments our academic program.)

Classes You’ll Take

After getting a solid foundation in environmental science, ethics, and policy through the core Environmental Studies courses, you’ll take classes in chemistry and the natural sciences, including:

  • Environmental engineering
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Water resources
  • Geologic resources

Career Potential

This concentration prepares you for a career with environmental engineering firms, hydrogeology consulting firms, environmental regulatory agencies, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations. Your work might include things like:

  • Hazardous waste remediation
  • Water quality assessment or soil conservation
  • Wastewater or drinking water treatment for municipalities
  • Environmental compliance program management

Explore Classes in This Program

ENS 204

Intro to Environmental Engineering: Water and Waste Management

This hands-on course gives an overview of traditional and emerging engineering approaches to environmental issues through first-hand experience. You’ll visit local facilities, collect field data, conduct lab analyses, and take part in other types of active learning.

ENS 302

Aquatic Ecology and Water Pollution

This class looks at various types of aquatic ecosystems and the ways they adapt to life in their environments, especially when affected by pollution. You’ll learn to identify and detect environmental pollutants, along with various methods of controlling them.

ENS 229

Environmental Geology

This course covers the geologic conditions that impact development in our Southern Appalachian region, including landslides, water resources, groundwater pollution, and both rural and urban development.

Meet Our Faculty

As I field biologist, I always say our best laboratories are right out the back door of the science building. Within a 5 minute walk we have 3 ponds, a trout stream and 600 acres of Forest.

Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Mark Brenner
Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
NSURS Presentation
Capstone Experiences

Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence

Students in the Water and Earth Resources concentration take this three-semester sequence of courses, which gives you graduate-style research experience at the undergraduate level. You’ll work with a faculty advisor to design your own project, collect and analyze data, present your findings, and publish a thesis.