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College of Arts & Sciences

Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1151

Department of Biology

Franklin Science Center
142 Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1401
Department Web Site 


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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016

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Ecology and Environmental Biology

Ecology and Environmental Biology at Ship

Ecology is the study of the interactions between living organisms and their environment. These interactions, in turn, affect the distribution and abundance of organisms. Ecologists study a tremendous variety of organisms and environments from microorganisms in the soil or a puddle of water to plants and animals in a forest or ocean. Since human activity often has a detrimental impact on the natural world, ecologists are often involved in identifying and finding solutions to environmental problems.

Students in the undergraduate biology program at Shippensburg University in PA can choose a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology (EEB). Students in the EEB concentration earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. In addition to courses in the Biology Core Curriculum, Students in the EEB concentration take a variety of courses dealing with ecology and the environment.

In addition, students must complete either an internship or an independent research project. These hands-on opportunities give our undergraduate environmental biology students the real-world experience they need to succeed in a future career.

Chincoteague Bay Field Station

Shippensburg University is a charter member of the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, which operates a field station at Wallops Island, Virginia. Undergraduate ecology and environmental biology students may take courses during the summer at Wallops Island for credit at Shippensburg University. Four three-week sessions are offered each summer. Offerings include: Introduction to Oceanography, Marine Biology, Marine Invertebrates, Marine Botany, Marine Ecology, Marine Ichthyology, Ornithology, Behavior of Marine Organisms, Ecology of Marine Plankton, Management of Wetland Wildlife, Marine Microbiology.

Opportunities for Student Research

Ecology and environmental biology students at Shippensburg University frequently conduct independent research projects under the supervision of a biology faculty member (and often receive college credit for their work). Facilities on campus for research include the vertebrate museum, herbarium, environmental chambers, a greenhouse, research laboratories, and an animal housing facility. A stream and pond are located on the campus. Field research is facilitated by the university's close proximity to the Michaux and Tuscarora State Forests, Pine Grove Furnace, Caledonia and Colonel Denning State Parks, and King's Gap Environmental Education and Training Center. Located in south central PA, Shippensburg is near two major river drainages (located in the Susquehanna drainage, bordering the Potomac drainage), making it an ideal place for aquatic studies.

Because of PA’s rich agriculture history, Ship can help students excel in the ecology and environmental biology bachelor’s degree track through hands-on learning. Nearby agricultural lands and Ship's organic campus farm, established in August 2012, provide sites for agricultural/environmental studies, including research on integrated pest management. Learn more about biology student research projects by visiting the Biology Department's Student Research Page.

Ecology and Environmental Biology Internships

Students can obtain real-world experience and college credit through internship experiences. Among the state agencies that provide internships are the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Internship opportunities also exist with local and regional nonprofit groups and with private businesses. Some of the organizations that provide internships may be found at Jobs and Internships in Ecology and Environmental Biology.

Careers in Ecology and Environmental Biology

There is a growing need to understand the natural world and manage our impact on it. This need has resulted in a growth in demand and job opportunities for people with ecological/environmental backgrounds. Employment opportunities are predicted to grow substantially in the near future. Numerous job opportunities now exist in research, resource management, and education.

Shippensburg University’s ecology and environmental biology graduates have been successful at finding employment with state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, private consulting firms, and schools. Many go on to graduate schools to receive advanced degrees. Potential careers for students with an interest in ecology and the environment include:

  • Park Naturalist
  • Outdoor Educator
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Forester
  • Environmental Consultant
  • College Professor
  • Entomologist
  • Water Quality Control Technician
  • Environmental Planner
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Field Ecologist
  • Environmental Impact Analyst
  • Toxicologist
  • Museum or Zoo Curator
  • Conservation Biologist
  • Fisheries Biologist

Shippensburg University’s courses in ecology and environmental biology offer flexibility and give students the opportunity to discover their interests within the field.