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Environmental Science Program

Boehm Science Center
Kutztown, PA 19530

T: 610-683-4442

E: palkendo@kutztown.edu

Environmental Science

The Environmental Science Program is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to graduate as environmental scientists with the skills needed to assist society in understanding and addressing complex environmental challenges.

Students graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Science from Kutztown University are:

  • able to execute field and laboratory investigations based on sound scientific principles and techniques, with care and attention to detail.

  • able to choose appropriate techniques for the collection, analysis, and presentation of quantitative, spatial, and temporal data.

  • able to work as an integral member of a multidisciplinary team to apply knowledge of the complex interactions between physical and biological realms, draw conclusions, and develop action plans.

  • able to effectively communicate a position using data and logical reasoning in appropriate written and oral formats.

Are these skills that you have and want to polish?  Are they skills you would like to acquire? There has never been a better time to pursue a degree, and a career, in the environmental sciences. Employment opportunities for trained environmental professionals are growing as fast as our need for innovative solutions to immediate and future environmental problems.

Students graduating from the KU Environmental Science Program apply their skills in a variety of settings.  Graduates have been very successful in obtaining environmental positions working for a variety of public and private-sector organizations including the PA and NJ Departments of Environmental Protection, PA Dept of Agriculture, Ohio Public Interest Research Group, Suburban Testing Labs, Clean Harbors Environmental, and the U.S. Department of Labor-Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Starting salaries for all positions in the Earth and Environmental Science fields average $40,000/year and the median annual salary for all Earth and Environmental Scientists is ~$89,000.

Many of our students do not go immediately into the workforce, but instead pursue graduate degrees (both M.S. and Ph.D.). The interdisciplinary nature of the Environmental Science degree prepares students for graduate work in a variety of disciplines including Agronomy, Environmental Management, Marine Ecology, Environmental Pollution Control, Applied Ecology, Soil Science, and Carbon Sequestration.  Our graduates have received graduate degrees from institutions such as the University of Nevada – Reno, Oklahoma State University, Penn State University, the University of Miami, Frostburg State University, Central Michigan University, and Virginia Tech.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science requires students to take introductory coursework in Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Geography and then pursue a track of interest.

  • Biology Track

    Students enrolled in the biology-track focus on additional upper-division courses that develop field and laboratory skills as well as additional knowledge of plants, animals, and ecosystems. This prepares them for careers that focus on conservation, restoration, and preservation of natural environments.

    Biology Track Requirements & Example 4-Year Schedule

  • Chemistry Track

    Students enrolled in the chemistry-track focus on additional upper-division courses that develop laboratory and instrumentation skills as well as additional knowledge of key chemical priniciples and their applications.  This prepares them well for careers that focus on the analysis of environmental pollutants in a wide variety of matrices.

    Chemistry Track Requirements & Example 4-Year Schedule

  • Geology Track

    Students enrolled in the geology-track focus on additional upper-division courses that develop field and instrumentation skills as well as additional knowledge of physical earth systems.  This prepares them well for careers focused on environmental health, contaminant remediation, and natural resource availability.

    Geology Track Requirements & Example 4-Year Schedule

  • Geography Track

    Students enrolled in the geography-track focus on additional upper-division courses that develop computational and spatial analysis skills as well as additional knowledge of planning, mapping, weather, and climate. This prepares them well for careers in planning, development, and data organization and management.

    Geography Track Requirements & Example 4-Year Schedule

Environmental Science Core Classes
fallen moss covered tree with students working in field in background
fallen moss covered tree with students working in field in background

ENV 100 - Introduction to Environmental Science

A team-taught introduction to environmental problems and their potential solutions. Lecture and laboratory work are supplemented by field trips.

students standing on a waste coal pile with cloudy skies
students standing on a waste coal pile with cloudy skies

ENV 210 - Environmental Geology

A study of the relationship between humans and our planet. Problems that society faces in using the earth are examined, including case histories of natural disasters and human interactions with earth materials. Geo-chemical cycles, geological materials, and land use will be examined as they relate to environmental quality.

centrifuge tubes showing red and yellow solutions on top layer separated from solids
centrifuge tubes showing red and yellow solutions on top layer separated from solids

ENV 220 - Environmental Analysis

Qualitative and quantitative methods of analytical chemistry are explored by utilizing a "hands-on" approach applied to a variety of environmental samples. The course focuses on the basic components of each analytical technique or instrument, their range of environmental applications, their advantages and limitations, and the physical and chemical phenomena which form the basis of the analytical method. Basic sampling plans and designs are also discussed due to their complementary nature.

caranations in Erlenmeyer flasks in foreground with student wearing glasses working at laptop
caranations in Erlenmeyer flasks in foreground with student wearing glasses working at laptop

ENV 222 - Environmental Biology

An introduction to the causes and symptoms of environmental deterioration. The effect of ecological perturbations on ecosystems especially the biota. Field experiences are an integral part of the course.

students taking measurements and recording data in notebooks in the sunlight with tall grasses
students taking measurements and recording data in notebooks in the sunlight with tall grasses

GEG 274 - Introduction to GIS

Geographic information systems (GIS) are a major tool for the analysis of spatial data. This course introduces the student to the theoretical, conceptual and practical aspects of the collection, storage, analysis and display of spatial data. The applications of GIS by geographers, educators, scientists, planners, and businessmen to real-world problems will be emphasized.

many students working in a stream bed
many students working in a stream bed

ENV 380 - Senior Seminar in Environmental Science

An interdisciplinary seminar devoted to the analysis of selected environmental problems.

Quotation Mark

"Environmental Science majors want to be in the experience, not just viewing it from a classroom."

-Drew Labenberg Junior Environmental Science-Geography Track major
What do students "do" as an environmental science major?
student wearing a gray jacket, jeans and white KU cap counting plants in a field margin square with students looking on in background
student wearing a gray jacket, jeans and white KU cap counting plants in a field margin square with students looking on in background

Field Margins Lab in ENV100

Students record the arrival of spring ephemeral flowers as evidence of undisturbed soils.

student wearing gray t-shirt using a ruler to measure plant on a lab bench topth soil pit in background
student wearing gray t-shirt using a ruler to measure plant on a lab bench topth soil pit in background

Plant Lab in BIO232

Students measure and key out plant specimens in the lab.

student wearing red sweatshirt and orange cap looking through Monsell soil chart with soil pit in background
student wearing red sweatshirt and orange cap looking through Monsell soil chart with soil pit in background

Ag Soils Lab in ENV100

Students learn about different soil types, their components, and how healthy soils support our society.

chopping apples and putting into a blender on a lab benchtop
chopping apples and putting into a blender on a lab benchtop

Pesticide in Fruit Lab in ENV100 or ENV220

Students learn sample preparation techniques and test fruits for pesticide residues.

students hiking up a small footpath on the side of a grassy, rocky mountain
students hiking up a small footpath on the side of a grassy, rocky mountain

Field Trip to Lehigh Gap in ENV100

Students learn about environmental pollutants, site remediation, and site restoration in the field.

students wading in stream with nets and students standing on side of stream with notebooks
students wading in stream with nets and students standing on side of stream with notebooks

Watershed Lab in ENV100

Students find and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates to assess the health of a stream.

students in orange vest picking up trash along a road
students in orange vest picking up trash along a road

Trash Clean-Up Lab in ENV100

Students engage in environmental cleanups and learn about how society manages waste.

student standing at computer controlling a Flame AA spectrometerp trash along a road
student standing at computer controlling a Flame AA spectrometerp trash along a road

Hands-on instrumentation work in ENV220

Students learn to use a variety of instruments in the analytical chemistry lab.

Quotation Mark

"People in this Program have a strong desire to make a positive change."

-Dillion James Junior Environmental Science-Chemistry Track major

Student Learning Outcomes

  • BS in Environmental Science
    1. Students completing the B.S. in Environmental Science degree will be able to execute field and laboratory investigations based on sound scientific principals and techniques, with care and attention to detail.
    2. Students completing the B.S. in Environmental Science degree will be able to effectively communicate a position using data and logical reasoning in appropriate written and oral formats.
    3. Students completing the B.S. in Environmental Science degree will be able to work as an integral member of a multidisciplinary team to apply knowledge of the complex interactions between physical and biological realms, draw conclusions, and develop action plans.
    4. Students upon completing the B.S. in Environmental Science degree will be able to choose appropriate techniques for the collection, analysis, and presentation of quantitative, spatial, and temporal data.

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