Environmental Science

  • GU Possibilities

    The majority of environmental science majors at Gannon University:

    • will have will have completed at least one internship by the time of graduation.
    • will have the opportunity to choose from an array of international travel experiences.
    • participate in faculty-led research projects to understand and improve water, air or soil quality in the Lake Erie region.
    • will have presented their senior research projects at two separate scientific conferences by the time they graduate.
    • are employed or enrolled in graduate programs within one year of graduation.

    You Will Learn

    Environmental science majors analyze and solve complex environmental problems in order to protect human and ecological health. Graduates of the environmental science program are prepared to begin employment with government agencies, consulting firms and private industry in the areas of environmental quality, environmental compliance and worker health and safety. Students are also prepared to enter graduate school for further study of environmental science and its sub-disciplines.

    You Will Experience

    The environmental science major at Gannon University provides numerous field and hands-on learning opportunities to further student's understanding of air, water and soil quality.

    • Lake Erie Monitoring: Students are provided with unique classroom and field research experiences through the University's proximity to Lake Erie, access to state-of-the-art field equipment and use of the Environaut, which is a lake-going vessel used to conduct water quality monitoring.
    • Research: Undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects within the department.
    • Internships: Many students participate in summer internship opportunities in Erie or near their homes, including those at government agencies, local and regional industries, nonprofit organizations and privately consulting firms.
    • Travel: A senior capstone course has been created on the topic of climate change, which includes a culminating trip to Iceland.

    You Will Achieve

     Graduates of our environmental science program typically find jobs in one of three different career paths or continue their education in graduate school.

    • Government: Many graduates go to work for government and nonprofit agencies. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employs many Gannon graduates, both in northwestern Pennsylvania and around the state. Other graduates have found jobs with federal and state agencies around the country.
    • Consulting firms: A popular career path is to work for the many environmental consulting firms that provide services to industry, local governments and individuals who have a specialized environmental challenge.
    • Industry: A third direction is to work for a large private manufacturing company. Many large companies have their own staff of environmental specialists who safeguard employees and the environment while working in-house.

    You will Study

    Environmental science is an interdisciplinary science that encompasses biology, chemistry and physics, which leads students through a study of environmental quality topics. Environmental science majors take various core courses including:


    ENV 312 and ENV 313 Environmental Hydrology and Lab 

    Environmental hydrology is the study of the hydrologic cycle and changes caused by human activity. In these courses, students focus on the study of the urbanizing effect on stream hydrology and stream restoration. The lab course includes field and lab exercises relating to stream hydrology and stream restoration.

    ENV 336 and ENV 337 Water Quality and Lab 

    This course covers the major types of water pollution of concern to the environmental professional. Topics to be covered include water quality impacted by organic and nutrient pollution in surface and groundwater, as well as the water quality consequences of heavy metal and toxic organic pollution. 

    ENV 400 and ENV 401 Environmental Toxicology and Lab 

    This course focuses on the properties, effects and detection of chemical substances in the environment and within exposed species, and how that information is used to protect human health. Topics to be covered include:


    • dose-response relationships, toxicokinetics, biotransformation and elimination of toxicants,
    • target organ toxicity, carcinogenesis, risk assessment
    • and the standard-setting process.


    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

     Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization. 

    • Starting salary: $45,000
    • Mid-career salary: $71,500

    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) and/or PayScale (payscale.com).