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Environmental Science

Departments of Biology/Toxicology and Chemistry/Geology/Physics

The College Arts and Sciences


Patricia A. Saunders, Professor of Biology


Soren Brauner, Professor of Biology

Mason Posner, Professor of Biology, Trustee's Professor

Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer, Professor of Chemistry, Trustees' Professor

Andrew J. Trimble, Associate Professor of Biology/Toxicology

Cindy Perkovich, Assistant Professor of Biology

William A. Reinthal, Professional Instructor of Geology

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science


The mission of Ashland University's environmental science program is to deepen understanding of our environment and contribute to the solution of environmental problems through the education of students, research and scholarship, stewardship of several environmental preserves, and community outreach programs.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students majoring or minoring in environmental science will be able to:

  1. Show a breadth of knowledge linking environmental science concepts and environmental issues from a natural science perspective;

  2. Identify the underlying causes and effects of human impacts, based on fundamental science concepts and basic knowledge of natural systems; and

  3. Apply knowledge of economic, social, policy, and ethical aspects of environmental issues to the evaluation of environmental problems and solutions to these problems.

In addition, environmental science majors will double major in a primary science area (biology, chemistry, or toxicology) and will demonstrate the competencies common to all science majors, summarized briefly below.

The details of these competencies are presented in their respective program descriptions and will be assessed separately by the biology, chemistry, and toxicology programs as appropriate to those specific disciplines.

Students majoring in environmental science will be able to:

  1. Apply the scientific method to scientific problems in a variety of contexts;

  2. Apply fundamental concepts and demonstrate a breadth of knowledge commensurate with course work;

  3. Demonstrate practical knowledge and skill in the use and application of scientific equipment and instrumentation, experimental design, sample collection and preparation, and data analysis;

  4. Read, understand, summarize and think critically about scholarship and research projects presented in the primary scientific literature; and

  5. Communicate scientific findings successfully to colleagues, including oral presentations and written papers.

  6. Apply quantitative concepts and skills to data, including summary, analysis, visualization, and inference for a variety of research questions.

Facilities and Equipment

Environmental Science students and faculty use the facilities and equipment within the biology, chemistry, geology, and toxicology laboratories described in those areas. Ashland University maintains five environmental preserves that encompass 396 acres, most near campus, that include wetlands, streams, old field, forest, and prairie. The Black Fork Wetlands Environmental Studies Center includes a classroom building, 400-foot boardwalk, and observation tower. A 2500-square foot greenhouse with adjoining lab houses a permanent plant collection and provides additional space for student and faculty research.

Description of Major

Environmental science students acquire a strong foundation in sciences with a major in a primary area, along with the interdisciplinary foundations of the environmental science major. The double major enables students to understand environmental problems and seek solutions from a scientific perspective while also considering the economic, social, political, and ethical aspects of environmental issues. Environmental science graduates enter a variety of careers. Many students choose to go directly into the workforce, while others pursue graduate studies. AU graduates are working in environmental monitoring, environmental and toxicology labs (both private and governmental), parks and zoos, research laboratory settings, and environmental education.

Degree Requirements

Assessment – All environmental science majors will be assessed during EVS 276 Environmental Science Seminar and EVS 476 Issues in Environmental Science for proficiency in the EVS student learning outcomes listed above. In addition, they will be assessed for competency in their primary discipline through the process administered by that department (biology, chemistry, or toxicology).

Environmental Science Courses and Descriptions

See Course Descriptions section of catalog