What is Environmental Science?
SUNY New Paltz offers a four year program leading to a B.S. in Environmental Science. This interdisciplinary degree will provide students with a working knowledge of the scientific background required to address many environmental problems. It will culminate in a senior research project done under the guidance of a skilled mentor.
As our technological civilization continues to expand across the face of the planet, the human impact on our natural environment is exacting an ever increasing toll. In response to this concern, the field of environmental science has made a rapid advance into the scientific world. The goal of environmental science is to build a deeper understanding of the interaction between our technology and the natural environment that hosts it so that we can work toward building a sustainable civilization, providing for human needs while still preserving our unique natural heritage.
Environmental science is of necessity a broadly interdisciplinary subject. The process of interaction between our technological civilization and the vast range of faunal and floral life around us is extremely complex, and its understanding draws on all that we know of the full range of physical and life sciences. From the physical science perspective, we must understand how human activity affects and changes our natural environment. From the biological and life science perspective, we must understand how those changes affect living organisms and ecosystems. Thus we will need to depend on those with a broad working knowledge of the natural sciences and mathematics to solve the difficult environmental problems that we are now facing.
SUNY New Paltz finds itself in many ways ideally poised to offer a major in Environmental Science that will provide both a sound quantitative background in mathematics and the natural sciences and a range of field experiences through nearby organizations and facilities. This interdepartmental program is housed in the School of Science and Engineering, consisting of the Departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics and Physics, and utilizes contributions from Biology and Geography as well.
Students who are successful in this program will find several options open to them:
1. Graduates will be prepared to enter a range of occupations which require them to use analytical, instrumental and quantitative techniques to address scientific questions concerning human impact on the environment. These positions exist in growing numbers in state and federal agencies as well as in independent consulting firms in our region.
2. With a sound scientific background, graduates will be well prepared to enter graduate programs in any area of or relating to environmental science. It is our understanding that a high priority will be given to SUNY New Paltz graduates who apply for graduate study at the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, for which they should be well prepared.