B.A. or B.S. in Environmental Science

A degree in environmental science prepares you for a diverse range of potential jobs. Otterbein graduates are employed by government agencies, private sector consultants, nonprofit organizations, the insurance and banking industries as well as in higher education. The Environmental Science major is designed to prepare students for work in a wide range environmental fields by providing a solid foundation in the natural sciences, expertise in physical environment, and the interdisciplinary scope needed by environmental professionals today. This major also positions graduates to pursue specialization through graduate studies. The major includes a core of courses in biology and earth science as well as courses in other fields such as chemistry, physics and statistics. Many environmental science majors complement their degree with a second degree in Sustainability Studies. 

Earth Science Minor
We also offer a minor in Earth Science. This minor provides students an opportunity to explore
the physical earth.  An Earth Science background is particularly important for students interested in ecology, environmental science, and sustainability. See our Biology & Earth Science minors page to learn more.

As an Environmental Science major at Otterbein, you will have a broad training in the foundations of the geological and biological sciences, and then you will have the chance to take specialized courses in more advanced fields that allow you to focus on your interests. You will take classes from dedicated, enthusiastic professors that are gifted teachers, and you will use equipment provided from grants from various organizations and industries to support our innovative teaching initiatives. You will work closely with your professors in small classes and have access to state of the art equipment. You also have access to outdoor research facilities associated with Otterbein Lake at our biggest facility, The Point. There is no doubt you will benefit from our unique science facilities.

Otterbein’s location allows us to teach using the local nature as our lab. The Otterbein campus is adjacent to Alum Creek and Otterbein Lake and it won’t be long before you will be in the creek with Dr. Hoggarth calculating an index of stream health based on the fish and invertebrates that you identify. Otterbein has also drilled an array of groundwater wells adjacent to the stream and Otterbein Lake, and here you will learn from Dr. Svitana how to monitor groundwater flow and how it is possible to model and track the movement of underground pollutants.

Otterbein’s location near Columbus also allows us to have close relationships with governmental agencies and private sector companies located in the capital. Otterbein faculty interact regularly with other environmental professionals, and with these personal connections you are often able to network to obtain internships with agencies like the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio EPA, the Metropolitan Park System, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Geological Survey, Stratford Ecological Center, the National Groundwater Association, as well as several private sector companies.

Our department believes undergraduate research is a cornerstone to our Environmental Science Program. Many of our students do independent research projects of their own choosing or as part of ongoing faculty directed research. Recent student projects in Environmental Science at Otterbein include: the effect of lamprey poison on native freshwater mussels, sediment impacts to invertebrate populations, mangrove deforestation rates in Belize, arsenic bioaccumulation by ferns, road salt impacts to Alum Creek and hydraulic fracturing impacts on groundwater resources. We also encourage you to take field courses such as the trips that we regularly lead to Belize, Costa Rica, Africa, and Death Valley, or to participate in other study abroad opportunities. Recently students studied at locations that included South Africa, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, Iceland, Panama, Ireland, and Switzerland.

Student Learning Outcomes University Learning Goals (KMERI*)
1. Students will be able to define and explain major concepts in the fields of Biology and/or Earth Science. Knowledgeable
2. Students will be able to effectively express scientific concepts and results in oral and written forms. Multi-literate
3. Students will be able to think critically and solve problems by employing the scientific method. Inquisitive
4. Students will develop laboratory and research skills. Engaged
5. Students will be able to work cooperatively while simultaneously becoming strong independent learners. Engaged
6. Students will work safely and efficiently in the laboratory and field. Responsible
7. Students will apply a working knowledge of ethics to their field of study. Responsible

*NOTE: KMERI refers to Otterbein's learning goals. It stands for KnowledgeableMulti-literateEngagedResponsible, and Inquisitive. To learn more about KMERI, visit our University Learning Goals page.