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Environmental Science

Environmental studies majors examine a variety of scientific perspectives on environmental issues, with a focus on the growing interfaces of biology, chemistry, and earth science.

  • Wisconsin Lutheran College provides an environment in which a student can study the complexities of creation in a classroom where God’s intricate design can be recognized as such. The study of the environment and the relationship that humans have with it and with each other regarding environmental issues are addressed from a Christian perspective. This major will help prepare students to be active in society as stewards of God’s creation.

    Environmental Science vs. Environmental Studies

    The environmental science major differs from the environmental studies major in that it requires a greater understanding and application of science. The environmental science major is interdisciplinary in nature, allowing students to choose areas of focus from within the science disciplines.

    What Makes the Program Distinctive?

    Environmental science majors actively engage in research with professors, a practice not often found in undergraduate programs. WLC’s location also presents unique opportunities for environmental science students, including nearby ecologically significant lakes, rivers, and streams. WLC’s partnership with St. George’s University in Grenada offers WLC students the chance to participate in marine and freshwater studies. Students also have an opportunity to assist faculty in further development of WLC’s rain garden, composting, management of organic waste, and soil research and analysis.


    Student Research

    The number of faculty-guided undergraduate research projects is always growing. Environmental science majors can participate in a number of well-funded projects in aquatic ecology in both local and tropical watersheds, or conduct research in the field investigating the differences between native plants and invasive species in remediating wastewater. Students also may assist in research seeking to reduce phosphorus concentrations in effluent from constructed wetlands. Further studies may include soil research and analysis, research in WLC's rain garden, participation in WLC's educational composting site, and independent research related to aspirational areas of study.

    State-of-the-Art Facilities

    The biology and chemistry departments are located in Generac Hall. This 81,700-square-foot facility allows undergrads to experience state-of-the-art equipment and techniques that students at many other institutions would not have access to until graduate school. Lab study provides students with experiential learning opportunities that familiarize them with analytical and instrumental chemistry techniques. Learning concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, and soils is important to understanding the processes involved and prepares students for a variety of careers in science.


    Field Research

    Several nearby, ecologically significant lakes, rivers, and streams provide unique opportunities for field research in aquatic ecology. In the past, students have helped evaluate the effectiveness of a porous rock barrier in Lake Michigan designed to keep fish away from a nearby electrical generating station. Students also perform SCUBA inspections and record underwater video. Students don't need to travel far to conduct research and analysis, instead using WLC's very own rain garden, SPADE (soil, plant, agronomic, decomposition, and environmental) research plot, and educational composting site.

    Study Abroad

    WLC biology and environmental science students participate in research in several tropical environments. Students recently traveled to Discovery Bay, Jamaica, for exploration of the coral reef, turtle grass beds, rocky shore, and mangrove swamp. Marine biology research in Grenada allows students to assist in establishing biological monitoring in a Marine Protected Area off its southwest shore.


    Graduate School

    Environmental science majors may choose to continue their education in science disciplines. A WLC environmental science degree provides a solid educational foundation, and robust undergraduate research experience, upon which one may succeed in graduate classes.


    A bachelor's degree in environmental science from WLC can lead to a successful career in a wide range of occupations, including botanist, ecologist, forest ranger, environmental analyst, park ranger, geographer, educator, biochemist, biologist, soil conservation technician, urban and regional planner, conservation agent, environmental scientist, and zoologist.