The B.S. in Environmental Science is the only undergraduate degree at Penn State that uses the studies of biology, chemistry, and geoscience to examine the human-earth interface. The program trains you to understand environmental processes, to analyze and solve environmental problems, and to communicate to other scientists and the public the impacts of using the planet’s energy and natural resources.
Two options within the major can tailor the degree to your career interests. The Environmental Field Studies option adds a concentration in field biology, geographic information systems, and environmental geoscience, while the Environmental Lab Science option emphasizes analytical chemistry and geochemistry. Further specialization is possible by adding a minor in a related area such as biology, chemistry, statistics or sustainability leadership
Increasing awareness of resource issues means the number of employers hiring environmental scientists has expanded to include government agencies, nonprofit and advocacy groups, NGOs, consultancies, educators, and industry. This diversity helps protect against cyclical employment trends.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that over the next twenty years the number of jobs for environmental scientists will grow almost three times as fast as the average for all occupations. This increase will be driven by population growth and its concurrent need for water, energy, and mineral resources. A recent BLS report found that the median salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $63,570.
In Pennsylvania, the Department of Labor projects job growth of 9 percent during this decade. The number of predicted environmental science job openings is fourth highest among the nineteen life and physical science occupations the department tracks.