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Students taking water samples at Singleton Matthews Farm.

Environmental Studies - Earth System Science

It can be overwhelming (and utterly fascinating) to think about the complex systems and forces that shape Earth’s environment—how multiple pieces fit together in a giant jigsaw puzzle of cause and effect.

Degree Types
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Research Facilities
Singleton-Mathews Farm

In the Earth System Science track of the Environmental Studies major, you’ll use knowledge and methods from multiple fields to gain a deeper understanding of how these systems interact to affect various aspects of life on our planet.

As a student in the Environmental Studies department, you’ll explore contemporary environmental issues and develop professional competencies through innovative courses based on experiential learning, the scientific method, and understanding different perspectives.

Future Career Paths

Environmental Studies students will be well prepared for graduate study and to pursue careers as:

  • Policy analysts
  • Science researchers
  • Environmental consultants
  • Environmental health specialists
  • Urban or regional planners
  • Science educators
  • Naturalists

Distinctive Courses

ENV 1131 - Environmental Problem Solving

This course is the introductory course for environmental science. An interdisciplinary study of environmental problems that considers world populations, energy, air and water pollution, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and environmental health. Class discussion will center on solutions including technical and human behavioral modifications that can lead to the sustainable use of our environment.

ENV 2120 - Geographic Information Systems

This course will cover the fundamentals of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, why it is important, and how it is being applied in such diverse fields as urban planning, marketing, health, criminal justice, political science, natural resources, and land conservation. The class will focus on practical applications of spatial research—such as data collection, utilizing local and global data, and analyzing spatial information to explore and investigate real-world applications of GIS. The overall goal of the course is to provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to understand the uses and limitations of GIS, and conduct typical GIS operations and analyses.

ENV 3110 - Climatology

Will future climate changes advance gradually, or abruptly and catastrophically, as they have in the past? Understanding processes that have affected climate in the past will help us predict future global warming. This course explores the mechanisms and indicators of global change, and treats topics such as the “snowball earth,” ocean fertilization, oceanic methane release and the ocean conveyor belt.

Senior Capstone

Environmental Studies and Biology major Beth Lang talks about her senior capstone — her study on restoring the ecosystem on the Singleton Matthews Farm as the culmination of her Environmental Studies and Biology training at McDaniel.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Students gathered at Singleton Matthews Farm.

Faculty Spotlight Jason Scullion Assistant Professor and Department Chair

Professor Scullion is a conservation scientist focused on the conservation of wilderness landscapes, particularly intact forests. His current research is focused on improving forest governance in protected areas and frontier landscapes and developing tools to improve landscape management.