The choice between a B.A. in Environmental Studies vs. a B.A. in Environmental Science is an important decision for any potential environmental studies major, and the program committee wants to be sure that you make the choice wisely.

The environmental science degree is meant to provide substantial depth in the technical aspects of the discipline. (That major will always be a second major to a first BA major in chemistry, biology, or geology.) The environmental studies degree is designed for the student with an abiding interest in the general environmental problems faced by humans, with special concern for their social and policy aspects.

"Science" Doesn't Mean a Better Job

Some students are initially drawn to the "science" degree because it might look more serious for future employers. In truth, employers hire people with many different skills, not just the more technical skills that the "science" degree favors. Students in both degree programs should be successful in obtaining challenging and rewarding jobs. The "studies" degree is excellent preparation for graduate work in environmental management and related academic or professional fields -- planning, law, policy, teaching, geography, etc.

"Studies" Provides More Flexibility

The "science" degree essentially requires the student to choose environmental science immediately upon arrival at Bucknell in order to complete the courses. This is most suitable for students who are very sure about their career goals. A student taking the "science" option has up to 19 of their courses specified between the two major (versus 10 for the "studies"), which leaves less room for a range of elective courses.  "Studies" students have the opportunity to double major in a range of related fields like economics or Spanish, which can widen their professional options.

Get More Information

Please consult with the Program Director or any faculty member in the program for guidance in this choice. See the Faculty listings page.

Other departments offer technical degrees relevant to environmental issues that might be appropriate for some students -- especially environmental geology and civil and environmental engineering.