students hills envsci
Environmental Science
Wheaton College students in the forest
Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Why Study Environmental Science?

Environmental Science is the interdisciplinary application of natural and social sciences as well as the humanities to understanding God's creation and the human and environmental interactions that surround us. It is a problem-based discipline that draws on a broad understanding of biology, geology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics to develop holistic solutions to pressing environmental challenges. At Wheaton, all this must be integrated under a strong biblical environmental ethic to comprehensively steward the environment which God has entrusted to us.

department faculty
internship and job sites

contact-covers-for-micro-contentCONTACT Newsletter

Stay connected with your classmates and with the department. More than a decade of archived issues to reference. 

Environmental Science News and Stories


Why Study Environmental Science at Wheaton?

You’ll spend time exploring the complex systems that make up God’s creation. You’ll examine interactions between human activities and the natural environment and develop holistic solutions to pressing environmental challenges, all within the context of a robust Christian creation care ethic.

All of our faculty are published authors, with books published through Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford university presses, among others. Their expertise covers the breadth of environmental science, from ecology to pollution, urban studies to international development, and water resources to sustainability.

The Wheaton College Science Station in the Black Hills of South Dakota, ongoing connections with other environmental institutes, and our strategic location in the greater Chicago area create unique opportunities for study, research, and service in environmental and conservation science.

A Rocha Wheaton Club

A Rocha Wheaton is the student chapter of the international Christian conservation organization where you’ll participate in a wide variety of environmental action projects.

Experiential Learning

International Sustainable Development Studies Institute
The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, provides opportunities for you to develop cross-cultural skills and study sustainable food systems, the political ecology of forests, and the culture and ecology of the Andaman Sea.

Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR)
Environmental Science is a natural fit for those interested in learning about and practicing international development through a HNGR internship.

Wheaton in Chicago
Urban environments are where the majority of the world's population lives. The Wheaton in Chicago program provides practical experience through the semester-long program at Wheaton's Chicago location.

Green Operations

Sustainability and the stewardship of God’s creation are a top priority at driving green operations at Wheaton. We’ve attained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for the Memorial Student Center and LEED Gold certification for the Meyer Science Center. In 2010, Wheaton College was included in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 268 Green Colleges.

Environmental Internships

All environmental science students will participate in at least one internship experience. The program provides great assistance to students finding the right internship fit for them.

Summer Research

Many environmental science students receive funding to participate in specialized research, both with Wheaton faculty and as visiting researchers at Universities across the country.

What Will I Learn?

A major in Environmental Science combines core scientific disciplines with specialized technical environmental courses and professional preparation to prepare you for a wide variety of environmentally related careers.

A minor in Earth and Environmental Science supports many other majors by bringing an informed creation care framework to a variety of vocational areas.

Consult the course catalog for full listing of current courses available in this field.

Possible Careers for Environmental Scientists

Majoring in Environmental Science extends far beyond conservation and protection. Renewability. Sustainability. Efficiency. These words describe the engine that will drive the economic growth in the near future and for decades to come. The Center for Vocation and Career will be happy to partner with you as you explore the many career opportunities open to you with this degree.

Learn more about green careers.

At the core, Environmental Scientists are problem solvers. We aim to identify and understand problematic human-environment relationships and to propose viable solutions that are within social, economic, and political bounds. Environmental Scientists are involved with a variety of global issues including, but not limited to:

  • Creation Care
  • International Sustainable Development
  • Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
  • Pollution and Toxicology
  • Climate Change

More than 80% of our students are accepted by the graduate school of their choice, going on to earn:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)

The most recent graduate school placements

  • Duke University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of North Carolina
  • Universiteit Utrecht
  • University of Illinois
  • Westminster Theological Seminary
The Environmental Science program allowed me to deepen my knowledge and explore my interests in both the natural and social sciences to gain a fuller and more interpreted understanding of the world. The faculty are committed, kind, and consistently make space in their lives and homes for students. — Kelly Wilson '16, Overland Park, Kansas
Outside of the curriculum, there are opportunities for students to engage and apply what they learn in the classroom, from positions in Student Government to Wheaton A Rocha, the environmental club. There are also study abroad experiences in Belize, Thailand, and New Zealand. — Yuxi Zhao '16
I worked closely with faculty in conducting research on wastewater treatment technology . . . participated in two summer internships . . . and had the flexibility to take additional science and math courses to further develop my technical skill set. I believe these opportunities have prepared me well as a Master’s of Science student in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan. — Jacob Kvasnicka '16