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 degree’s Life Sciences concentration allows students to focus on biology and chemistry classes and complete some of requirements necessary to become a Wetlands Professional in Training (WPiT), the first step in gaining Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) certification.
With additional coursework in environmental law, policy, planning, economics, communications as well as NEPA certification and report writing, the Life Sciences concentration prepares students for a career in environmental policy, enforcement and/or management.
Employment: Graduates become employed with state and federal government agencies and in industry as physical scientists, hydrologists, biologists, ecologists and environmental specialists. They may also work as project and engineering 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 10% 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 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 (ENVClub) - This student club is for people who are environmentally conscious. It engages students of all disciplines in environmental awareness and to promote interdisciplinary research opportunities.
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.
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. Bob Swarthout
Director, Environmental Science Program