3 July 2024 New Environmental Science Major By Colin Spencer '19

Program promotes interdisciplinary sciences to understand and address challenges surrounding the environment. 

Learn more about Environmental Science here

Hobart and William Smith are excited to announce its newest major in Environmental Science, offered as a Bachelor of Science. The program equips students with the knowledge and skills to understand and tackle environmental problems from multiple scientific perspectives. Through advanced course work in biology and geoscience, students will examine the causes of environmental problems and explore how the sciences can contribute to solutions. Graduates will be prepared for post-graduate study or careers in fields ranging from conservation biology and ecosystem management to governmental and non-profit work.

The program will co-exist with the existing Environmental Studies major. 

Professor of Biology Bradley Cosentino discusses the ecosystem that supports life in a quaking bog.

“The new major is ideal for students who are passionate about science and the environment,” says Professor of Biology Bradley Cosentino, chair of the new program. “The diverse ecosystems in the Finger Lakes region, from lakes and wetlands to forests and agricultural lands, present so many opportunities for hands-on learning and field research.” 

Hobart and William Smith’s location on Seneca Lake serves as the perfect backdrop for useful course resources while also capitalizing on HWS’ Finger Lakes Institute, the Henry Hanley Biological Field Preserve, and Coopers Woods.

Students will take courses in biology, geoscience and environmental studies, along with electives available in chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics. The major culminates in a capstone project, which could involve applied research, a planning project for environmental decision-making, or a literature review of a relevant topic.  

“The unique aspect of this program is that students are taking upper-level courses in both biology and geoscience, along with statistics and spatial sciences,” says Professor of Environmental Studies Kristen Brubaker, a founder of the program. “These courses will help our students stand out from others, with high-demand skills. Students will be prepared for graduate studies in many environmental science fields, including water resources, conservation biology and ecosystem management.”

Top: Students in “Introduction to Geology” talk with Associate Professor of Geoscience David Kendrick during a visit to Chimney Bluffs State Park on Lake Ontario.