Ecology and Environmental Biology

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.

Why Study Ecology and Environmental Biology at Ship?

Our ecology and environmental biology students 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 undergraduate research include:

  • Vertebrate museum
  • Herbarium
  • Environmental chambers
  • Greenhouse
  • Research laboratories
  • Animal housing facility

Because of Pennsylvania's rich agriculture history, Ship can help you 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. We also have a stream and pond on the campus.

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

Additional 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.

Career Opportunities

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

Salaries for ecologists and environmental biologists in Pennsylvania range from $30,000 to $65,000 annually.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Ecology and Environmental Biology Concentration earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. In addition to courses in the Biology Core Curriculum, you will take a variety of courses dealing with ecology and the environment. See the Undergraduate Catalog for specific course requirements.

You must also 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.

Contact Us

Department of Biology
142 Franklin Science Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1401