Environmental scientists use their knowledge to protect the environment and human health. This may involve advising policy makers, working with industry or spending time in the field to identify and assess potential threats. The Environmental Science (BS) degree at Appalachian State University is a science-intensive, cross-disciplinary experience that develops a strong background in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, statistics, geosciences, environmental policy and planning, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The curriculum has a required “active learning” component, which can take the form of research, an internship, community service, educational outreach or study abroad. This senior capstone experience includes the opportunity to share what you learn with the scientific community through journal articles and professional presentations.
Employment: Graduates become employed with state and federal government as physical scientists, hydrologists, biologists, ecologists, and environmental specialists. They also work as consultants, managers and planners with industry, municipalities and various agencies such as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Graduate School: Approximately 35% of our graduates pursue advanced degrees in environmental science; environmental engineering; environmental policy and planning; environmental law; natural resources management; and various basic and applied science disciplines.
A suite of core introductory courses in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology are taken along with 2 semesters of calculus and a statistics course.
Another 20 semester hours of “environmental” courses – such as ecology, environmental chemistry, and Geographical Information Systems, among others – are required as well. The curriculum is rounded out with at least 12 additional semester hours in “concentration” areas: Chemistry, Geophysical Sciences, and/or Biology.
A minor is optional. However, students must take at least 12 additional semester hours in “concentration” areas: Chemistry, Geophysical Sciences, and/or Biology.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Environmental Sciences Club – engages students of all disciplines in environmental awareness and promotes interdisciplinary research opportunities.
Journal of Student Research in Environmental Science at Appalachian – A collection of non-peer-reviewed articles submitted by students of the Environmental Science Program at Appalachian State University as part of their active learning project. The articles represent a range of multi-disciplinary topics.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Students are encouraged to seek research experiences on campus with faculty mentors, as well as off campus through programs such as the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.
- Internships are encouraged. Host sites include: U.S. Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
- Appalachian’s mountain location is ideal for providing opportunities in sustainable development, stream systems, hazards and risk assessment, forest ecology, air quality and climate issues, and the cumulative effects of agricultural, forestry, and recreational practices on soil and water resources.
Number of Students
Approximately 50 declared majors; 100 total majors.
Method of Delivery
On campus only
Some of these jobs may require education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
- Air Pollution Analyst
- Air Quality Technician
- Conservation Land Manager
- EPA Inspector
- Fisheries Conservationist
- Ground Water Manager
- Habitat Manager
- Land Use Planner
- Natural Resource Manager
- Nature Conservationist
- NEPA-certified Environmental Professional
- Park Ranger
- Park Resource Ecologist
- Public Health Worker
- Reforestation Specialist
- Research Assistant
- Resource Economist
- Soil Conservationist
- State Parks & Recreation Worker
- Various Positions with US and State Government
- Waste Management Technician
- Water Quality Technician
- Wildlife Biologist
- Wildlife Resources Worker
Dr. Chris Thaxton
Director, Environmental Science Program