Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Conservation Ecology Concentration

About Conservation Ecology

Be ready to meet the growing demand to help preserve and manage our biodiversity and natural resources.

There is a growing need to understand and manage the natural world and our impact on it, reports the Ecological Society of America. If this is your goal, choose the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies at California University of Pennsylvania. The concentration in conservation ecology offers a broad core of courses in biology and ecology, supplemented with courses in chemistry, physics and mathematics.

The conservation ecology concentration in the environmental studies program at Cal U allows you to develop a tailored program of study that prepares you for careers in the field and provides a foundation for graduate school. This concentration gives you the flexibility to add additional courses in botany or zoology that are content specific. You also are encouraged to participate in a field experience or internship to help strengthen your program of study.

Gain a career advantage with Cal U's access to internships and research.

Almost all courses include a laboratory portion where students study the practical application of the science, appropriate technology and various organisms. Degree concentrations are designed to delve into specific content areas in the environmental sector that can lead to a variety of post-baccalaureate opportunities.

The environmental studies curriculum provides essential field opportunities through internships and undergraduate research projects in the environmental sciences. This core content is enhanced by the breadth of the University's general education requirements. Students also have access to Cal U's Interdisciplinary Center for Environmental Studies (ICES) and the nearby Student Association Farm.


Concentrations: You'll develop intellectual and analytical skills to understand and solve environmental problems through the curriculum for the bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies. Cal U's challenging and interdisciplinary programs foster your expertise in environmental studies, along with in-depth study of specific interests with one of these five concentrations:

Solid foundation: An interdisciplinary field, environmental studies applies knowledge from many fields to the study and management of the environment. The curriculum focuses on developing an understanding of the physical sciences, chemistry and physics, and a working knowledge of mathematics and statistics. Students study such topics as ecology, ecosystems and human impacts upon them, biodiversity, pollution, energy, and sustainability. You'll be equipped to design, analyze and interpret environmental information and data.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in environmental studies, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
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Degree Benefits

The conservation ecology concentration covers the emerging and multidisciplinary field of conservation biology. You'll learn about the impact of humans on biodiversity and how we are today seeking to conserve species, habitats and ecosystems. You'll also learn aspects of international law and policy as they affect our resources. The program provides you with the skills and knowledge necessary to handle problems effectively and make informed decisions in the area of conservation and sustainable development.


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Graduate Outcomes

There is a growing need for individuals with environmental and ecological backgrounds to identify, abate or eliminate sources of pollutants or hazards that affect the environment and the health of the population. Opportunities are diverse. For instance, employment of conservation scientists and foresters is projected to grow 7% through 2024. Heightened demand for American timber and wood pellets will help increase the overall job prospects for conservation scientists and foresters. Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to growth 11% through 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Environmental studies graduates are prepared for graduate work in environmental science- and conservation-related fields, as well as for industrial and government research.

Environmental Studies (B.S.) Conservation Ecology Concentration
Cal U professor takes students outside for field work in environmental studies.

Vital Resources

Students take classes in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, which is housed in a building equipped with a computer lab, , animal rooms, greenhouse, herbarium and vertebrate teaching museum. Cal U students also benefit from various academic societies and clubs: Beta Beta Beta is the national honor society for biological sciences. The student chapter of the Wildlife Society connects students with the professional community to study, manage and conserve wildlife and their habitats worldwide. Open to all interested students, the Biology Club explores career opportunities, offers behind-the-scenes tours of zoos and museums

A student studies plant in environmental studies lab.

Professional Connections

Cal U graduates in environmental studies hold positions at a wide range of employers, including Greene County (Pa.) Soil and Water Conservation District, National Park Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, JRJ Energy Services, Pittsburgh City Parks, Murray American Energy and U.S. Forest Service. Program alumni also are engaged in graduate studies at locations such as the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in California and Ohio University.

The SAI Framhouse is home to ICES.

Interdisciplinary Center for Environmental Studies

Cal U's Interdisciplinary Center for Environmental Studies (ICES) creates, builds, and facilitates environmental programs that result in synergies in teaching, research and service related to the environment. Through ICES Cal U students are active in a number of community conservation outreach programs. At SAI Farm, not far from the main campus, ICES leads projects such as maintaining a food garden, fruit tree orchard and bee hives; using a well field for studies in geology and water quality; and creating a wetland and nature trail.

Accordion Title

Through your curriculum, you'll develop intellectual and analytical skills to help understand and solve environmental problems, while developing expertise in conservation ecology.


Course Credits
Freshman Year  
First Semester 14
BIO 120  General Zoology 4
ENG 101  English Composition I 3
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar 1
General Education Courses 6
Second Semester 17
BIO 125  General Botany 4
ENG 102  English Composition II 3
MAT 181  College Algebra  OR  MAT 273  Applied Calculus  OR  MAT 281 Calculus I 3
General Education Courses 6 or 7
Sophomore Year  
Third Semester 16
BIO 215  Cellular and Molecular Biology 4
CHE 101  General Chemistry I 4
PHY 121  General Physics I 4
Free Elective 4
Fourth Semester 15
BIO 218  Genetics 4
BIO 248  General Ecology 4
CHE 102  General Chemistry II 4
MAT 215  Statistics 3
Junior Year  
Fifth Semester 14
BIO 478  Evolution 3
ENS 475  OR BIO 442  OR  Related Elective 4
ENS 495  Design and Analysis 4
General Education Course 3
Sixth Semester 14
BIO 414  AND/OR  BIO/ENS  Related Elective 3 or 4
ENS 399  Conservation Biology 3
Free Elective 3 or 4
General Education Course 3
Senior Year  
Seventh Semester 15
BIO 305/ENS 492/BIO 441 4
BIO/ENS  Related Elective 3 or 4
Free Elective 3 or 4
General Education Course 3
Eighth Semester 15
BIO 305/ENS 492/BIO 441 4
ENS 435  Nat. Res. Law and Policy 3
Free Electives 7 or 8
Total 120

Program Requirements

Required Major Courses (60 credits) 

  • BIO 120 General Zoology (4 credits)
  • BIO 125 General Botany (4 credits)
  • BIO 215 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (4 credits)
  • BIO 218 Genetics (4 credits)
  • BIO 248 General Ecology (4 credits)
  • BIO 478 Evolution (3 credits)
  • ENS 399 Conservation Biology (3 credits)
  • ENS 435 Natural Res. Law and Policy (3 credits)
  • ENS 495 Design and Analysis (4 credits)
  • PHY 121 General Physics I (4 credits)
  • Pick two of the following:
    • BIO 414 Plant Ecology (4 credits)
    • BIO 442 Forest Ecology and Dendrology (4 credits)
    • ENS 475 Wetlands Ecology (4 credits)

Related Electives

  • Pick two of the following: BIO 305, ENS 492, BIO 441 (8 credits)
  • Choose from any 300- or 400-level BIO/ENS with approval of major adviser or department chair (7 credits)

B.S., Environmental Studies - Concentrations and Minors

  • Environmental Studies (Minor)

Environmental Studies Faculty

Dr. David G. Argent


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Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson
Associate Professor


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Dr. Carol Bocetti


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Dr. David Boehm


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Dr. Paula Caffrey
Assistant Professor


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Dr. Chadwick Hanna
Associate Professor


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Dr. Sarah Meiss
Associate Professor


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Dr. Louise Nicholson
Associate Professor


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Dr. Brian Paulson


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Dr. Mark Tebbitt
Associate Professor


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Dr. Robert S. Whyte


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Dr. Ed Zuchelkowski


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