Environmental Science

Would you like to dedicate your career to protecting, conserving, and restoring the environment? The Environmental Science major at the University of Central Arkansas offers a balanced and rigorous curriculum, studying environmental issues through core courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Geography, with the opportunity to customize your degree to your interests and career ambitions. You will learn to assess complex environmental problems and find solutions within the context of natural (biological, chemical, and physical) and social (political, economic, and spatial analysis) sciences. We have the strongest ES program in the state of Arkansas which prepares our students for graduate or law programs as well as promising careers with governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and private industry. Our courses develop theoretical knowledge, provide extensive field experience, and expand skills in scientific writing, experimental techniques, effective communication, and critical analysis.

As an Environmental Science major at UCA, you’ll have access to all of the distinct advantages that make the UCA experience special. Just a few of the benefits of our program include:

  • Expert Faculty with diverse academic and professional credentials in a variety of fields, such as urban planning, geography, environmental chemistry, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, environmental toxicology, population genetics, developmental biology, and water politics. Our professors are deeply committed to the success of their students, both in the classroom and in future careers. Students receive unparalleled field experiences, community connections, and research opportunities, including collaboration on cutting-edge interdisciplinary faculty projects and co-authoring of their data in peer-reviewed publications.
  • Degree Specialization designed to provide flexible concentrations which allow students to customize their majors, engaging interests and facilitating career ambitions. Tracks available in our program include:
    • Biology- emphasizing ecology, conservation biology, and environmental toxicology. Students are instructed in biological specialties that provide them with a basis for assessing the impact of human activities on ecosystems and organisms.
    • Chemistry- emphasizing the critical balance of natural chemical phenomena and the perturbations induced by pollutants, as well as a context in which environmental chemistry work is conducted, and the importance of the chemical and biological data on which policy decisions are based.
    • Planning and Administration- intended to bridge the gap between scientists gathering environmental data and administrators who formulate and implement programs and policies. This track trains students to work with numerous experts from diverse fields, to synthesize various and often conflicting perspectives, and to arrive at viable and practical solutions to environmental problems.
  • Hands-On Learning through a unique senior capstone practicum course, providing real-world experience to students who collaborate with state and federal agencies, conducting experiments in a laboratory and/or field setting, interpreting their findings in a written report, and presenting their research to peers and faculty before submitting their work to the external bureau. Many of our students have gone on to present their data at scientific meetings and even publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Student Organizations including the American Fisheries Society, Environmental Alliance, American Chemical Society, Biology Club, and Geography Club, which are designed to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional scientific and pedagogical communities through: effective communication and personal interactions, leadership experience, establishment of a personal network of contacts, presentation of scholarly work by students, faculty, and guest speakers, student workshops, and outreach services to the campus and local communities, such as volunteer projects, sponsored events, and campus-wide forums on current environmental events and issues.
  • Undergraduate Research with interdisciplinary opportunities for individual, group, or faculty-led research projects, which often lead to publication in scientific journals and travel to regional and even national conferences to present findings. Recent student research projects have been on topics such as: impacts of natural gas drilling on aquatic communities, the evolution of wetlands, environmental education for middle and secondary level students, conservation efforts in the local community, and invasive species ecology.
  • Transformative Internships which provide students with valuable field experience, professional contacts, a proven work record, and can even lead to permanent job offers. Recent internship placements include state and federal agencies like the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Environmental Protection Agency; and nonprofit organizations, like the Nature Conservancy, Audubon Arkansas, and Heifer International.
  • Employment Opportunities 95% of our graduates have found employment in their area of interest. As environmental protection and regulation efforts increase, so too does the number of environmental specialists employed by businesses, industries, and government agencies. Recent alumni are engaged in promising careers in a variety of rapidly growing fields, including state and federal agencies, like the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas State Plant Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Highway Service, Environmental Protection Agency, city planning commissions, and U.S. Geological Survey; private consulting firms and industry positions, like Green Bay Packaging, Tyson, Ozarka College, corporate environmental compliance officers, lab technicians, and GIS companies; and non-profit agencies, like Audubon and the Nature Conservancy.

To learn more about the exciting opportunities for personal and professional development available to you through the Environmental Science major at the University of Central Arkansas, visit http://uca.edu/environmentalsci/.