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Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Union College's environmental science major is all about educating people, who then go on to educate other people and thereby protect our planet.

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Here, you will find a wide range of integrated courses that address the scientific aspect of key environmental problems at the intersection of biology, chemistry, physics and the geosciences. With related courses in engineering and environmental policy, you will learn to appreciate the challenge of finding environmental solutions that will work in the modern world. Areas of concentration include: ecology; environmental geosciences; energy and environmental physics; and environmental engineering and technology.

"I fell in love with how passionate my teachers are and how they emphasize getting out, serving the trees, serving streams, serving the land and being as hands-on as possible.”
- Annie Nelson

All students take a common introductory course, a core of between eight and 11 required courses, and four-to-six courses that define an area of concentration. During the senior year, students typically complete two terms of independent research and participate in a senior seminar. Our students also regularly take part in Union’s annual campus-wide research day, the Steinmetz Symposium, through oral and poster presentations.

Special learning opportunities

One of the most distinctive aspects of studying environmental sciences at Union is our wonderful mix of field programs, which run the gamut from understanding geothermal power in Iceland and evaluating Atlantic fisheries to studying biodiversity in the Great Barrier Reef.

Back home, the Union community comes together around many sustainability efforts. Among them are Octopus’s Garden, an organic community garden that provides produce for the campus; organic café and the local community; the annual trash audit; and an energy conservation competition.

Careers

As an environmental science major, you will be well prepared to pursue a career in many different fields – not only science, but medicine, law, journalism, government and much more.

Careers by field:

Life at Union outcomes graphic

Meet some of our faculty


Mohammad Mafi

Mohammad Mafi

Professor of engineering
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Special interests: Green building, engineering mechanics, biomechanics

Jennifer Bishop

Jennifer Bishop

Senior Lecturer, biological sciences
Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Special interests: Migratory birds of the Albany Pine Bush, southeastern bottomland forests and the Bahamas

John Garver

John Garver

Professor of geology
Ph.D., University of Washington
Special interests: Tectonics, sedimentation, Mohawk river, landslides, ice jams

Michael Hagerman

Michael Hagerman

Professor of chemistry
Ph.D., Northwestern University
Special interests: Inorganic and materials chemistry applied to the synthesis of inorganic and organic nanocomposites

After Union


Anesthesiologist, Maimonides Medical Center

Veterinarian, Valley Animal Hospital

Assistant district attorney, Bronx County

Medical writer, Yale New Haven Hospital

Biocoustician, Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Marine habitat research specialist, National Marine Fisheries Service

Life at Union outcomes graphic