Jump Into The Fascinating Microcosm Of An Environment’s Interconnecting Systems — And Whole New Worlds Will Open Up To You.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies combines perspectives from the natural and social sciences with applied experiences in the laboratory, field sites and community settings. The major consists of required courses and projects that provide an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental concepts, issues and methods for resolving problems. Additional courses enable you to develop selected competencies in greater depth as preparation for graduate study and/or a professional career.
There are so many real-world opportunities, and almost every class you take has field trips into the field/at places relating to our field. The professors do so much for their students to get experience before graduating, and emphasize the interdisciplinary aspect of the field. So far the coolest experience has been to conduct summer research with the help of Dr. Degrassi at Blandy Experimental Farm. We aim to research and understand the movements of the turtle population. Throughout the regular semesters, I’ve been on many little day trips to different mountains and geological formations, and every class I’ve taken has taught me the importance of everything in nature, along with the science and beauty behind it!
Josephine Saikali ’23 | Environmental Studies major
With our small size, location in the northern Shenandoah Valley, and academic strength in the College of Arts & Sciences, Shenandoah University provides a challenging, student-centered educational experience.
How many peer institutions can claim their environmental studies undergraduates’ efforts shaped a National Park’s master plan or led a city to establish its first nature preserve?”
—Woody Bousquet, Ph.D. | Founder of Shenandoah’s Environmental Studies program
Shenandoah’s 195-acre Cool Spring River Campus is a dedicated place where students and faculty can roll up their sleeves and collaborate. Come enjoy acres of preservation land along the Shenandoah River for use as an outdoor classroom and recreational space for the university community and general public. This historic property was integral to the July 18, 1864, Battle of Cool Spring. It also serves as a living laboratory for history and the environmental studies programs.
Explore the Cool Spring River Campus
Hear about an Environmental Studies Research Project
Shenandoah University boasts an extraordinary research resource — the 195-acre River Campus at Cool Battlefield in Clarke County, Virginia. The site is located along the Shenandoah River is poised for a natural rebirth, courtesy of students like Sydney Vonada ’16. Vonada is conducting summer research at the site to better understand the natural communities at the river campus. She is identifying canopy, sub-canopy and ground plants there and in doing so, finding many pieces to solve the puzzle of how to best protect its natural communities and water quality.
Learn More About This Program
The Environmental Studies program’s academic and hands-on research has made a difference locally and in the region.
- More than 20 environmental studies undergraduates presented their research at annual conferences of the Virginia Academy of Science.
- The City of Winchester, the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District and the Princeton Review’s green colleges guide recognized the university’s efforts in environmental stewardship, sustainability and undergraduate education.
- The Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association acknowledged students and faculty with its Grassroots Conservation Award in 2013.
Perhaps the accomplishment with the most lasting effect on our community and region is the involvement of our students and faculty with the Abrams Creek Wetlands since 1997.
Shenandoah’s environmental studies undergraduates and faculty investigated the wetlands, presented their findings to citizens and decision-makers, led field trips for children and adults and developed interpretive signs to help people appreciate the property’s significance. These efforts resulted in the dedication of the Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve in 2003. The site was the City of Winchester’s first formally protected natural area. Each day, rain or shine, dozens of local residents and tourists come to the wetlands for exercise, nature study, family fun and inspiration.”
Located just two miles from main campus on the Winchester-Frederick County line, Abrams Creek Wetlands features rare marsh habitats, home to more than 20 plant species listed on Virginia’s rare plant list.
Environmental Studies Links
Blue Ridge Institute for Environmental Studies, Shenandoah University
Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum
State Arboretum of Virginia, Blandy Experimental Farm
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Friends of the Shenandoah River
Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River
Shenandoah University’s College of Arts & Sciences is your direct connection to a classic, broad-based education to satisfy both your intellectual curiosity and career goals. With a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, small classes and individualized learning opportunities, we put students at the center of all our decisions and events.
We blend the liberal arts with pre-professional courses and hands-on learning to prepare you for careers in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. You’ll learn through small, engaging classes and relationships with faculty mentors; hone your skills to solve problems; and learn to use creativity and critical thinking to make informed decisions.
Minor in This Program
The Environmental Studies minor provides perspectives from the natural and social sciences with applied experiences in field sites and community settings. The required courses and projects provide a general introduction and overview to understanding environmental concepts and issues and methods for resolving problems.
|ES 101||Introduction to Environmental Studies||3|
|ES 105||Field Natural History||4|
|ES 319||Environmental Policy and Programs||3|
|ES 419||Community and Regional Studies||4|
|Electives chosen from the minor required courses and Environmental Studies major electives.||7-8|
Declaring a Minor
Shenandoah students work with their Academic Advisor to declare a minor. Academic Advisors will continue to work with students to ensure that they fulfill all of the requirements to complete the minor.
Incoming students should not indicate their intended minor on their Shenandoah application. Applications are for intended majors only.
The Career & Professional Development staff helps Shenandoah students search and apply for internships related to their major and career goals. Internships differentiate you as an applicant in your future job searches, provide hands on experience in your field, allow you to sample different career paths for your major, and help you find a specific position that fits your passion before graduation.
I do outreach for the Potomac Riverkeeper Network of (PRKN) within the Shenandoah Valley since they are based out of DC. The organization hosts a variety of river paddles to encourage people to get on the water. As an intern, I help people in sign up for events, maintain waivers, and add pieces onto the official PRKN website.
Madison Upperman ’24 | Environmental Studies and Biology
Career and Salary Possibilities
This highly interdisciplinary field allows for diverse types of research by environmental scientists. Employment opportunities include jobs with governments, conservation organizations and private firms interested in environmental topics.
Hands-on, career-related service-learning experiences provide an additional benefit to the program.
Career and Salary Examples for Environmental Studies:
- Project Coordinator: $42,000
- Account Manager: $42,500
- Environmental Scientist: $40,695
- Associate Project Manager: $54,848
- Environmental Consultant: $44,000
- Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Manager: $97,436
- Program Manager, Non-Profit Organization: $59,000
Daniel Cooper ’13 won the Baker Award for the best student presentation in botany at the annual meeting of the Virginia Academy of Sciences (VAS). Cooper conducted a yearlong independent research project under the guidance of Dr. Bousquet. “Dr. Bousquet and Dr. Kincaid had us out in the field, letting us learn real-world techniques and procedures. As an entry level applicant, I had some skills and experiences that were usually only seen on professional resumes.” After graduating from Shenandoah’s Environmental Studies program, Cooper was hired by Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., where he assists land developers to navigate environmental policy.
“As a student at Shenandoah, one of the things that I found most helpful was the exposure to different types of careers in the environmental field,” says Beth Clark Groth ‘98. Groth is now planner for the Charles County Government in Maryland where she reviews plans for proposed development and determine the potential impact to cultural resources.
After graduating from the Environmental Studies program, Alumni Kimberly Hodge ‘02 continued her education by going to graduate school. She currently runs the office of Sustainability at Washington & Lee University. Hodges manages the campus garden, the intern program and data tracking. Her advice to students is to, “Have fun with it. There is new knowledge being created every day, and it’s exciting.”
Andrea Martin Kaval ’07 opened her Greenway Engineering, Inc., an environmental laboratory in Winchester where she analyzes water, wastewater and soils/solids. She chose Shenandoah because of the professor-to-student ratio and was conducive to better discussion and access to professors. Kavals fondest memories of SU are of time spent learning and researching with fellow colleagues and with professor Dr. Woodward Bousquet.
With all of the dedicated professors, unique teaching methods, research and internship opportunities, Kimberly Bryant Pastewski ‘99 knew she made the right decision to attend Shenandoah University. Pastewski now works as an environmental specialist at the Sarasota Florida County Environmental Protection Division where she inspects the quality of air and water if its safe for residents in the county.
Career is & Professional Development Provides A Comprehensive Range Of Services And Resources To Assist Shenandoah Students In Their Career Search. Services offered include resume and cover letter building, mock interviews, and professional dining etiquette workshops.
Housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, this interdisciplinary program draws on courses from the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities to prepare students as practitioners able to investigate and address complex environmental problems. Research is such a critical component of the curriculum yet many institutions limit research opportunities to a few top academic performers. That’s definitely not the case at Shenandoah.
Environmental Studies Research Projects
At Shenandoah University, you’ll participate in ecological research as well as environmental education and community outreach.
- Our Environmental Studies Program has joined a multi-year study of wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta), a threatened species. Working with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, our students and faculty survey wood turtle hibernation sites and nesting locations.
- A group of eight Shenandoah undergraduates recently conducted a botanical inventory at a local nature preserve established by another group of Shenandoah students in 1998. These students learned environmental techniques used by government agencies and private organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.
- A few Shenandoah students are studying northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) populations in the Shenandoah Valley. White cedar forests are rare in Virginia and occur primarily on north-facing limestone slopes above creeks and rivers. Students assist with field and laboratory work using standard techniques in forest ecology and dendrochronology (tree-ring analysis).
Learning support services are available to all students in every course at Shenandoah. Free peer tutoring with a student who has previously succeeded in the course is available for any course across the university. The Writing Center is available for every stage of the writing process from thesis development to proofreading and bibliography assistance. The Math Enrichment Center is available for math and science assistance. Professors and Academic Advisors across the university also have office hours and open door policies to ensure Shenandoah students succeed academically.
Join the Honors Program
The Honors Program is a multidisciplinary Honors Program for students who are curious, creative, self-motivated, and eager to engage in their education and community.
Not only do Honors Program students partake in honors courses that emphasize collaboration, service, and communication, but they will also have the opportunity to develop aspects of the program based on their own interests and goals. By participating in the Honors Program you will acquire the tools, knowledge and experiences necessary to make meaningful contributions to your community – whether it be globally, locally, or specific to your life’s work. You will have access to unique courses, exciting experiences and a community of peers and faculty who never stop asking questions and striving for excellence.
Imagine participating in interesting conversations led by engaging professors who’ve already done what you dream of doing. You’ll be in a small class — the average class size is approximately 12 students — with professors who know your name, care about your success and provide advice as you pursue your academic and career goals.
Dr. Joshua A. Kincaid
Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography | Forest Ecology, Stream Morphology and HydrologyFull Biography
Dr. Kimberly Orrell
Assistant Professor of Biology | Animal Behavior and ZoologyFull Biography
Dr. Laurel Rodgers
Professor | Cell Biology and American Chestnut PreservationFull Biography
Dr. Diep Ca
Professor | Analytical ChemistryFull Biography
Assistant Professor | Religion and EcologyFull Biography
Assistant Professor | Environmental CommunicationFull Biography
Assistant ProfessorFull Biography
Shenandoah University works on rolling admissions and accepts applications throughout the year. Applications are reviewed individually and holistically.
Submit your application, review required admission materials, and find our admissions standards.
Make studying abroad the highlight of your college experience! Whether you go for a year, a semester, or just a few weeks. You will never forget learning in another culture! The Center for International Programs is here to help you plan your study abroad experience. Start your planning early to ensure the courses you complete abroad count toward your degree and you graduate on time.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer. If a course is not within your major, it might be used as an elective.
Shenandoah University is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities. This partnership allows students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the study abroad advisor, students can take classes taught in English abroad while receiving Shenandoah credit.
Shenandoah University also maintains direct partnerships with several universities around the world. These relationships allow students from SU to study abroad as exchange students and students from these universities to study at SU. All partner universities offer courses taught in English.
Environmental Studies Abroad Course Catalog