Two students using equipment for an environmental science project
Home Academics Schools Department of Biology and Environmental Science Environmental Science Major

Environmental Science Major

Explore connections to the natural world

When you major in environmental science, you’ll be part of a program that combines courses from biology and chemistry. Your environmental science degree prepares you for immediate employment in the field or for graduate programs in areas such as environmental engineering, ecology and resource conservation.

What to Expect

47-50 credit hours of courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics

Experiences inside and outside of the lab that will help prepare you for your future career


You’ll take a variety of core classes covering biology, ecology, general chemistry, principles of environmental science, and more. Then you can develop depth in any area of interest through upper-level classes and research.

Introduction to Environmental Sciences

Introduces basic biological concepts and applies them to help students understand the causes and solutions of environmental problems.

Principles of Environmental Sciences

An exploration of basic biological, chemical, geological, and physical processes at work on the earth, its lifeforms, and its natural resources.

Natural Resource & Environmental Law

This course will provide an overview of federal and state laws that are aimed at the conservation of natural resources and/or protection of environmental quality.

The class where I felt I was first part of my major was Principles of Environmental Science with Dr. Kreps as this is really where I go to learn the “meat” of my major. It gave me my first real taste for field work which is why I chose a career where I am doing field work and out meeting and talking with farmers.

Rachel Winter ’18, Environmental Science Major

Required Courses Meet the Faculty

Students examining lizard in forest

Wildlife Biology Minor

The wildlife biology minor allows students wanting the breadth of the biology or environmental science major to also focus in areas of wildlife biology and management.

Learn more

Two boats filled with students on a lake between mountains.

Program Highlight

Smithsonian-Mason Semester for Conservation Studies

Bridgewater College is a member institution of the Smithsonian-Mason Semester, which is run by George Mason University out of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va.

In this program, students live on the SCBI campus and learn about the theory and application of conservation biology (including the social, political and economic dimensions).

Students participate in one of two 16 credit hour programs: Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices or Applied Conservation Strategies (for any student interested in conservation). Interested students should visit the program’s website and contact the biology department or the coordinator of international education. Both programs are appropriate for juniors and seniors. There are no specific prerequisite classes for the Applied Conservation Strategies. That program is open to all majors. The Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices semester has Ecology (BIOL-350) as a prerequisite.

Learn how you can afford to study away with study away scholarships.



Pursue careers in conservation, earth science, environmental consulting, government, teaching, water and wastewater technology and more.

  • Environmental Scientist
  • Conservation Technical Assistant
  • Science Teacher
  • Natural resource manager
  • Environmental consultant
  • Water conservationist
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Agricultural scientist
  • Zoologist & wildlife biologist
  • Geological technician

Chart your path

Learn more about career paths, employment and advancement in the field of environmental science from the National Association of Environmental Professionals.

You can participate in environmentally-related internships in a variety of settings, including:

  • Local industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Harrisonburg/Rockingham Regional Water and Sewer Authority
  • District offices of the U.S. Forest Service
  • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Regional environmental consulting companies

Similar Programs
Consider double majoring, adding a minor, or focusing on a certain area of study.

Questions? Contact Us!

Dr. Robyn A. Puffenbarger, Department Chair