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Environmental Science

  • Bachelor of Science Major
  • Minor
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

Graduates of the Gannon environmental science program are working in a wide variety of jobs, ranging from government environmental protection agencies to important roles with private industry.

  • GU Possibilities
    • Environmental science students are actively involved in research projects investigating ways to understand and control pollution and improve water quality in local streams, Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie.
    • The majority of environmental science majors complete at least one internship prior to graduation.
    • Gannon’s proximity to Lake Erie and ownership of a research vessel provides numerous opportunities for water quality monitoring on the lake and its tributaries.
    • The program has strong ties to local industry and governmental agencies, providing numerous opportunities for field trips, internships and class projects.
    • Graduates of the Gannon environmental science program are working in a wide variety of jobs, ranging from government environmental protection agencies to important roles with private industry.

    You Will Learn

    Environmental science is the study of the adverse impact of human activity on the environment. Graduates of Gannon’s environmental science program are prepared for careers in the areas of environmental compliance, environmental education and outreach, natural resource management, and environmental health and safety.

    A student majoring in environmental science typically has a passion for the environment, enjoys outdoor activities, has an aptitude for the sciences and wants to make the world a better place.

    You Will Experience

    Gannon students learn by doing and are provided with practical experiences to further their understanding of environmental issues and to prepare them for their careers.

    • Fieldwork: The university owns and operates a research vessel, The Environaut. This and the University’s close proximity to Lake Erie allow for water quality monitoring experiences on Lake Erie and its watershed.
    • Senior Thesis Projects: This year-long, team-based capstone course requires students to complete a lab- or field-based research project.
    • Internships: Many students complete internships at government agencies, industrial facilities, environmental consulting firms or nonprofit organizations.
    • Research Experience: Students have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects with department faculty, often involving issues specific to Lake Erie and the Great Lakes region.
    • Travel: Gannon offers many travel courses, service-learning trips and study abroad opportunities.

    You Will Achieve

    Graduates of the environmental science program are highly employable and typically find jobs with:

    • Governmental Agencies such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, as well as state and county health departments.
    • Environmental consulting firms that provide services to companies, local governments and individuals to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
    • Private industry to ensure the company is in compliance with occupational safety and environmental regulations.
    • Nonprofit organizations in the area of environmental education and outreach.

    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 ( and/or PayScale (  

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    Students complete courses in chemistry, biology and geology in their first and second years, which provides
    a solid background for upper-level environmental science courses. This culminates during the senior year in a yearlong thesis project organized into a two-course sequence. Environmental science majors take various core courses including:

    ENV 121 Climate Change and Energy
    This course covers the basic science necessary to understand the complexity of factors that contribute to global climate change. Along with these topics, conventional and renewable energy technologies are discussed, including fossil fuels, solar, wind, nuclear, hydroelectric, fuel cells geothermal and biofuels.

    ENV 336/337 Water Quality and Lab
    This course covers the major types of water pollution of concern to the environmental professional. Topics covered include water quality impacted by organic and nutrient pollution in surface and groundwater, with a particular focus on issues impacting the Great Lakes watershed.

    ENV 400/401 Environmental Toxicology and Lab
    This course focuses on the properties, effects and detection of environmental pollutants and how this information is used to identify human health risks and protect public health. The lab includes a number of field-based activities including water quality monitoring on Presque Isle Bay, ambient air sampling and soil sampling to determine heavy metal concentrations.

    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.