The environmental challenges of the 21st century require individuals who understand environmental and scientific complexities and can implement a multi-disciplinary approach to environmental problem-solving at local, regional and global scales. Led by a dynamic group of faculty whose expertise and research interests span a wide range of critical environmental topics (chemical pollution measurement and impacts, paleoecology, forest ecosystems, sustainable use of natural resources, wetland ecology, avian ecology, conservation biology, climate change, and alternative energy systems), the Environmental Science major at Ramapo College provides students with a strong foundation in basic sciences, followed by a specially designed set of advanced courses that help students acquire extensive theoretical and practical knowledge in advanced geology, environmental chemistry, field ecology and research, and climate change. The entire curriculum is heavily experiential in nature, with strong laboratory and field work components in nearly every course and with ample training in the skills that are essential for launching successful careers in the sciences (research design, statistics, technical writing, critical thinking, computer applications, and oral presentations).
In addition to gaining extensive, hands-on laboratory and field experience through Environmental Science courses, much of which takes place in newly-renovated laboratories and in the adjacent scenic Highlands region, many students conduct independent research projects with Environmental Science faculty. Students are also encouraged to participate in co-op education with organizations such as the Ramapo-directed and staffed Meadowlands Environmental Center (NJMEC), the New Jersey Botanical Garden, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, the New York–New Jersey Trail Conference and with environmental consulting firms in the region.
Graduates enter a wide range of careers, including environmental testing, ecological field research, environmental education, alternative energy, and environmental planning and with local, state and federal government agencies. The major is structured so that students may continue their studies at the graduate level in a variety of environmentally-related areas. Students who major in Environmental Science and are interested in a career in education can enroll in the College’s Teacher Education program and select relevant course work in consultation with their faculty advisor in preparation for teacher certification.