Employers in the environmental field increasingly recognize the need for broadly trained environmental scientists who can bridge the gap between the social science (geography, planning, land use) and physical science (geology, hydrology, geomorphology) aspects of natural systems. To this end, the undergraduate program in geoenvironmental sciences is designed to produce broadly trained scientists with a holistic understanding of the environment, with an emphasis on Geotechnology (GIS and GPS) and practical experience (field research, internships).
What is geoenvironmental studies?
Geoenvironmental studies is the study of air, land, and water resources. The field integrates the study of the physical and cultural aspects of the environment into a meaningful framework to solve environmental problems.
Geoenvironmental studies is an holistic approach to studying why certain physical processes happen and developing procedures to prevent serious environmental consequences from occurring.
Where can I use geoenvironmental studies?
Geoenvironmental studies is an integral part of environmental analysis, environmental management, environmental science, and environmental planning. Consulting firms, corporations, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations hire individuals with a strong geoenvironmental studies background.
What career choices can I expect?
The world we live in requires an understanding of international issues and geographic relationships. For that reason the field of geography continues to expand and grow. Geoenvironmental studies combines the background of geography and earth science to understand the earth's environmental systems.
Most geographers and earth scientists work in one of five basic career fields: (1) business, (2) government, (3) teaching, (4) planning, and (5) consulting. Within these fields, they are called upon for their expertise in such areas as selecting favorable locations for capital investments, developing effective strategies for corporate or governmental planning, environmental planning and land use analysis, geology and atmospheric studies, cartography, computer applications, geographic information systems, and educating all age groups about proper use of our environment.
Career opportunities are growing rapidly in fields such as:
- environmental sciences
- environmental planning
- regional analysis
- local and state governments
- travel and tourism
- remote sensing
- geographic information systems
- environmental impact analysis
- water resources
- land use planning
What kinds of courses will I take?
During your career at Shippensburg University you will complete the required 48 credit hours of general education, receiving background in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, history, English, and communication skills. In your major, you will take courses in earth science, geography, and a variety of natural sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics. You can also choose from a wide variety of minor fields of study.
What about internship opportunities?
The department has a strong internship program where students obtain practical experience. In some cases, an internship develops into full-time employment after graduation. An alumni network can assist students in the job selection process, too. The high caliber of work done by Shippensburg interns has enabled the university to establish and maintain internships with governmental and private agencies such as:
- Environmental and engineering consulting firms
- National Audubon Society
- National and state parks
- Federal agencies
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
- Natural Resource Conservation Service
- County planning commissions
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
- Business firms
- GIS consultants
What computer skills will I acquire?
Computer applications are extremely important in geoenvironmental studies. All areas of employment are using computer applications to portray and analyze data. A variety of computer mapping and analysis courses are available from the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Geography/Earth Science. Such courses may include geographic information systems, computer cartography, computer mapping, quantitative methods, and mapping sciences.
How should I prepare for this major?
The high school college-preparatory program should provide the basic foundation for majoring in geoenvironmental studies. A good background in the natural sciences, computer science, social sciences, and well-developed communication skills will be of great value. Work experience in any area of the environmental sciences is desirable.
Why study geoenvironmental studies at Shippensburg?
Shippensburg University is well known for the quality of its academic program in geoenvironmental studies. The department is one of the country's top ten as rated by the Association of American Geographers. Many graduates of the geoenvironmental studies program hold jobs in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Geoenvironmental studies is a growing area of employment throughout the world. It is estimated during the next decade over 600,000 new jobs will be created in environmental sciences in the United States. The improvement of air, land, and water resources is one of the crucial issues facing the United States today. Often government and business leaders are increasingly adding employees to help with the improvement of environmental quality, environmental impact assessment, and conservation programs.