Environmental Science, B.S.

Program Overview

Are you in love with nature and enjoy being outside as much as inside? Do you often rely on logic to solve complex problems or come up with original solutions? Could you see yourself helping businesses and organizations understand how decision-making processes impact the environment? If this sounds like you, then a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science could lead to a fulfilling and meaningful career.

PLNU's Biology Department prepares environmental science majors to address the very serious need in our world today for people trained to advocate for the healing and restoration of creation — both land and people. To prepare you for environmental science careers, we offer an inter-departmental program where you'll have the chance to take core science classes in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics alongside electives in political science, economics, philosophy, or sociology. This broad range of academic disciplines will empower you to understand the connections and interactions across these areas of study, and ultimately how each affects the environment.

Mike Updated


Mike Mooring, Ph.D.

Since 2009, PLNU’s Department of Biology has led a biennial Neotropical Ecology field course in Costa Rica that has garnered rave reviews by students. In 2010, Dr. Mike Mooring, professor of biology, began leading his summer research students to Costa Rica to conduct field research.

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This major also will require you to complete 8 units within an off-campus environmental program. The purpose behind having you study in an off-campus program is to encourage you to expand your learning beyond PLNU and allow you to take advantage of many specialized courses offered through study abroad programs or summer field courses. Other opportunities, like Chemistry or Biology undergraduate research allow you to study fascinating subjects in compelling settings and apply your passions in unique and deeper contexts.

PLNU also has a robust pre-health program to train and equip you for professions in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Since 2004, Over 90 percent of PLNU students who have applied for health professions schools have been admitted. By offering rigorous courses alongside individualized support and guidance in the form of internships, pre-health advisors, seminars, and more, you can be confident and prepared moving onto graduate and medical schools.

Learn more about how students gain hands-on STEM experience through PLNU’s summer research program.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Environmental Science, B.S. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

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Career Opportunities

Do you have a passion for hiking, exploring nature, and understanding its origin? Merge your love of the great outdoors with your studies through a degree in environmental science. Covering ecology, biology, and a wide range of other science topics, you’ll learn not only how to better understand the inner workings of the environment around you, but also how you can be an advocate and innovator for conservation efforts. 

Environmental science vs. environmental studies:

While environmental science focuses on the mechanisms behind the problems our environment faces, environmental studies give more of an overview of the challenges through the many social, political, and economic perspectives.

At PLNU, our Environmental Science B.S. program focuses on two goals:

  • Empowering you to understand the connections and interactions across areas of scientific study
  • Training you to advocate for the healing and restoration of creation 

Job outlook for environmental science careers

Employment in careers related to a degree in environmental science is projected to remain steady given the current state of our climate and environment. For conservation scientists, (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU environmental science programs), employment is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Caleb Bryce takes a photograph of an adult grey wolf

Student Profile

Caleb Bryce, Ph.D.

In graduate school, Caleb M. Bryce, Ph.D. trained dogs how to run on a treadmill. It was cute he says, but it was to study the effects of domestication and intensive artificial selection on the running performance of various breeds in comparison to their shared wild cousin, the wolf.

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What can you do with an environmental science degree?

Many graduates of the PLNU environmental science program have gone on to work at waste/recycling facilities, zoos and wildlife rehabilitation organizations, and even government departments such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. All graduates are equipped to work in many different and interesting places — in labs, in remote nature, and even in positions of government leadership.

Some of the positions PLNU graduates currently hold:

Conservation Scientist

2020 Median annual salary: $64,010

Conservation scientists manage the land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources. With research and funding, they are responsible for maintaining and supervising the overall well-being of their parks and protected areas. They often work for governments or social advocacy organizations advising them on the right plan of action to promote conservation and the safety of the environment.

Necessary skills and attributes:

  • Extensive knowledge of plant and animal species
  • Communication with landowners, governments, and farmers to improve land for forestry purposes
  • Organization of plans for managing forest lands and resources
  • Ability to negotiate terms and conditions for forest harvesting and for land-use contracts

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

2020 Median annual salary: $73,230

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge and experience in the natural sciences to promote the conservation and protection of the environment and human health. Most work in offices and laboratories while others may spend time in the field gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions firsthand. All this research is for formulating the best plan of action to protect the environment.

Necessary skills and attributes:

  • Knowledge of data collection methods for research projects, investigations, and surveys
  • Ability to interact and collect information on plant and animal species
  • Data and sample analysis 
  • Ingenuity to create plans preventing and fixing environmental problems
  • Communicate information and guidance to government officials, businesses, and the general public 
  • Prepare technical reports and presentations that explain their research and findings

Food Scientists and Technologists

2020 Median annual salary: $68,830

Food scientists and technologists look into ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural companies/establishments and their products. Most work in laboratories, offices, and in the field. They often experiment with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as vegetables and fruit. These scientists are important because they help expand and shed light on the nation’s food supply. They work with both basic and applied research and development. Basic research explores the biological and chemical processes by which crops and livestock grow. Applied research tries to answer how to improve the quality, quantity, and safety of agricultural products.

Necessary skills and attributes:

  • Knowledge of how to conduct research and experiments 
  • Problem-solving skills to improve the efficiency and productivity of field crops
  • Experiment with new food products
  • Creativity to develop new and better ways to process, package, and deliver them
  • Strong communication to share research findings 

Clinical Scientist

2020 Median annual salary: $97,865

A clinical scientist conducts experiments, collects data, and uses high-tech equipment while screening and monitoring medical conditions in individuals. They may work in many settings such as hospitals, clinics, or pharmaceutical companies.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Creativity to design and conduct studies that investigate human diseases
  • Knowledge to prepare and analyze medical samples and data
  • Inventiveness to produce and head programs that improve health outcomes
  • Teamwork and partnership with health departments, industry personnel, and physicians
  • Strong writing for research grant proposals and applying for funding from government agencies 
  • Bachelor's degree and a practicing license from an occupational board 
  • Thorough understanding of procedures to maintain safety

Explore and uncover the unknowns of the environment with a degree in environmental science to promote sustainability. 

The Environmental Science B.S. from PLNU prepares you with experience and knowledge to be an innovator in protecting and promoting the conservation of the environment. Whether you pursue field research or hands-on lab work, you’ll be ready with the insight you gained on PLNU’s campus. 

Apply to PLNU today, or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.

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