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Maria V. Kalevitch, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Engineering, Mathematics & Science
School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science
University Professor of Biology
John Jay 206
|Studies lead to the Bachelor of of Science (B.S.) in Environmental
What Is Environmental Science?
Environmental science is an applied science, incorporating
knowledge from basic sciences such as chemistry, biology, geology,
mathematics and physics, as well as applied sciences such as
agronomy, soil science, forestry and toxicology. Environmental
scientists study some property of the environment or apply
scientific knowledge to an environmental issue or problem.
Prior to 1970, fewer than 230,000 people were employed in the
United States in environmental and conservation work. By 1998,
that number had grown tenfold to 2.5 million people. The growth
of environmental science as a discipline has been very much a
reaction to increased awareness of environmental issues and
ensuing laws and regulations, such as the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Air Act and the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act.
Comparison With Traditional Science Programs
Environmental science degree programs provide a foundation in
major science disciplines, but also develop an expertise in how the
diverse areas of science can work together to promote effective and
beneficial uses of the planet's physical and biological resources
while maintaining an ecological balance within and among the
biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.
Unlike traditional science programs, environmental science degree
programs include specialized courses that demonstrate how
technology, business and management practices can be applied to
the aquatic, atmospheric and geologic systems of the planet for the
betterment of mankind.
RMU Program Overview
The environmental science degree program at Robert Morris
University uniquely trains environmental scientists for professional
and technical positions in business, industry, government and
education by providing students with the analytical, technical and
enterprise skills required of such positions.
The B.S. degree program is suited to students planning to enter
careers in environmental science or pursue graduate and
This program requires significant coursework in biology, chemistry,
earth sciences and physics, as well as a rigorous mathematics and
applied statistics component, and a comprehensive basic science
exposure. Students receive hands-on experience through laboratory
experiences, field trips and internships. Capstone field methods
courses require students to do field monitoring and analysis using
the same state-of-the-art equipment found in industry.
Students also benefit from the University's renowned
Communication Skills Program. Because environmental science
professionals are required to write reports and present information
in a variety of venues and mediums, such training provides RMU
graduates with a competitive edge. In addition, business courses are
incorporated into the curriculum, giving graduates an enhanced
ability to interact with non-science professionals in business,
industry and government.
The B.S. in Environmental Science requires 123 credit hours to
complete. The curriculum has five components:
- Robert Morris University Core - 40 credits
These are the traditional liberal arts requirements of the
University. Studies in humanities, communications skills, and
social, behavioral, natural and quantitative sciences are included.
- Business - 12 credits
This component allows the student to select four business-related
electives to develop the enterprise skills needed to work as an
- Science and Statistics - 23 credits
This component consists of a specified sequence of introductory
physical and biological science courses to prepare students for
more advanced course work.
- Environmental Science - 39 credits
This component includes advanced course work and research
in biology, chemistry, ecology, meteorology, geology and
environmental science. The capstone experience includes five
one-credit field methods courses.
- Other Requirements and Open Electives - 9 credits
This component permits students to select courses from other
University programs to personalize the program of study.
Students also complete a senior thesis and/or a practical
internship experience as part of this component.
Large numbers of people are engaged in environmental careers in
the United States. The federal government employs over 230,000
people in environmental and conservation agencies. Nearly twice
as many people are employed at the state level. Primary and
secondary schools are also significant employers; many states,
including Pennsylvania, require environmental science as part of
the curricula. Environmental scientists are found throughout the
private sector as well. More than 113,000 organizations in the
environmental industry employ nearly 1.3 million people engaging
in activities ranging from analytical services to consulting and
engineering to water treatment and waste management. Other
employers include hospitals, colleges and universities, law firms,
insurance companies and banks.
The demand for environmental scientists in Western Pennsylvania
is robust. Virtually every major environmental consulting and
engineering organization has a Pittsburgh area office. Both the
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have a
significant presence in the region. The Air and Waste Management
Association, a 10,000-member professional organization, is
headquartered in Pittsburgh. In addition, the region boasts 50 state
parks and recreation areas.
A number of career paths are open to students who study
environmental science. Bachelor-level positions in the government
sector include naturalist, park ranger, wildlife officer, game warden,
and local, state or federal regulatory agent. Positions in the private
sector include environmental laboratory and field technician,
ecologist, quality assurance professional, industrial hygienist,
hazardous materials technician, environmental consultant, land
use planner, soil scientist and hydrologist. In the education sector,
positions include elementary or secondary teacher, researcher and
environmental education specialist. Graduates may also pursue
graduate or professional studies in a variety of disciplines such as
biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, medicine and the health
Bachelor-Level Hiring Organizations
Astorino Branch Environmental Inc.; Civil & Environmental
Consultants Inc.; Conservation Consultants; Department of
Agriculture; Energy & Environmental Management Inc.; EnviroLink
Network; PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources;
PA Department of Environmental Protection; PennDOT; Pittsburgh
Zoo & PPG Aquarium; Volz Environmental Services Inc.; Waste
2006 national mean bachelor-level starting salaries by job function:
|Field Engineering ||$58,625|