Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies

Why Major in Environmental Studies?

As an Environmental Studies major at Penn State Altoona, you will develop your skills and knowledge that prepare you for employment that addresses contemporary environmental problems. If you are passionate about the natural world and concerned about issues related to air and water quality, ecosystem health, and sustainability, the Environmental Studies major is an ideal choice. Your studies will relate to real world issues and problems, and you’ll experience hands-on learning in the form of field work, field trips, and internships.

Internships and Research

Students majoring in Environmental Studies are required to complete an internship and/or a senior-level research project, providing you with hands-on experience, resume-building, and networking.

For internships, students earn academic credit in exchange for work in a professional field related to environmental studies. For example, students have completed internships at government agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with local and non-profit groups such as conservation districts, conservancies, and wildlife and nature centers, among other possibilities.

For senior-level research projects, students earn academic credit in exchange for conducting a research project on an issue related to environmental studies. For example, you may spend a semester evaluating the water quality on campus, enhancing the campus recycling system, researching the effects of old-field succession on bird communities, or studying the transportation habits of students.


The B.A. in Environmental Studies prepares you for employment as an environmental professional with non-profit conservation groups, governmental agencies, and public interest groups. You will also be prepared for postgraduate study in environmental science, public policy, the humanities, and law school.

The B.S. in Environmental Studies prepares you for graduate studies and/or employment in the sciences, such as geology, geosciences, environmental sciences, and physical geography.