One world, one chance

About Environmental Science at Keuka College

Given the natural habitats of our freshwater lakes and forests, a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is open to you to study and explore. This major prepares you for a future finding responsible solutions to local and global environmental challenges.

Environmental Science Program Highlights

Make a Difference

The Environmental Science major has a strong emphasis on finding responsible, ethical solutions to environmental challenges.

An Outdoor Classroom

With lakes, waterfalls, hiking trails, and forests right in your backyard, the Finger Lakes region is an immense asset to your education.

Study Abroad

Experience the environment globally. Students like you have completed internships in countries around the world. You’ll have the opportunity to do the same during one of your four Field Period™ experiences.

Explore Environmental Science

Program Overview

The program provides you with the option to focus on the physical or biological science of the environment by training in the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science.

Environmental Studies Minor

Arm yourself with the environmental literacy you’ll need to address real-world challenges in the public or private sectors. Just as the strongest trees boast the deepest roots, this minor—offered through the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts—will provide you with a foundation in microeconomics, environmental ethics, geography or environmental sociology. Trek into careers in forestry, natural resource management, wildlife conservation, toxicology, sustainability and more and build a background to understand a range of complex environmental issues.   

Program Requirements

Digital Learning

Science and technology go hand-in-hand. As an environmental science student, you’ll learn to master digital tools, systematic thinking, and data analysis—core skills for success in any science-related career.

You’ll have the opportunity to conduct experiments to collect data from our state-of-the-art laboratory instrumentation, and use best-in-class mathematics, statistical, and scientific software to analyze and visualize to draw conclusions and make scientific arguments.

Global Education

Environmental science majors have completed Field Period™ experiences from Costa Rica, to nearby Seneca Falls, to campus. These have provided real-life experience that gives them an edge entering the job market or graduate school.

Research

Numerous undergraduate research opportunities, both on-campus and off, have included studying how pesticides influenced eggshell thickness, replanting a nature trail after invasive species put it at risk, and identifying factors that influenced adoption patterns of dogs and cats at a no-kill shelter. Our students often present their work at regional and national scientific meetings and some have even published papers with one of their professors in peer-reviewed, academic journals.

In keeping with Keuka College’s emphasis on experiential learning, you’ll also become a scientist outside the classroom. You’ll be encouraged to work with professors on independent research projects, and many students have had the opportunity to present the results of their work at professional conferences. 

Laboratories

Keuka College boasts an ideal setting for you to observe the natural environment within independent research projects. Keuka College’s lakefront campus in New York’s Finger Lakes region is ideal for those interested in environmental science. 

The Jephson Science Center is one of the College’s most recently-renovated buildings. A highlight of the center is that the laboratories weren’t simply designed by architects, but by the professors who use and teach in them. That means the labs you’ll use at Keuka College mimic real-world laboratories, and include much of the same equipment. 

The equipment in our laboratory includes:

High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC)

The HPLC is used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. It carries liquids from glass bottles through thin plastic tubes, passing through several compartments containing an oven, vacuum pump, solution tray, and detectors for analysis.

Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS)

The GC/MS separates mixtures into individual components and identifies separate fragments so you can determine what the molecules are. The GC/MS features a rotating unit that can extract samples from a tray of up to 108 small vials at one time, conducting analysis as programmed by a small touch screen at the side. 

Connected to the CG/MS is a computer running high-performance software that converts the data readings of molecular ions into a bevy of colorful charts and graphs. Based on the peaks and plunges of a fragment’s chart, the computer searches a large digital library to find the closest match–all in a matter of seconds.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)

The FTIR contains an oval plate with a small diamond reflective element through which infrared light can pass. Connected to another computer running high-speed software, the FTIR is able to provide information about the identity of liquid or solid compounds.

Lambda-35 Ultraviolet Spectrometer

The UV spectrometer uses visible and ultraviolet light to determine the absorption spectrum of a solution, which will show how much light it absorbs across a range of wavelengths.  This information is then used to determine the concentration of particular chemical components.
 

Extracurriculars

Chi Beta Phi, the natural science, math, and psychology honor society offers students the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and have their scholarly accomplishments recognized.

There are also numerous opportunities for students to explore, conduct research, or get involved with nearby community groups such as the Keuka Lake Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension, which offer students a chance to interact in their chosen field off campus.

Award Opportunities

Environmental Science Award

This award recognizes exceptional academic performance in environmental science by a junior.

What can you do with this degree?

Thinking about your future career? Here are some sample job titles that people with similar degrees have at organizations around the country.

• Ecological Modeler
• Environmental Analyst
• Environmental Scientist
• Hazardous Substances Scientist
• Health Environmentalist
• Water Pollution Scientist
• Water Quality Analyst

Demand & Salary Data

Career Group Career Summary Median Annual Wage in 2015sort ascending Predicted Openings Between 2014 and 2024 Change in Demand for These Jobs, 2024 vs. 2014 Education Typically Needed
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, may collect, synthesize, study, report, and recommend action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, soil, water, and other sources.

$67,460 39,300 10,200 Bachelor's degree

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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