Environmental Science

Environmental Science Fundamentals

Environmental science is the study of society’s relationship with the physical and biological world. This knowledge may be applied to understanding natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides; addressing problems associated with environmental contamination; and investigating earth’s history to understand the global climate change. Environmental scientists are employed by environmental consulting firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and universities.

Core courses provide the fundamentals in:

  • physical geology
  • biology
  • chemistry

Degree program can be tailored to a major field of interest by taking additional courses in the supporting sciences and mathematics.

Our Faculty

    The Department of Geosciences faculty maintain research programs to study topics as diverse as:

    • ground water
    • pollution impacts
    • microbe-mineral interactions
    • environmental change
    • biodiversity
    • remote sensing of buried structures

    External funding and alumni support allow faculty to support student research. The faculty provides a broad-based education focused on both academic and applied aspects of the geological and environmental sciences. 

    Akron Advantage

    Hands-on Research

    Environmental science students apply state-of-art field and laboratory techniques to study geologic and environmental issues in Ohio and around the world. Students use modern equipment in the field for computer mapping, and in the laboratory for studying the chemical, mineralogical, magnetic, biologic, and physical properties of rock, sediment and water samples. Many courses have a component that involves a practical problem that is examined using field and laboratory methods. 

    Field trips throughout Ohio and to locations such as the Bahamas, Rocky Mountains, and Adirondacks expose students to a wide range of geology.

    Individual student research projects allow students to explore topics of interest in great depth, and with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

    Real-World Experience

    Geology and environmental science students gain the skills necessary to compete in the workforce or continue in a graduate program. Students are provided opportunities through research-orientated courses, paid laboratory assistantships and summer internships to gain practical professional experience. Summer Field Camp in South Dakota and Wyoming further provides students practical experience in geology.

    Research studies by students and faculty have been applied to solving local environmental issues such as:

    • the effects of dam removal along the Cuyahoga River;
    • monitoring ground water flow and contamination;
    • mapping resources in Metro Parks; and
    • laboratory analyses for local industries.

    Before graduation, students are encouraged to produce a written research report of their work to demonstrate to potential employers their range of scientific abilities.

    Geology Student Organizations

    Interact with other geology students and professionals in the field through organizations such as: 

    • Geology Club
    • Student chapter of the Association of American Petroleum Geologists

    Sample Curriculum

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    For More Information:

    Department of Geosciences

    Contact: Geosciences

    Career Opportunities

    Degrees and Preparation

    A degree in geology offers many opportunities. Geoscientists work:

    • in industries related to oil and gas, mining and water resources
    • in private and government agencies specializing in environmental studies
    • as independent consultants on such problems as water pollution and soil erosion
    • in university settings, teaching and doing research

    Career Outlook

    Career opportunities continue to grow for geoscientists, especially as governments and industries establish policies to safeguard the environment. Graduates with work experience through academic laboratories, internships, fellowships or co-ops stand out among job seekers.

    Career Services

    Career Services is located in Student Union 211, with another office in College of Arts and Sciences Building 126. Career Services provides career coaching and programming, and develops valuable relationships with employers and campus partners to provide students with many opportunities for experiential learning and career development.