Environmental Science

Study environmental science and learn how the physical and biological processes that shape the natural world interact. Discover how we affect nature and come up with solutions to environmental problems.

What You’ll Study

The ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE program will provide the foundation to pursue academic and career goals through a diverse curriculum including research experience (that incorporates writing, oral communication and quantitative reasoning skills); an excitement for environmental science will be cultivated, promoting continued exploration in the field.

Through collaboration and innovative teaching pedagogy, students will become independent, critical thinkers in environmental science.

biology students holding fish in river doing research

Environmental Science Student Research

The Effects of Salinity and Acetaminophen on the Aquatic Snail Physa acuta

At NCWU, not only are you a student, you can contribute to studies that impact the world around you. Learn more about this project.

Pharmaceuticals are increasingly detected in water bodies, and their presence can negatively impact aquatic organisms. This effect can be amplified when combined with increasing salinity in freshwater ecosystems. Acetaminophen is a widely used analgesic that is commonly found in river, streams, and waters where it is discharged directly. Therefore, organisms present in these locations (e.g., insects, snails, amphibians, and fish) are likely to be affected by acetaminophen. In this study, we determined the effects of …. MORE

research video preview

Faculty & Staff

Email any of our advisors with any questions you have about completing this program.

Environmental Science Program Overview

Students will learn how life and physical sciences help us understand environmental issues. Topics covered include biodiversity (the variety of living things in a natural area), water resources, and energy resources. You’ll listen to lectures, do a lot of reading, and be tested on your knowledge through writing assignments and exams. You might also complete group projects, take field trips, and analyze data on a computer.

Students will also have the choice to follow a Diversity Tier, Field Biology Tier, Biology Elective Tier, or Earth Science Tier

Here are some highlighted courses included in the Environmental Science Major:

BIO 330- Global Water Issues

This course is intended to acquaint the student with water issues in our world such as quality of water, water testing, water sampling, history and politics of water issues. Students will be challenged to examine these aspects of water issues through lecture and laboratory exercises, along with a semester-long project, that require students to critically think about and attempt to solve problems concerning the earth’s water. Exercises for students may include surveys, laboratory experiments, interviews and research problems

BIO 324- Environmental Science

This course applies foundational knowledge of multiple disciplines (i.e. Biology, Chemistry, and Geology) to address the impact of human activities on the ecosystems. This course covers environmental chemistry and policy to address current issues and challenges in the solution of environmental problems.

BIO 325- Environmental Science Lab

This laboratory “hands on” course examines how scientist sample the environment and conduct scientific research. We will use environmental techniques that are used in the field in order to test soils, water, and contaminants. In addition, we will conduct, analyze, and interpret experiments to assess the effects of anthropogenic inputs on biological organisms and systems.

BIO 226 – Agroecology (Includes Lab)

This course explores the relationships and impacts of agricultural activities on natural ecological systems. Lectures will cover sustainable agricultural practices as well as socioeconomic factors that influence Agroecology. The laboratory will provide hands on experience in sustainable agricultural practices that students will explore and implement in their own eco-vegetable garden. Additionally, laboratory activities will include strategies used to maximize yield, space, and reduce contamination and waste in agricultural production.

BIO 301 – Conservation Biology

This course will focus on the scientific foundation and human dimensions of biological conservation. Students will explore major threats to biodiversity and discuss approaches for overcoming these threats in ways that balance the needs of people and nature. Through readings, lectures, and active learning exercises, students will understand the major principles in conservation biology. Contemporary issues that are fueling the shift to “conservation science” in recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of biological conservation will also be addressed. While this course has a natural sciences focus, students will apply social sciences concepts as they explore the dynamics of coupled human-natural systems. (offered every spring of even years).

BIO 424- Environmental Health

This course covers the major sources of environmental hazards and their impact on ecosystem and human health. Environmental health risks and assessments (e.g. diseases outbreak), ecotoxicological research and emerging contaminants will be used to improve understanding with course concepts.

What are the courses like in Environmental Science at NCWU?

Check out our latest university catalog for learning goals, course descriptions and suggested plans of study for NC Wesleyan University’s Environmental Science Program.

students doing research in forest

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Students of Environmental Science undertake a general program in which they study living organisms and the systems and processes that permit life. Courses include subjects like cell biology, evolutionary biology, marine biology, and plant biology.

Career Options

  • Conservation Scientist
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Public Education
  • Water Resources
  • Environmental Consultant

Careers such as laboratory technicians, industry scientists, outreach coordinators and research activists are also possible.

Wondering what you can do with a degree from NCWU’s Environmental Science major? Check out these resources from NCWU Career Development & Leadership and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

Wesleyan is dedicated to assisting students in their professional development offering resources and guidance for hands-on learning experiences through internships, assignments within the courses and job search resources. Let us help you focus on your education and career at the same time!

students handling bee hive

The “B” Club

For all who love bees, honey, or being outside! The “B” Club’s purpose is to bring biodiversity to Wesleyan through the promotion of ideas that will bring new animals and plants to campus. NCWU students maintain a bee hive on campus along with maintaining future birdhouses, bird baths, and plants that will be brought to campus for the attraction of bats, birds, and butterflies. The “B” Club also acts as an advocate for sustainability and environmental protection and conservation. We also educate the campus and community on conservation, preservation, and biodiversity.

Advisor: Ayra Sundbom, asundbom@ncwu.edu

future farmers of America logo

Future Farmers of America

Get involved with NCWU’s FFA Program and learn different farming and agricultural techniques. The FFA program educates its members on farm animals and how to properly care for them. We will also endeavor to foster a healthy learning environment where our members will develop their leadership skills, promote positive personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

Contact: Daniel Elias, DElias@ncwu.edu

Office of Undergraduate Research

NCWU Office of Undergraduate Research

The NCWU Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is supports and promotes opportunities for students in all disciplines to engage in advanced inquiry through research, creative, and scholarly experiences. To promote collaboration between faculty members and students, and to enhance professional advancement and life-long learning through research, scholarly, and creative experiences.

Learn about the NCWU Office of Undergraduate Research at ncwcresearch.com.

students in pond catching dragonflies

NCWU Science Club

The Science Club encourages students to pursue careers in science-related fields and keeps the university and community informed on health-related issues, as well as participating in community service.

Advisor: Dr. Daniel Elias, delias@ncwu.edu

Get Connected!

Connect and follow the Biology department through social media and experience what life is like inside and outside of the classroom in the Biology, Biomedical, and Environmental Science programs at NCWU.


24/7 Tutoring Services. Free & Easy.

North Carolina Wesleyan University is partnered with Brainfuse, a complimentary online tutoring service, provided to all Wesleyan students. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and features live tutoring in the subjects of writing, reading, math, computer and technology, science and business.

Student Organizations

Be engaged at NCWU!

Choose from 30+ student-led clubs and organizations to connect with other students who share your academic interests or… create your own.

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, NC Wesleyan University has a number of partnerships with other community colleges, universities and institutions that allow students to enroll at NCWU with simple pathways. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to NCWU. Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Interested in this major? Here are some suggested next steps.