Environmental science focuses on the identification and solution of environmental problems and on moving our society toward environmentally sustainable patterns of living. An interdisciplinary core set of courses will introduce you to scientific, political, ethical, and historical perspectives on the environment. The major provides a foundation for specifically focused graduate study as well as careers in many different sectors of our society depending on your interests and which curriculum options you choose. At Bethel, we provide both a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Science, so there’s a place for those interested in a more scientific approach and those who aren’t. This dual offering is unusual in a liberal arts university like ours. Environmental Science is designed for those with a passion for creation stewardship and who would like to put their skills to work in a science-oriented career such as conservation biology, outdoor education, wildlife management, water resources, or park management.
Why should I study Environmental Science?
Perhaps more than any other program at Bethel, Environmental Science is strongly interdisciplinary, taking you into more traditional and non-traditional disciplines than any other majors at Bethel. The interdisciplinary nature of Environmental Science reflects the complexity and interconnectedness of human interaction with the environment, which we cannot hope to understand without a multi-directional approach.
We also maintain a strong evangelical foundation by discussing in every course how our Christian worldview affects our attitudes and actions toward our environment.
Students in our upper-level courses enjoy small class sizes that lend themselves to cooperative learning, small group collaborative projects, access to state-of-the-art equipment, and field work in local and even distant lakes, streams, woods, and prairies.
You’ll also have the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty member so you’re prepared for further study if you choose.
We also highly value teacher effectiveness and student learning, and we do both in the most optimal ways.
What can I do with this degree?
- Conservation biology
- Natural resource monitoring and protection
- Ecological restoration
- Renewable energy
- Aquatic system quality
- Resource recovery
- Wildlife biology
- Park/preserve management
- Water treatment
Actual jobs held by Bethel’s Environmental Studies/Science graduates include:
- Aquatic specialist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Zoology data specialist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
- Fisheries specialist with the Minnesota DNR
- Manager of environmental education at the Oregon Zoo
- Hydrologic technician at the U.S. Geological Survey
- Education outreach director at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
- Naturalist at the Wood Lake Nature Center
What skills will I develop?
- Asking and answering challenging questions
- Observational skills
- Critical thinking
- Quantifying data
- Presenting ideas both in writing and orally
- How to test water quality
- How to monitor bird and mammal populations
- How to use Geographic Information System software
- How to think holistically from an interdisciplinary approach
- Writing and research in environmental studies fields
- How to live sustainably in a complex world
What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?
Practical internships with local and national private and governmental environmental organizations and businesses. Bethel students have interned at places like:
- International Wolf Center
- Minnesota Zoo
- Science Museum of Minnesota
- Minnesota History Center
- U.S. Forest Service
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
- Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Restoring Eden
- Minnesota DNR
- Boundary Waters Experience
- McNeely Conservatory
- Sierra Club
Independent research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor, from wildlife surveys of local wetlands and natural areas to analyses of inner-city access to locally grown foods, to strategies for controlling invasive plant species.
Access to the outstanding Creation Care Study Programs in Belize and New Zealand; and the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in the north woods, Costa Rica, and India, and on the Pacific coast.
Participation in the Creation Restoration club, one of the most active student organizations on campus, that carries out a variety of educational and campus stewardship activities. This club attracts students from all majors.
0 National Chapter Excellence awards and 1 Outstanding Chapter award for Bethel’s Tri Beta Honor Society chapter and 4-time recipient of the Founders Cup, awarded for chapter excellence by the Sigma Zeta National Honor Society
0 acres of on-campus outdoor laboratories
MAR 4 2017
Minnesota high school students competing for the state title.
MAY 6 2017
4:30 p.m. Bethel University
Alumni can hear updates on the department as well as what current students are researching
My favorite part of Environmental Studies courses was hands-on lab experience outside, connecting classroom learning to nature. Creation Restoration was a great way to put our coursework into practice on campus. Bethel's Environmental Studies program equipped me to steward Creation.David Petry '13
Grad School: M.S. in Biological Sciences at Eastern Illinois University
My foundational education at Bethel really influenced my choice to pursue academic medicine instead of just clinical care. I’m so appreciative of the professors and their gift of incredible dedication to their students, while always giving God the glory!Jonathan Eliason '92
Current Job: S. Martin Lindenauer Collegiate Professor of Vascular Surgery; Co-Director, CVC-Multidisciplinary Aortic Program; Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Michigan
The biology department was integral in getting me where I am today. It provided research opportunities, unique experiences such as interim in the Galapagos Islands/Amazon Rainforest/Ecuador, personal relationships with professors, and the academic foundation to smoothly transition to medical school.Nate Paulson '10
Currently: University of Virginia Anesthesiology Resident; received M.D. from University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine
The people at Bethel helped me determine the kind of person I wanted to be, before I knew what kind of doctor I would be. Bethel’s influence is essential to my work as a future physician and follower of Jesus.Brett Einerson '06
Current Job: Resident Physician at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
The Environmental Studies program prepared me as a well-rounded student. I gained the field skills to study ecology, and also the ethical perspectives behind environmental stewardship. The professors are knowledgeable and passionate, which is passed on to their students.David Petry '13
Grad School: M.S. in Biological Sciences at Eastern Illinois University
While working with the Conservation Corps, I found that Bethel's Environmental Studies program gave me a lot more experience and made me more well-rounded than many of the other environmental studies students.Kevin Berens '13
Current job: Park Overseer, Parks and Trails Division of Minnesota DNR