Central Michigan University's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences is introducing a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and will be accepting students starting this fall. The new program is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of environmental systems and prepare them for positions in a high-demand sector.
"We designed this major to address a growing demand for experts who understand the complex interactions between humans and environmental systems," said Marty Baxter, associate professor and interim chair of the department. "It's crucial we prepare scientists who have the abilities to assess and address how our environment is changing."
Courses were designed to build upon CMU's strong geology, chemistry and biology programs, with a focus on developing skills applicable to the environmental science field. A required internship will allow students to apply the science in a real-world setting.
The new major will leverage state-of-the-art technology, laboratory equipment and research faculty. Fieldwork, a key part of the degree, will take place in locations around mid-Michigan such as CMU-owned Neithercut Woodland and Veit's Woods, in addition to CMU's Biological Station on Beaver Island.
"Our unique position in the state of Michigan is an advantage for CMU," Baxter said. "Many students who have grown up in this state have likely witnessed water-level changes and the evolution of land use around the coastlines. They have a natural interest in this kind of science."
Baxter added the ideal student for this program is one who cares about how the world is changing. "This is an opportunity to apply an interdisciplinary approach to real-world problems facing humanity," he said.
Employment of environmental scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, a rate faster than the average of all occupations. Students in the program will be prepared for positions within government agencies and private sector companies in areas such as monitoring, mitigation, sustainability and compliance.
To learn more about the new B.S. in environmental science, contact Marty Baxter or visit the CMU Earth and Atmospheric Sciences website.