Environmental Science

Imagine a classroom complete with animals, trees, lakes, streams, and rivers and-no walls. Now picture yourself in an environmental science classroom at Wells College.
Kayaking and learning
Students exploring Cayuga Lake
Apple picking
Scientific instruments

Here, our classrooms are intimately linked to the spectacular natural setting that surrounds the Wells campus, allowing for a sense of place as well as an appreciation of both nature's awesome beauty and its impact upon the human experience. It's a perfect setting in which to examine the earth, its ecosystems, environmental problems and environmental problem-solving from a viewpoint that emphasizes a scientific approach as a key component of effective environmental stewardship.

Available as a major or a minor. Off-campus study courses may substitute for some of the requirements.

Internships and Study Abroad

Environmental Science majors experience a wealth of hands-on learning in surroundings areas, including Cayuga Lake. Many also choose internships with direct environmental contact or discover government and private sector positions involving policy, values, and scientific research. Wells alumnae who are established leaders in their fields often provide internship opportunities for current students. The following is a sample of internships recently held by environmental science students at Wells:

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

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. Wells makes it possible. Environmental Science majors can pursue fascinating programs across the country and around the world – Check out our off-campus study programs.

Co-Curricular Opportunities

Develop your scientific interests further with out-of-the-classroom opportunities for learning and fun! Use your understanding of ethics and responsible 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 Inclusive and Intercultural Excellence
  • Wells Greens

"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
sustainability perpectives series logo
The Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment presents a Sustainability Perspectives Series talk featuring Bruce Natale, P.E., Environmental Engineer with Cayuga County Planning and Economic...
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Program Faculty
Niamh O'Leary
Professor of Environmental Science
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.


Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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