Geoenvironmental Studies, B.S.
Based in the Geography geoenvironmental studies major at Shippensburg University is a truly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary science that prepares students for career opportunities in both natural and social science arenas. Students in this program develop a wide array of skills and take courses that set them apart from other programs in the region and in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Whether students go on to advanced degrees or enter the work force immediately after graduation, they have the hard skills that they need to be successful, and the soft skills they need to advance in their careers. The required internships and the professional network we maintain is second to none. Employers repeatedly seek out students from this program to fill their job openings because they know that students who are success in our program and who take advantage of the full range of opportunities available to them are the kind of employees they want working for them.
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What Will I Learn?
Students will learn that the field of geoenvironmental studies is diverse, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. It is a major that involves learning core natural sciences (i.e. the geographic and geologic study of land, sea, air, soil, rocks, water and the processes that shape them) as well as the social sciences (the study of humans and their interactions with each other and with the Earth). As the Earth's population grows, students will learn that they must be able to identify local to global patterns and processes that shape our planet and our lives today and in the future. In addition, students will also learn that they must develop a strong working knowledge of geoenvironmental disciplines and hone the skills and aptitudes needed to be critical thinkers and effective problem solvers in a wide range of natural/social science-centered careers.
What are the requirements for this degree?
This program has been designed to be flexible according to student interests and opportunities exist for students to add the major even after several semesters. Students will meet with a faculty advisor each semester to discuss program requirements and develop an academic plan best suited to their individual interests and career goals. Our department has a large network of alumni and professional contacts that work closely with our students through our annual Career Day and by hosting internships in a wide range of career areas. This professional network also provides invaluable feedback that helps us keep the program current with the latest demands of the Geoenvironmental workforce.
The Undergraduate Catalog provides details about program requirements.
Students interested in this major will often pursue a minor in math, biology, physics, or even chemistry, especially if they are interested in earning a more advanced degree (i.e. M.S. or Ph.D.). Still, others may take minors in business, computer science, or international studies, which some students are now choosing to complete double majors.
What Types of Careers Could I Get With This Degree?
Most geographers and earth scientists will typically work in one of five basic career sectors: private business (i.e. for geologic/hydrologic/environmental consulting and engineering firms), government agencies (from local to international), research and education, land use and civil planning, as well as within a wide range of non-profit organizations where their unique skills as natural and social scientists are needed (i.e. as cartographers, computer/GIS analysts, geologists, educators, environmental scientists, remote sensing specialists, water resource managers), and so much more. With population growth, aging infrastructure, current and emerging environmental issues, natural resource concerns, etc., there is an excellent outlook for career growth in the diverse fields we service.
What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have on Campus?
Students should expect that they will have a student-focused learning experience that encourages them to become active learners both in the classroom and through co-curricular activities. First, students should expect that the world is their classroom and their laboratory. The department is proud both of the commitment we have to provide field experiences in our courses, and of our commitment to provide students with access to cutting edge geotechnologies that they will use in their careers beyond Shippensburg. This includes course work experiences that engage learning in the field, whether students are asked to engage in stream studies at the Burd Run watershed living laboratory adjacent to campus, or use ground penetrating radar and GIS skills to solve geological/environmental problems in the Cumberland Valley and South Mountain region, use field surveying equipment such as total stations and GPS systems, and scientific sampling instruments along the mid-Atlantic seaboard at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, or even internationally in places like Chile, Curacao, China and more. Outside of the classroom, students will have a required internship, and will have numerous opportunities to participate in faculty-student research which may also take place through the department's Center for Land Use and Sustainability. Moreover, many students avail themselves of numerous networking opportunities whether these include participation in our annual career day, or by becoming a member of the Green League student organization, or Gamma Theta Upsilon, our disciplinary national honor society.