Environmental Science (AS, BS)

USF Student Emily in the green house looking at a succulent plant.

See the World & Save the World

Why study environmental science?

If you’re passionate about the planet, you might enjoy a career dedicated to solving some of its biggest challenges — and making it a better place to live.

Job opportunities in environmental science and technology are rapidly growing, especially in the areas of protection, remediation, and food and agriculture.The increased interest in sustainability has even led to the introduction of subfields and positions that didn’t exist a decade ago.

To prepare for rewarding and meaningful work in conservation and sustainability, major in environmental science to build the scientific foundation and practical skills you’ll need.

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Career Outlook & Success


Of our Environmental Science students find jobs in the field or enter graduate school


Average annual salary for an environmental remediation engineer in Indiana, 2019 (Zippia)


Expected career growth -- faster than average -- for environmental science and protection technicians (BLS)

Why USF for Environmental Science?

During your first year as an environmental science major, you’ll head into the woods, tap a maple tree, cook the sap and process maple sugar. This is both delicious and an indication of the active learning you’ll experience throughout your time at the University of Saint Francis.

Broaden your knowledge, expand your skills and become more marketable for a range of environmental science and technology careers with one of three concentrations:

Conservation Biology: If you’ve been looking for a sustainability major, our concentration in conservation biology may be ideal for you. You’ll spend plenty of time outdoors learning about Planet Earth: plant  life, wildlife, endangered species and water management practices.

Sustainable Food Systems: With a focus on urban agriculture, this concentration focuses on cultivating sustainable practices. You’ll visit local farms and manufacturers to learn about cutting-edge operations, and you’ll learn even more when you intern in this growing field.

Liberal Arts: This concentration gives you a broader look at environmental science; you’ll explore health, safety, and legal issues, such as the impact of pollution. Your final project will give you a chance to tackle a real-world problem affecting our community.

Hands-On Learning: The World is Your Classroom

As you prepare for careers in conservation, compliance, sustainability or environmental science and technology at USF, you will have the opportunity to:

Create and Innovate with Project-Based Classes
Environmental science majors at USF have built rain gardens and bird gardens. They’ve created nature trails, written trail guides and led hikes.

Participate in Field Research in the U.S. and Beyond
Travel with professors, assist with on-going research and explore a range of habitats and wildlife species on study trips to places like Costa Rica, Colorado, Arizona and Utah — and the northern Rockies and southern Appalachians.

Gain Professional Experience While Gaining Credit
We’ll help you find an internship site (or two) that matches your career interests! In fact, many regional environmental companies seek out USF students to fill internship positions. A few recent notable sites include:

  • Steel Dynamics
  • Thomas More College Biology Field Station
  • Fort Wayne Metals
  • Indiana State Park
  • Omnisource
  • Eagle Marsh/Little River Wetlands Project
USF student looking through a microscope.

Nearby Nature

From old growth forests to bendy, glacier-carved waterways, our region of Indiana is home to diverse flora, fauna and landscapes. While you’re at USF, you’ll have a chance to venture out into woodlands, wetlands, and other nearby natural areas, such as Lindenwood Nature Preserve, Mengerson Nature Reserve, Fox Island County Park, Eagle Marsh and Spring Lake Woods and Bog.

Faculty & Facilities

Our faculty members are active researchers in a range of environmental science areas; not only do they share their knowledge and experiences with our students in the classroom, but they also give our students plenty of chances to assist with their research.

The Achatz Hall of Science was designed with a respect for creation in mind — green and sustainable. You will find state-of-the-art science and ecology labs on campus, and you’ll also discover our vibrant greenhouse and restored prairie, both of which give you plenty of opportunity for hands-on learning.

Campus and Community Involvement

Organize Earth Day events. Build brush piles for wildlife. Restore native grasses to our oak savanna. Work in our campus greenhouse. These are just a few of the educational and awareness events you can be part of when you join the USF Eco Club, a student organization that focuses on environmental issues on campus and in the local community.

My internship experience at SevenGen has given me exposure to many different aspects of environmental consulting services and added greatly to my education, which I believe has prepared me for a strong future in the environmental field.

Madison Young ’20

Group of environmental science student in the water with scuba gear on in the Bahamas.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Environmental Science?

With an environmental science or sustainability major, you’ll find opportunities ranging from agriculture and government agencies to parks and wildlife management. You might work in a lab, office, or food production setting, or choose to earn your living spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Here are a few example positions that might interest you:

  • Animal care and service workers
  • Naturalists
  • Environmental remediation/clean-up specialists
  • Environmental science compliance inspector
  • Camp directors
  • Conservation land managers
  • Soil and water conservationists
  • Hydrologists
  • Urban foresters
  • Community educators
  • Environmental health and safety specialists
  • Food science technicians

An associate degree in this field can lead to entry-level environmental protection jobs with government agencies, laboratories and consulting firms, as well as for in-demand geological and petroleum technician positions.

Where You’ll Find Our Graduates

USF graduates have found environmental science and technology careers at places such as:

  • ACM Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
  • A&L Great Lakes Laboratory
  • Allen County Department of Health
  • City of Fort Wayne City Utilities
  • Environmental Works
  • Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • Raytheon
  • Science Central
  • SevenGen
  • Texas State Aquarium

In this video, alumnus Justin Hoover shares how his USF experience, including a summer internship at a steel mill, prepared him for graduate school:

Grad School and Other Opportunities

If you have an interest in natural sciences research, public health, or advanced positions in environmental engineering/geoinformation systems (GIS), you might consider pursuing a graduate and doctoral degree. USF alumni who’ve taken that path have gone on to programs such as:

  • Purdue Fort Wayne (Public Affairs)
  • Purdue University (Ph.D. in Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences)
  • Monash University, Australia (marine biology)

The University of Saint Francis also welcomes many alumni back to campus for its related graduate programs, including an MBA with a focus on sustainability.

The work I’m doing now in marine biology is the direct result of my USF research experience. I spent one summer studying river systems in Kentucky and another studying dolphins in Florida. I credit my USF professors, who invited me to participate in their own research and then helped me find opportunities that matched my interests.

Emily Richardson ’14, who went on to earn a Ph.D. at Monash University in Australia

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Academic Plan

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