Environmental Science

Imagine a classroom without walls, complete with animals, trees, lakes, streams, and rivers. Now picture yourself in an environmental science class at Wells College.

Apply your passion for environmental issues in a hands-on undergraduate program that emphasizes a scientific approach to environmental studies and stewardship. In the Environmental Science bachelor's degree program at Wells, you'll learn by doing, taking your studies beyond the classroom and into the forests, lakes, rich natural areas and breathtaking scenery surrounding our small college campus in scenic Aurora, New York. As a graduate of the program, not only will you develop a strong scientific understanding of environmental issues you can apply directly to a wide range of careers, you will also gain a deeper appreciation of nature's awesome beauty and its impact upon the human experience.

Kayaking and learning
Students exploring Cayuga Lake
Scientific instruments

A Look Inside the Environmental Science Bachelor’s Degree Program at Wells

As an environmental science major, you’ll study the earth, its ecosystems, environmental challenges and environmental problem-solving. You’ll work closely with top professors who bring extensive environmental research experience to the classroom while having a variety of opportunities to explore your own interests and conduct field work on Cayuga Lake and the myriad natural areas surrounding Wells' campus. Field experience and research opportunities are also highly career-focused, providing you with knowledge and skills you can apply directly to your job after college or to further study in graduate school. 

The Environmental Science program is available as a major and a minor. Off-campus study courses may substitute for some of the undergraduate program requirements. If you’re interested in environmental studies, you might also want to learn more about our minor in sustainability

What You’ll Learn as an Environmental Science Major

  • How humans interact with the environment and methods to address current environmental challenges
  • How science and technology help us to be better stewards of earth, its ecosystems, and its natural resources
  • How scientific findings are used in our decision-making about environmental resources

Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning in the Environmental Science Bachelor’s Degree Program

Cruise Cayuga Lake on a Floating Classroom, studying water chemistry and lake biology. Or journey into the local fields, farms, and woodlands guided by your professors as part of lab class experiences. One of the unique aspects of our Environmental Science BA program is the wealth of opportunities you have to take your undergraduate education outside of the classroom and around the world.

Internship and Study Abroad Opportunities

We offer internships with direct environmental contact as well as government and private sector positions involving policy, values, and environmental scientific research. Wells alumnae who are established leaders in their fields often provide internship opportunities for current students as well. The following is a sample of internships recently held by environmental science students at Wells: 

  • Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Ithaca, New York
  • Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York
  • Upstate Freshwater Institute, Syracuse, New York
  • Rogers Environmental Interpretation Institute, Sherburne, New York
  • US Forest Service, Gorham, New Hampshire

You can also take your environmental studies overseas. Explore complex ecosystems in Cork, Ireland, while you discover how other countries grapple with environmental phenomena. Focus on tropical biodiversity in Panama or wildlife in Tanzania. Take a summer to explore sustainable development in Costa Rica or explore marine resources on South Caicos Island in the Caribbean. Environmental Science majors can pursue fascinating programs across the country and around the world. Check out our off-campus study programs.

Environmental Science Clubs and Other Aurora Campus Programs

Use your understanding of ethics and responsible environmental policy to make a change for the better – either on campus or in the world at large. Below are just a few clubs and activities that might catch your interest: 

  • FORCES (Friends of Recreation, Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship)
  • Collegiate (student government)
  • Amnesty International
  • Community Court
  • Student Committee on Inclusion and Intercultural Excellence
  • Wells Campus Greens

Related Minor Degree Programs

Wells offers a wide variety of minor degree programs to complement your major area of study. If you’re interested in environmental studies, you might also want to explore minors in:

Career Options for Environmental Science Majors

Environmental scientists are problem solvers who research environmental and health problems to determine causes and recommend solutions. A bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Wells College will open doors to careers in diverse fields, from healthcare to agriculture to industry. Many environmental scientists also work for federal, state, or local governments, conducting research and advising on policy.

Current Research in the Environmental Science BA Program

Professor Schnurr's research investigates responses of plants to differing environmental conditions – from the fates of seeds, to growth and reproduction of adults, and finally to uses of the plants by people, both in disturbed and undisturbed areas. Professor O' Leary’s major interests include sustainable agriculture, water quality, and watershed pollution.

Apply Now to Pursue Your Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science

Take the first step toward earning your bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Wells College. Apply now.

Request More Information 

Ready to learn more about Wells College and our Environmental Science Bachelor of Arts program? Request more information.


"I ask 'what would you like to learn about?' and the students shape their own educational experience."

Jackie Schnurr
Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
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Program Faculty
Jaclyn Schnurr
Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Learn More

Similar to the science majors, the Environmental Science major can be challenging, innovative, and pleasurable. The Center of Sustainability and the Environment holds many workshops and invites guest lecturers to present their work in related fields. Science Colloquium welcomes even more guests to share a great opportunity to get the students out of the classroom and labs. The Cayuga Lake is more than just its scenery—students test PH levels of the water and more while voyaging on the Floating Classroom. Lab time doesn't mean working inside all day, as professors take their classes into local fields and farms and journey through the nearby woods to Wells' own waterfall.


Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

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