Environmental science majors are at the forefront of the critical efforts needed to identify and control threats to our biosphere, ecosystems, and human health. They accomplish this by using skills and knowledge from multiple disciplines that allow them to work with businesses, industry, government, communities, and individuals on issues that affect the natural environment and therefore the quality of life for humanity.
Because of its five physiographic regions and extensive river systems and watersheds, Alabama is one of the most biodiverse states in the United States. At the same time, it has a long history of mining, heavy industry, forestry, and farming that continues into the present day. This dual reality makes Alabama an excellent place to study environmental science from a variety of perspectives. From the conservation of the Watercress Darter, the effects of water quality on public health, application of environmental law, to the development and defense of conservation policies such as Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Samford University’s Environmental Science major offers access to the many intersections between human activity and the natural world.
Objectives & Goals
- Identify environmental issues derived from and affecting human civilization and the natural world.
- Evaluate environmental theories, and ideas using knowledge, methods, and principles from multiple disciplines.
- Apply the theory, principles, and skills of environmental science to address existing environmental challenges.
Is This Program for Me?
Successful students in the Environmental Science program at Samford University possess the personality traits of a successful student in any discipline: curious mind, a drive to learn, and a motivation to do well. We want students interested in thinking broadly (multidisciplinary) and deeply (specialization in one of our three tracks). The program is designed to give the student a solid scientific and philosophical background so when they form their concrete career goals in their junior and senior years, students will have the necessary tools to pursue those goals.
Those who aren't ready to commit to a full degree program have the option of earning our all-online, 12 hour graduate certificates in environmental management and geographic information systems (GIS). The certificates offer valuable professional development on their own, and their credit hours can be applied toward the MSEM degree if students are later accepted into that program.
What Makes Us Different?
Samford's environmental science major is distinguished by:
- Flexibility: The program has three tracks to choose from to support a variety of student interests and career goals, including conservation/stewardship, public/occupational health, and policy.
- Small (< 24) class size allows for personal attention and relationship building with fellow students and faculty.
- Research opportunities: At least half of the departmental faculty conduct environmental science related research. Samford actively and enthusiastically supports undergraduate researchers.
- Presence of a graduate program in environmental management allows access to graduate level environmental science courses.
- Certificate opportunities such as a certificate in GIS from the geography department. Excellent general education program for all Samford students (#1 in Alabama).
A degree in environmental science prepares you for a variety of career paths in science-related fields and beyond. There is a growing job market in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields that provides greater opportunities for those who wish to pursue a career in the sciences or research. In our coursework and hands-on lab experiences, our students learn to conduct research, design experiments, and gather and analyze data, key competencies for any scientific career. Our coursework also introduces students to skills such as leadership and time management. Our graduates are employed in healthcare, sales, industry, and education. Some of our students choose to pursue graduate studies in research, medicine, biotechnology, and law.
Environmental science students also pursue careers outside traditional science fields. Our curriculum is flexible and allows you to choose from three tracks to broaden your skill set. Our students learn to work in a collaborative environment, evaluate and communicate information about complex biological questions, think critically and ethically, and solve complex problems. These are transferable skills that employers say they want most. This foundation can lead to careers in investment banking, sales, business development, the arts, marketing and communication, government, and much more.
Environmental Science majors can enter into multiple professions in Private Industry, Health, Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Academia. Some of these are: Environmental Law, Environmental Consultant, Regulatory Compliance Officer, Industrial Hygiene Manager, Hydrologist, Environmental Engineer, GIS Analyst, Wastewater Manager, Public Health, State Epidemiologist, Policy Advisor, Health Educator, Project Manager, Fire Management Specialist, Land Use Planner, Water Quality Specialist, Watershed Coordinator, University Professor, Teacher, Environmental Advocate, and Landscape architect.
Environmental science majors from Samford University have the opportunity to participate in many available internships. Some notable examples were internships in:
- Environmental education for the Woodlawn High School Early College Program via Jones Valley Teaching Farm (non-profit)
- Sustainable agriculture on a private farm in Alaska via Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF) (non-profit)
- Policy and Public Health with the Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP) (non-profit)