Environmental Science at Earlham happens in the classroom, in the field and in your residence hall! Because environmental science is inherently interdisciplinary, understanding and mitigating environmental problems requires integration of many different disciplines, both within the natural sciences and across the curriculum and co-curriculum. Our distinctive approach allows environmental scientists who graduate from Earlham to understand how environments work and apply the skills needed to better our world.
Our students choose a focus area in Biology, Chemistry, Geology or Physics after taking their introductory courses. Coupled with electives in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, Environmental Science students are able to integrate and synthesize their varied experience, speaking to the interplay of environments and human societies during the common Environmental Colloquium and the individual research experiences required for the Major.
Environmental Science students at Earlham have hands-on experiences in course settings in preparation for conducting environmental research, like examining our local watershed in introductory geology, chemistry or biology courses. Their individual environmentally focused senior research projects or internships span laboratories, landscapes and communities. Many Earlham Environmental Science students participate in off-campus programs with an environmental component as well, including the New Zealand, Tanzania, Woods Hole Environmental Science and Oak Ridge Science semesters; and May Term courses in the Galapagos Islands, Peru, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Nebraska, Menorca and the southwestern U.S.
Our facilities include state-of-the art equipment to support environmental research. Earlham maintains field equipment such as differential GPS, total station and canoes as well as a variety of instruments for analyzing water, sediment and biota. Faculty and students in environmental science utilize laboratory equipment such as microscopes, a portable XRF, trace metal analysis spectrometers, a GC-mass spectrometer, a muffle furnace, cluster-based computational resources, an x-ray diffractometer, various ion meters and a spectrophotometer. Additionally, we have access to more than 200 acres of natural areas on back campus, 200 acres of nearby College-owned old-growth forests, a greenhouse and a regional natural history museum.
The possible fields of work and study for Earlham College environmental scientists are endless! Our students can pursue advanced degrees in areas such as conservation biology, ecosystem ecology, environmental chemistry, chemical oceanography, environmental geology, hydrogeology or soils. Some students decide to focus on careers as environmental consultants in the private sector or government agencies. Students can also apply their Environmental Science degrees to careers in the fields of public policy and environmental law. Whatever your passion, Environmental Science at Earlham prepares you for environmental work in the world.