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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 of courses will equip you with a strong foundation in the biological sciences and 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.

Why should I study environmental science?

The B.S. in Environmental Science is built on partnerships with both other disciplines at Bethel and with Au Sable Institute. Both will build on the core foundation of ecology and biology you will gain in Bethel's biology department, and both provide an opportunity to take a variety of courses both on and off campus—all while potentially completing the major in three years. This major reflects the complexity and interconnectedness of human interaction with the environment, which we cannot hope to understand without a multi-directional approach.

In every course, we maintain a strong evangelical foundation by discussing how our Christian worldview affects our attitudes and actions toward our environment. You'll be able to learn through integrative experiences during a summer at Au Sable Institute, which will allow for interaction with faculty and students from a diverse set of Christian universities across the United States and Canada and help you to develop a deeper understanding of our roles as Christians within creation.

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 fieldwork 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 or pursue an internship in an area of interest to build on your understanding of potential career opportunities.

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 Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in the north woods, Costa Rica, and India, and on the Pacific coast.

An opportunity to study abroad during January in Ecuador, exploring the human impacts on tropical ecosystems including rainforest, cloud forest, and the Galapagos Islands.

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.