The degree program in environmental science is an interdisciplinary major overseen by the biology and chemistry departments. This program, like all the best environmental science programs, features both introductory and advanced courses that prepare majors either for immediate employment, or to enter strong graduate programs to pursue advanced degrees in areas of specialization such as environmental engineering, applied ecology, resources conservation and others. This major brings basic sciences to bear upon crucial problems caused by human use and abuse of natural resources.
Course of Study
The applied nature of the field requires students to be well versed in many disciplines. Knowledge of the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics and math) is essential for someone in the field to discover/understand the nature of the problems. Experience with the social sciences (e.g. political science, economics and philosophy) is necessary in order to understand why humans have a negative impact on the environment and to develop effective solutions.
The major prepares students for a wide variety of professions ranging from research in conservation biology to work in government with resource agencies to environmental education and interpretation.
Bridgewater College is conveniently located for the study of environmental science. Classes and research projects have easy access to a variety of ecosystems. Human alterations of the natural landscapes are evident throughout the Shenandoah Valley (e.g. agriculture, rapidly growing towns and cities and industrial production). At the same time, pristine and recovering ecosystems are within a short drive (e.g. Shenandoah National Park, Washington and Jefferson National Forest and Paul State Forest). Additionally, many technical resources and internship opportunities are located nearby. Local/regional offices for the Washington and Jefferson National Forest, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the National Resource Conservation Service are all located within 20-miles.