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Is Environmental Studies the Right Program for You?

August 3, 2018
Posted by: David Sands

Environmental Studies

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that two-thirds of 2017 high school graduates are enrolled in a higher education degree program. Deciding which college to attend can be overwhelming. Not only are you choosing your career path as a teenager, but you’re also putting thousands of dollars into this decision. If you’re considering the Environmental Studies degree program at UMFK, here are some things to know.

What Is Environmental Studies?

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary program that combines concepts from numerous fields. The environment is a topic of concern in disciplines as diverse as biology, geology, entrepreneurship and public policy. Our Environmental Studies program provides a framework for studying human-ecosystem interaction through an environmental lens.

Whether the issue is deciding whether to recycle or identifying the most cost-effective way to adhere to environmental regulations, every agency, business and institution faces environmental challenges. Our Environmental Studies program will teach you how humans relate to the environment around them and how environmental crises can be mitigated using technology and science.

What Can I Expect From an Environmental Studies Degree?

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies is a degree program that combines classroom learning with outdoor experience. This program is centered around environmental issues that affect small towns, rural areas and wildlands. With this program, students will learn general principles of ecological systems (components, processes and interrelationships) and the interactions that exist between human civilizations and natural ecosystems in the global environment.

What Does the Environmental Studies Degree Program Entail?

Our curriculum emphasizes coursework in human-environment interactions and terrestrial ecology. Program requirements include:

  • A minimum of 120 acceptable semester credit hours
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0
  • Completion of 45 upper level credit hours
  • Completion of the General Education Requirements
  • Completion of required courses and a Specialized Area of Study

The Environmental Studies degree program is purposely broad so you can pursue the topics that interest you most. We offer many specialized concentrations, including:

  • Field Studies: Ecology of Land and Water – Introduces the theory and practice of ecology.
  • Game Warden/Park Ranger – Combines coursework in field biology and law enforcement, and emphasizes knowledge of wildlife management.
  • Sustainability – Addresses sustainable solutions to achieve balance between population growth, organized society, the environment, technology and social justice.
  • Wildlife Biology – Provides a broad understanding of wildlife biology and management.

All Environmental Studies students are expected to participate in a Field Experience Program as part of their curriculum. This portion of the degree involves experiential learning activities through short field trips to local areas and multi-day trips across the U.S. This sets the foundation for capstone research done in the final year of study.

Senior Year
  • Design and execute in-depth laboratory or field research.
  • Present capstone work at a public lecture at the end of the semester.
Field Study
  • MOFGA Common Ground Fair, Unity, ME
  • UMaine Orono Electron Microscope Facility, Orono, ME
  • Baxter State Park, Millinocket, ME
  • Hedgehog Mountain, Square Lake, ME
  • Eagle Lake, Eagle Lake, ME
  • UMFK Wilderness Camp/Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Allagash, ME
  • St. John Bog, St. John Plantation, ME
  • St. John River, Aroostook County, ME
  • Fish River, Aroostook County, ME
  • Perley Brook, Fort Kent, ME
  • Little Black Lake, Fort Kent, ME
  • Former Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, ME
  • Fundy National Park, Alma, New Brunswick, Canada

The opportunity to practice independent research is vital in helping students prepare for graduate study or future careers. Students in the Environmental Studies program also benefit from working one-on-one with faculty and participating in mentorship opportunities.

What Jobs Can I Get With an Environmental Studies Degree?

As awareness for environmental issues grows and ecological impact is more frequently considered in all aspects of government, business and daily life, the need for people knowledgeable in this specialty grows as well. Typical careers for Environmental Studies graduates focus on the conservation, protection and use of natural resources. Potential employers include:

  • Regulatory and enforcement agencies
  • Nongovernmental environmental advocacy organizations
  • Educational institutions
  • Resource management organizations
  • Municipal groups involved in community planning and public relations
  • Private companies

The University of Maine at Fort Kent Is Right for You

The University of Maine at Fort Kent is known for its tightknit campus and supportive faculty. In addition to having lower-than-average tuition, we are here to help tailor your education plan for success. We are ranked as one of the top 10 Best Colleges in Maine for both online and in-person curriculum. Apply online now!