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New B.S. in Environmental Science and Sustainability will prepare 21st century leaders

Published: August 10, 2021 Author: Lori Bauer

Ohio University's new Environmental Science and Sustainability degree will empower students to discover knowledge in a hands-on learning environment that reaches across disciplines, preparing them to tackle global problems at national and local scales.

"Knowledge of sustainability is critical to preparing our graduates to solve problems that affect our daily lives as well as our future, including environmental issues, the effects of human actions, and the public policies and regulations that influence those actions," said Dr. Sarah Wyatt, professor of Environmental & Plant Biology and director of Molecular & Cellular Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Environmental Science and Sustainability is an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree that provides scientific knowledge of the natural world, the living organisms that inhabit it, and the social sciences at the core of sustainability. Courses will examine:

  • Biological and ecological systems.
  • Global warming and effects of climate change.
  • Land use and water management.
  • Sustainability from different perspectives, from local issues in Appalachia to problems at the global level.

"The program is unique in its multi-disciplinary approach, drawing major requirements and electives from courses and expertise in 10 departments and programs across the College of Arts & Sciences, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, and the College of Business," Wyatt noted. "Students complete a core curriculum for a broad foundation in environmental science and sustainability issues, and they complete the major by choosing electives from a variety of disciplines, allowing them to tailor the program to their individual interests."

Students who pursue this degree will be prepared for careers in environmental resource management, governmental and non-governmental agencies, companies committed to being socially responsible, and a wide range of roles in science, as well as public policy. Besides providing core science skills, the multi-disciplinary focus of the program offers flexibility in exploring sustainable initiatives in business and entrepreneurship.

"We've designed this new major to be very accessible to students interested in the environment, providing a wide range of electives to meet individual interests," Wyatt said. "It is also very transfer-friendly."

The degree will also prepare students for graduate studies, particularly in areas related to environmental law or the Master of Science in Environmental Studies at Ohio University.

"Many faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences already emphasize environmental issues in their research as well as their courses,” said Dr. Florenz Plassmann, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The new degree channels that expertise into a major that directly addresses our students' concerns about the environment from the perspectives of science as well as social responsibility.”

Other majors with an environmental focus currently offered within the college include: