Environmental Science, B.S.

Environmental Science, B.S.

What is an environmental science degree?

Environmental Science BSAs an interdisciplinary academic field, environmental science includes the study and application of ecology, physics, chemistry, geology, atmospheric science, geography, oceanography and natural resource management. Every scientific discipline you can think of has a direct relationship to environmental science because the environment is all around us. Getting an environmental science degree provides a wealth of career opportunities that have global importance.

Students can specialize in coastal engineering, hydrographic engineering, marine vehicles (naval architecture), marine materials and corrosion and underwater technology.

Whether you want to solve complex environmental problems, advocate for environmental protection or become the leader of a nature center or school, an environmental science degree from Florida Tech develops a strong background in science with hands-on experience in environmental research and problem solving.

Gain Practical Experience

Many first year students working towards an environmental science degree build experience by volunteering in faculty research labs, measuring water or soil quality, reviewing permit applications to determine the environmental impacts of new development projects, or studying the impacts of a contaminant on the environment. Working closely with professors in small classes makes classroom study, combined with research projects, a richer experience.

As an environmental science degree student, you'll refine your practical skills in technical electives and specialized labs, completing a senior research project in a topic of your choosing. As a result, you get practical experience, an enhanced job search portfolio and a stronger sense of yourself as a scholar–the perfect preparation for graduate school and employment.

Build Professional Relationships

Beyond the classroom, environmental science degree majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and participation in academic organizations like Sigma Xi (scientific research society), the Marine Technology Society, Student Government and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations. Summer field projects and faculty-based research also enhances the Florida Tech experience.

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Employers that have recruited Florida Tech students for internships and careers include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPCOT, IBM, National Science Foundation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Earn an Advanced Degree

After receiving their environmental science degree, many environmental science majors go to graduate school at universities such as Florida Tech, University of Alaska, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech and Cambridge University (UK).

Why pursue an environmental science degree at Florida Tech?

Florida Tech is considered one of the top environmental science schools for its curriculum and tight-knit educational community. The learning environment is personalized with small classes where first-year students are encouraged to volunteer in any of the research labs. Qualified students are encouraged to participate in relevant research.

Field trips to local waterways, water treatment facilities, air pollution monitoring sites, environmentally sensitive and protected lands, the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean are part of our students' overall experience and what makes Florida Tech one of the top environmental science schools.
Experienced Faculty Dedicated to the Success of Students

The professors are well-versed in current developments in the their own areas of expertise and environmental issues of concern, conducting research in water, air and soil environments. The faculty is made up of environmental scientists, oceanographers, ocean engineers and meteorologists who genuinely care about the success of students. Florida Tech gives students local, regional and global environmental issues to solve such as offshore oil spills, sea-level rise and natural resource management.

Natural Laboratories For Hands-On Study

Perhaps the most important resources are the natural laboratories that surround Florida Tech's campus. Other top environmental science schools can't compete with marine laboratories and field research sites situated on the Atlantic Coast and Indian River Lagoon. The four-acre Vero Beach Marine Laboratory contains a marine laboratory, classrooms and conference room, while the Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center houses vessels for students and faculty to use for teaching and research, with direct access to the Indian River Lagoon.

High-Tech Laboratory Facilities

Another reason Florida Tech is considered one of the top environmental science schools is the high-tech F. W. Olin Life Sciences Building, a teaching and research laboratory that includes an aquaculture facility, climate change institute and the offices and research labs of several science faculty.

Living in the Heart of a Diverse Ecosystem

Other top environmental science schools can't offer the Space Coast, where Florida Tech is located. In addition to the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon, students have access by short car trip to the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness designated as a World Heritage Site. Florida Tech is close to NASA Kennedy Space Center and Orlando theme parks. Students enjoy a wealth of local entertainment options as well as student clubs, intramural sports and social activities.

How will an environmental science degree prepare me for the future?

Florida Tech students have an opportunity to take part in specially designed environmental science internships at several organizations, including:

  • The Audobon Society

  • Marine Resources Council of East Central Florida

  • Save the Manatee

  • Center for Coastal Studies

  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Environmental science internships are real-world work opportunities, often provided by Florida Tech alumni through Career Management Services, in partnership with the degree program advisor.

Research Projects

In addition to environmental science internships, many students build experience by volunteering in faculty research labs. The department of ocean engineering and sciences is an integrated collaboration of environmental scientists, oceanographers, ocean engineers and meteorologists who share a keen interest in preserving, protecting and enhancing natural resources. Current research studies focus on such topics as:

  • Offshore oil spills and Antarctic oil drilling

  • Drinking water resources in Florida

  • Sea-level rise

  • Managing natural resources

Students participating in environmental science internships and research have access to high-tech marine and environmental systems laboratories. These facilities have instrumentation that can be used for core-boring and sediment analysis, beach surveying, the measurement and analysis of water quality, the processes of fouling by marine organisms and saltwater corrosion and more.

Field Research

Students also participate in field research projects at locations across Florida. Because of Florida Tech's location near several important and complex ecosystems, students can obtain experience conducting research at nearby environmental hubs.

Topics for these projects include:

  • Human impact on water quality

  • Human impact on air quality

  • Ecological surveys

  • Effects of local weather on ecosystems

Through these environmental science internships and studies at locations such as the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean, students gain the experience to present a project at the Field Projects Symposium at the end of summer, as well as application of the theories taught in the classroom.

Join Clubs and Organizations to Enhance Your Degree

The new Florida Tech Environmental Club is a group of students looking to better the campus and surrounding ecosystems by finding new ways to be environmentally friendly. They hold educational events and recycling drives to promote interest in "green" living. Additionally, there are intramural sports, Student Government and over 100 other student organizations to join.

What can you do with an environmental science degree?

Graduates of the environmental science program traditionally get their first jobs at environmental management organizations and often move on to careers in research, policy, law and management.

Graduates with a Florida Tech environmental science degree are employed all over the world in a variety of exciting environmental science careers dedicated to making the world a better and more sustainable place. Florida Tech graduates are well positioned to compete in the labor market because of their strong background in biology, chemistry and physics.

Career Outlook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.

Environmental science is expected to see an increase in demand for qualified candidates of 19 percent by the end of the decade. More than 16,500 new employees are expected to engage in environmental science careers. They will use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment, identifying problems and finding solutions which minimize threats to the health and well-being of both the environment and, by extension, the Earth's population. Scientists use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology and chemistry to develop environmental solutions. From recycling to public health, these individuals spearhead the effort to confront the environmental challenges created by climate change and the proliferation of new technology and processes.

Check the handbook for information and the outlook for environmental science careers.

Career Options

Environmental science careers include such jobs as:

  • Environmental Scientist and Specialist
  • Chemist and Materials Scientist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technician
  • Epidemiologist (Requires Master's Degree)
  • Geoscientist
  • Hydrologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Natural Sciences Manager
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Educator

Potential Employers

  • Boeing

  • U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • NASA

  • National Science Foundation

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection

  • Companies and agencies worldwide

Graduate School

In addition to commencing environmental science careers, graduates of the environmental science program at Florida Tech are prepared to pursue advanced degrees in environmental science and related fields and have gone on to study at graduate schools such as:

  • City University of New York

  • Florida Tech

  • Florida Atlantic University

  • University of Florida

With an environmental science degree from Florida Tech, graduates are well-prepared for their career.

Get the Facts