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Environmental Science

Environmental students installing the Sweet Briar weather station
All of us are concerned about the future of the planet. We wonder how we will face a future with increasing population, limited resources, decreasing biodiversity and a changing climate. We wonder how to objectively assess risks and evidence, and how to develop policies to create a healthy, economically sound, sustainable society. These are challenges that today's young adults will face throughout their lives. Yet for every problem we face, there are solutions and the world needs a generation of environmental leaders prepared to research, develop and implement those solutions.

At Sweet Briar College, the Department of Environmental Science helps you to develop the knowledge and skills needed to bring positive change to environmental issues at the local, national and international levels. Our graduates are out there right now, helping to solve issues that are crucial to our society and, indeed, to all forms of life on our planet. Whether you are interested in environmental policy, economics, law, sustainability, environmental writing, or studying the biology, chemistry and geology of the environment, you owe it to yourself to check out what makes our environmental programs distinctive.

The first thing you will notice is that our campus really was made for the study of environmental science. You will study and explore a campus of more than 5 square miles of woods, lakes, streams, meadows, nature sanctuaries and mountain tops. When your class sets out to conduct fieldwork, you won't pile in a van and drive for an hour before getting started. You'll walk out the door, right out to your research site.You will learn to analyze soils and streams, air and water, and policy and economics. What could be better, for a student who lives for the environment, than to live in the environment you're studying?

Another thing you will notice is our commitment to the study of the environment. Sweet Briar has invested, not just in an environmental program, but in a dedicated academic department. You're not just taking a set of courses that other departments happen to offer, but are joining a program carefully designed to provide you with a structured, multidisciplinary approach to solving environmental problems. You can expect to graduate with the intellectual and practical skills you need for graduate or professional studies, employment in the public or private sector, or to just be more environmentally aware during the course of whatever life choices you make.

Our professors are consistently ranked highly for accessibility and overall excellence, so when you join our small classes, and are taught by faculty of that caliber, you can expect a personalized and focused course of study that helps you develop the knowledge and skills you need for success. Are you interested in research? You can conduct original research with our professors. Are you interested in being outside? You can participate in our active outdoor programs. Are you interested in getting a job after graduation? Our internship program will help you gain experience and develop contacts, and your close relationships with your teachers means they will take the time to compose personalized letters of reference to tell prospective employers exactly what you will bring to their organizations.

You won't find another campus like this, and you won't find another program like this. Please feel free to contact any of the professors in the department for more information.