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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 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. 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, the B.S. in Environmental Science is strongly interdisciplinary, taking you into more traditional and non-traditional disciplines than any other majors at Bethel. The major 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 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

You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the R.E.A.L. Experience—a program specifically designed to help you gain the relevant, hands-on experience employers desire—so that when you graduate, you’ll be as impressive in practice as you are on paper.

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.

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.

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