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The science and management of environmental processes

This program gives students a spatial understanding of our natural landscape, and the skills to effectively manage human activities that impact the natural environment.  It therefore focuses on three areas:

  • physical geography, the study of spatial patterns and processes of natural phenomena (biological, geological, and climatic)
  • human-environmental interactions, the historical and contemporary two-way relationship between the natural environment and human activities, including issues such as hazards response, environmental degradation, and human adaptation to physical constraints
  • environmental management, the practical application of the above principles to make policy and operational decisions that balance human needs and environmental needs

In each of these areas, students gain conceptual knowledge, as well as practical skills in primary data collection in the field, and data analysis (statistical and GIS). The program prepares students for graduate studies and careers in basic research, land management, conservation, environmental protection and education.

This emphasis is ideal for students who: enjoy the outdoors, love to sit and contemplate a spectacular view, are concerned about environmental issues, and want a mix of field work and computer work.

Career Opportunities

  • Typical employers include: federal government, consultants, non-profit organizations
  • Job titles include: land management planner, environmental scientist, park ranger, hazardous waste manager

Expected Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of this program will be able to

  • describe the geography of the earth's physical landscape, including elements such as climate, landforms, flora, and fauna 
  • explain the dynamics, mechanisms, and interactions among physical processes that shape the Earth's landscape at multiple scales 
  • examine the patterns and consequences of human-environmental interaction
  • develop solutions to environmental issues that incorporate political, ethical, economic, legal, and cultural factors in addition to environmental concerns
  • gather data in the field, and analyze primary and secondary data sets (statistical, qualitative, GIS) to understand environmental issues and develop solutions, and communicate results in verbal, written, and cartographic forms
  • evaluate the causes and potential impacts on human systems of global and local environmental change
Environmental Studies Requirements.pdfEnvironmental Studies Requirements.pdf