Ecology, Environment and Conservation

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 biology program at Shippensburg University can choose a concentration in Ecology, Environment and Conservation (EEC). Students in the EEC concentration earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. In addition to courses in the Biology Core Curriculum, Students in the EEC 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.

View internship opportunities at Jobs and Internships in Ecology, Environment, and Conservation

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 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:

  • Research Technician
  • Park Naturalist
  • Outdoor Educator
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Forester
  • Environmental Consultant
  • College Professor
  • Entomologist
  • Water Quality Control Technician
  • Environmental Planner
  • K-12 Teacher
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Field Ecologist
  • Researcher
  • Environmental Impact Analyst
  • Toxicologist
  • Museum or Zoo Curator
  • Conservation Biologist
  • Fisheries Biologist

For more information on careers in Ecology, see the Ecological Society of America's Careers in Ecology brochure. For help finding a job or internship in Ecology and Environmental Biology, visit Jobs and Internships in Ecology and Environmental Biology.

Shippensburg University is a charter member of the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, which operates a field station at Wallops Island, Virginia. 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
  • Coastal Ornithology
  • Coastal Herpetology
  • Wetlands Ecology
  • Behavior of Marine Organisms
  • Ecology of Marine Plankton
  • Management of Wetland Wildlife
  • Marine Microbiology

To find out more about the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, including a schedule of summer courses, visit their website.

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
  • Greenhouse
  • Research laboratories
  • 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. Shippensburg's unique location near two major river drainage (located in the Susquehanna drainage, bordering the Potomac drainage) makes it an ideal place for aquatic studies. Nearby agricultural lands provide sites for agricultural/environmental studies, including research on integrated pest management.

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, Environment, and Conservation.