About the Major
Solving the environmental challenges of the 21st century requires individuals who understand environmental and scientific complexities and can implement a multi-disciplinary approach to environmental problem solving. Such individuals also will need to focus on the linkage between local and global environmental problems. The Environmental Science major at Ramapo College develops these abilities by providing students with a strong foundation in basic sciences and mathematics, followed by a specially designed set of advanced courses that provides students with extensive theoretical and practical knowledge in critical areas of environmental science (such as computer modeling, environmental chemistry, advanced geology, and ecology). The entire curriculum is heavily experiential in nature, with strong laboratory and field work components in nearly every course. Two elective courses at the upper level provide an opportunity for students to focus their program towards their major interests. A number of courses focus on local and global environmental issues from an environmental science policy perspective.
The environmental science faculty consists of a dynamic blend of scientists from a number of disciplines, with research interests that include: alternative energy systems, endangered species, paleoecology, forest ecosystems, wetland ecology, chemical pollution impacts and measurement, water pollution impacts on fish and aquatic organisms, environmental impact assessment, paleoclimate, global climate variability and change, and the incorporation of state-of-the-art environmental science technologies into the curricula of primary and secondary schools.
The Environmental Science program challenges students to become involved and active problem-solvers. Field courses use a hands-on approach to study ecosystems both on campus and in in the mountainous and scenic Highlands region and beyond. In addition to extensive laboratory and field courses, students are encouraged to participate in Coop Education and fellowship opportunities at places like the Weis Ecology Center, and at the Ramapo-directed and staffed Meadowlands Environmental Education Center (MEEC), and at other local organizations. Each year, there is also a full-time, one-year teaching fellowship at the MEEC for one recent Ramapo graduate. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of study abroad programs to the American West and Southwest, and to the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica, among others. In addition, a state-of-the-art sustainable technology environmental education center, the Ramapo College Sustainable Education Center (RCSEC), is planned. In addition to providing a relaxed central meeting area for environmental activities and events, the RCSEC will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy, a greenhouse with opportunities for agroecological work, and other working examples of cutting edge green technologies.
Graduates enter a wide range of careers including environmental testing, ecological field research, park rangers, environmental consulting and impact assessment, environmental business, environmental non-profit organizations, environmental planning, local, state and federal government agencies, and environmental education. The major is structured so that students wishing to continue their studies at the graduate level may do so in a variety of environmentally-related areas. In recent years, about half of our graduates have entered graduate school. Environmental Science students planning a career in education can also complete a Teacher Certification program offered at Ramapo College.
Housed in the School of Theoretical and Applied Science, the Environmental Science major leads to a Bachelor of Science Degree. Expected to be in place soon, students interested in a Minor in EnvironmentalScience should check with the advisors listed above as to its current status.