BS in Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Why Major in Environmental Science?

The BS in Environmental Science at Eastern University prepares students be “bilingual” in their training: be able to understand both the language of Biology and “Our professors were passionate as learners, teachers, and mentors.
They encouraged us to deeply pursue
our studies both in the classroom and, more importantly, in the field.”
       Stephanie Kuniholm '10
       Environmental Studies Major
       Pursuing M.S. Degree
       in Public Horticulture at
       University of Delaware
Ecology, and the language of law and environmental regulations. Students take fewer science courses than the Biology or Biological Science majors, freeing them to take courses in economics, political science, mathematics business, and philosophy. Students are required to take upper-level biology courses in Ecology, Environmental Issues, Environmental Regulation and Policy, and at least two field biology electives courses, preferably at a full-time summer field course program such as Au Sable, however field biology electives are also offered at Eastern.

This major helps prepare students for graduate school, law school- particularly for environmental law - as well as for non-profit, policy work (including at local levels), environmental research or consulting, and environmental education. 

Why Major in Environmental Science at Eastern?

Personalized teaching: Our largest classes (60-80 students) are our two introductory courses. Otherwise upper level courses have approximately 20 students or less. Senior research and thesis classes are limited to 5 students. Eastern professors teach the labs as well as lectures. Adjunct professors only teach a few courses in which each brings a particular specialized expertise. Students have the opportunity for extensive faculty contact both during and outside of classes.

Christian faith integration: Science is limited to what can be measured. Morality, the spiritual world, meaning, and even defining life itself, are not measurable questions. We seek to integrate a Christian worldview - truth God has revealed in the Bible - with our study of the measurable. This includes wrestling with the best responses to new knowledge and technology, whether in global climate change or genetic predictions.

Labs and student research: Students have access to standard research equipment, such as laminar flow hoods for cell culture; fluorescent and scanning microscopes; thermal cyclers for PCR (polymerase chain reaction); and other tools for DNA and protein electrophoresis. In addition, Biology students have access to our Scanning Electron Microscope, one of the most heavily used laboratory instruments in cutting edge academic and industrial research areas today. The Biology Place is a study room with dedicated computers and software for our majors, where students to study or work in small groups.

Field biology labs and proximity to diverse ecosystems: A strength of our program is extensive field time in our environmental-related courses, at numerous off-campus locations.The 100 acre St. Davids campus itself offers forests and wetlands for study. Eastern is within two hours of Atlantic Ocean barrier islands, salt marshes and bird migration stopovers; the biologically unique New Jersey Pine Barrens; the Appalachian Mountains, and the Pocono Plateau, which includes glacial bogs. Our immediate Philadelphia area includes serpentine barrens, five biogeographical zones; a freshwater tidal marsh; diverse examples of urban ecology, including urban garden programs and environmental remediation; many arboreta including world-famous Longwood Gardens; the world famous Baltimore Aquarium. Field trips built into our courses allow students to directly observe and study these. ‘Tropical Biology’ includes 10 days in the field in Puerto Rico. We have standard field biology equipment, and a GIS site license for ecosystem mapping and analysis.

Diverse course offerings: Some of our regularly offered signature courses include Molecular Biology; Techniques in Biotechnology; Medical Parasitology; Tropical Biology; Developmental Biology; Vertebrate Biology; Medical Botany; Animal Physiology; Ornithology; Entomology; Plant Taxonomy; Cardiovascular Physiology and Pathophysiology (through the Dept/Biokinetics); Marine Biology; Evolution, Creation and the Organization of Biology; Environmental Regulation and Policy, Structural Basis of Human Disease (through the Dept/Chemistry). Coming soon: Virology; Introduction to Geology.

Close to diverse research, internship and graduate study opportunities: Classes visit research programs at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, or the Museum of Natural History (NYC), or the New York Botanical Garden, or the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. Greater Philadelphia has a large pharmaceutical industry, including GlaxoKlineSmith, DuPont, Cepahlon, AstraZeneca, Wyeth/Pfizer, Centocor, and many smaller firms. We are within 30 min to major research and teaching hospitals such as Thomas Jefferson Univ. Hospital, the Hospital of the Univ. of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,Temple University Hospital, and within an hour of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cooper University Hospital and Christiana Hospital, as well as numerous smaller hospitals and schools. The “seven county” area has more than 90 colleges and universities (more than Boston!), many with opportunities for undergraduate biology internships, research libraries Eastern students can use, and strong graduate programs in the sciences and/or medicine.  

Examples of Internships: Internships have been as diverse as the career goals of our students. For example, lab- and medically-oriented students have done internships at hospitals in the Thomas Jefferson Health System, at Fox Chase Cancer Center, at the Pennsylvania State University Medical College, various pharmaceutical companies, and in public health programs in Philadelphia and Angola, Belize and Bolivia. Students aiming toward work in field biology or sustainable development have done internships such as with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, Chincoteague Natl. Wildlife Refuge (VA), Jenkins Arboretum (PA), the Institute for Tropical Studies (Costa Rica), the Philadelphia Zoo, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the New Jersey Aquarium (Camden), Cape Henlopen State Park (DE), Sequoia Natl. Park (CA), and sustainable agriculture research in Mexico, Haiti, Rwanda and Belize.

Off-campus Programs and the Au Sable Institute: Sixty Christian colleges and universities partner in offering high quality field courses in May term and Summer I and II, at locations in northern Michigan, Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Costa Rica and India. Eastern was a founding member: courses taken at Au Sable are directly credited through Eastern. Sample courses: Aquatic Biology, Alpine Ecology, Marine Biology (in the Pacific), Marine Mammals, Conservation Biology, Tropical Agriculture and Missions, Ecological Agriculture, International Development and Environmental Sustainability.

International Programs (Spanish and Biology): Students with Spanish competency equivalent to two years of college Spanish or better can study abroad at Universidad de las Americas - Puebla, Mexico, one of the best schools in Latin America for laboratory biology, chemistry and medicine. Students interested in ecology and tropical biology can study abroad in the Quetzal Education and Research Center (QERC) in Costa Rica; QERC facilitates testing for Spanish competency level, and students can receive credits for reaching basic competency, or progressing from an earlier level. The Latin American Studies Program in Costa Rica offers a Tropical Ecology track Spring semesters, combining field biology with greater depth in Spanish instruction, a 3rd study abroad option. Coming soon on Eastern’s campus: Concepts of Health and Sickness in the Hispanic World, taught through the Spanish program, and including basic medical Spanish for the clinic.

International Programs and the Creation Care Study Program: Eastern helped found this program, offering study abroad Fall or Spring semesters in Belize, New Zealand or British Columbia. Courses, all built around the theme of environmental sustainability, fulfill core requirements in Humanities and Social Sciences for science majors, as well as providing a field biology elective. Internships are available in Belize.

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