Samford University will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences degree through its Biology Department this fall.
The new degree will prepare students for jobs in the environmental departments of industry and government and for graduate school in environmental sciences.
"The environmental field is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of national and global economies, and is expected to be one of the 20 most employable areas in the 21st century," noted Dr. Ronald L. Jenkins, Chair of the Samford Biology Department.
"Business and industry today must comply with more than 10,000 federal and state environmental rules and regulations, which has made them much more environmentally conscious," said Dr. Jenkins.
Samford already has biology students pursuing environmental science careers. The new degree will add emphasis to such areas as environmental chemistry, physics, ecology, plant taxonomy and field zoology. In chemistry, for example, the new degree will offer more analytical and instrumentation courses, Jenkins noted.
"The new program will create an even better fit between the students’ degree and their expertise," said Jenkins.
As the program grows, Samford plans to add such new courses as aquatic biology, water quality and environmental toxicology, he said.
Samford faculty are active in research projects and students are involved in externships with industry, but Jenkins believes these opportunities will increase with the new degree program. "The opportunity for undergraduate research in environmental science is certainly bright," he said.
Samford already offers a Master of Science in Environmental Management, meaning faculty expertise and library holdings are in place for the new undergraduate degree. It also offers an undergraduate concentration in Environmental Science/Geographic Information Systems, which combines environmental and field biology with remote sensing and computer mapping.
"The new Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences, combined with the Master’s degree and EGIS programs, gives Samford one of the most well rounded and complete environmental curricula in the state," said Jenkins.