B.S. Environmental Science

Prepare for a career in conservation, aquatic biology, environmental health, ecological restoration, and sustainable natural resource management.
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
Careers & Salaries Annual Employment Report
Delivery On Campus

Pursue Your Passion for the Natural World

UW-Stout's B.S. Environmental Science degree program is designed to prepare you for careers in conservation, environmental health, and sustainable management of our natural resources. Our polytechnic approach focuses on helping you develop practical skills through applied field and lab experiences that address real-world environmental problems. You'll get personalized support in our close-knit program—from research with faculty to support in the classroom—to ensure you succeed, whether you pursue graduate work or go directly into your career.

Learn practical skills through fieldwork, labs, research experiments, a capstone project and internships to solve real-life environmental problems. / UW-Stout

Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


Degree Concentrations

As part of the B.S. Environmental Science program, you will pursue a concentration to the develop specialized skills necessary in your desired career path.

  • Aquatic Biology: Careers in aquatic and wetland ecosystem management and restoration, fishery science, limnological research, and water quality testing 
  • Environmental Health: Careers in public health and epidemiology, pollution monitoring, environmental remediation, food safety and security, and toxicology research on new chemicals
  • Natural Resource Conservation: Careers in ecological restoration, land management, wildlife and wildlands conservation, ecological monitoring, wetland delineation, and soil conservation
  • Human Dimensions: Careers working with stakeholders and community members in environmental management, conservation planning, non-profit leadership, environmental justice, environmental policy, conservation advocacy, and outreach and education

Program Minors

You can also easily earn minors that develop additional in-demand expertise. 

Applied Learning Projects & Research

Environmental Science students engage directly in research with faculty and staff during capstone projects or as undergraduate researchers. In the past five years, our students have worked on a wide array of faculty and industry-supported projects.

Water Research

  • Paid opportunities in local stream and lake water quality monitoring
  • NSF-funded LAKES research involving social-environmental science research collaborations on our own Lake Menomin and the Red Cedar Watershed
  • Winter limnology of Lake Menomin
  • Monitoring wetland restoration project success on local WRP wetlands o Studying harmful algal blooms in Lake Menomin and other local lakes with faculty and our Center for Limnological Research and Rehabilitation
  • GIS modelling of phosphorus pollution

Natural Areas Management

  • Dobb’s landing collaboration for prairie management with The Prairie Enthusiasts
  • Development of management plans and invasive species monitoring at the local Colfax-Red Cedar Preserve and Recreation Area
  • Surveying rare plant species and mosses at the local Devil’s Punchbowl Preserve (collaboration with Landmark Conservancy)
  • Monitoring the effects of fire on prairies at the local Dunnville Bottoms State Recreation Area
  • Small mammal trapping in restored prairie ecosystems
  • Restoration planning and invasive plant species management in our campus Outdoor Classroom  

Environmental Health

  • Radiation surveys of Menomonie
  • Assessment of pesticides in the well waters of local subdivisions
  • Human health effects of harmful algal blooms in Lake Menomin

Additional Research Opportunities

You can also apply for student research grants through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and take advantage of opportunities to travel to national research conferences (paid by UW-Stout). Our students have presented regionally and nationally at The Prairie Enthusiasts, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, National Council of Undergraduate Research, National Environmental Health Association, Ecological Society of America, and other conferences.

In-Depth Coursework

Your first year will include a combination of introductory courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics, as well as a few general education courses. You’ll also take a one-credit Environmental Science Profession course to better identify possible career tracks.

As you advance, you'll build in-depth knowledge with specialized courses that might include:

  • Organismal Biology: Plant Biology, Zoology, Ichthyology, Wildlife Techniques, Natural History of the Neotropics (Belize), Vascular Plant Taxonomy, Applied Plant Science and Management, and Entomology 
  • Ecological Systems: Ecology, Soil Science and Conservation, Restoration Ecology, and Intermediate and Advanced Geographic Information Systems 
  • Environmental Health and Chemistry: Epidemiology, Environmental Toxicology, Analytical Chemistry, and Environmental Chemistry 
  • Advanced Aquatic Studies: Aquatic Ecology and Management, Wetland Ecology and Delineation, and Applied Watershed Hydrology 

Career & Graduate Degree Pathways

Environmental scientists are in demand, with an annual job market growth rate of 5% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2021, the median wage for environmental scientists was $76,530. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% increase in demand for environmental scientists over the next 10 years and suggests heightened public interest in the hazards facing the environment, as well as increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, are expected to spur additional demand for environmental scientists and specialists.

  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Environmental consulting
  • Water quality testing
  • Agricultural industry
  • Renewable energy
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Sustainability
  • Natural resource management

While many B.S. Environmental Science graduates pursue careers immediately after graduation, others pursue advanced degrees in a wide variety of biology, chemistry, and natural resource management fields many of which are offered at UW-Stout.

  • Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Conservation Biology
  • M.S. Sustainable Management
  • M.S. Risk Control

International Study Opportunities

We encourage you to enhance your undergraduate experience through faculty-led WinTerm and summer courses, university semester abroad experiences, and national student exchange opportunities. 

  • BIO 270 Natural History of the Neotropics provides a chance to study in Belize 
  • BIO 111 Science, the Environment, and Sustainability offers a chance to study in Hawai'i
  • Semester programs are available in Fiji and Australia

Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more about the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science.

Request Information

Student Internships

Hands-on, experiential learning is a critical component of the B.S. Environmental Science curriculum. You will complete both an internship and a capstone for academic credit. These resume-building experiences are critical to developing practical job skills and qualities (effective interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and good judgment) that employers demand.

Recent student internships include:

  • Conservation Intern, Wisconsin DNR
  • Aquatic Plant Intern, Minnesota DNR
  • Biological Science Technician, National Park Service, Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network
  • Student Manager, UW-Sprout Campus Garden
  • Conservation Intern, Montana Conservation Corps, Eagle Mount
  • Fisheries Biological Aide, Idaho Fish and Game
  • Forestry Intern, Adaptive Restoration LLC
  • Water Resources Intern, City of Eagan, MN
  • Environmental Health and Safety Intern, Integer, Minneapolis
  • Environmental Health Intern, Pierce County Public Health Department
  • Natural Resources Intern, Dunn County Land Conservation
  • Restoration Crew, Applied Ecological Services
  • Field Crew Member, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
  • Limnological Research Technician, Center for Limnological Research and Rehabilitation, UW-Stout

Campus Facilities

UW-Stout has several on-campus facilities that support classroom activities and student research. Opportunities for ENSC students include:

  • Greenhouse: Gain horticultural skills, study bioremediation, and grow native plants for local restoration projects.
  • Campus Garden: Learn about sustainable agriculture, market gardening, pest management and volunteer management.
  • Center for Limnological Research and Rehabilitation (CLRR): Collect and analyze water samples to study lake pollution and remediation.
  • Analytical Chemistry Laboratories: Study water, air, and sediment pollution
  • Outdoor Classroom Campus Natural Area: practice restoration techniques and learn about invasive species.
  • Natural History Collections: preserve, catalog, and study plant and animal specimens.

In addition to these on-campus locations, many upper-level Environmental Science courses include field trips to local sites so that students can see real-world examples of topics covered in class.

Student Testimonials

I learned a lot about how to be more professional in many aspects as well as how to write a good scientific paper. As well as the various components that make a good scientist and the amount of time and effort it takes to be successful in whatever career path you choose.  
-Jake Daugherty

The UW-Stout Environmental Science program helped me to stay on track to be able to graduate on time. I feel very prepared on my job searches thanks to all the knowledge I have gained from my classes.
-Sidney Cottew

I originally went to stout unsure of what I wanted to do.  I then changed majors and entered the environmental science program. From there on out I felt like I had found where I was supposed to be. I enjoyed the professors, the students in the program, and the material taught. It’s been a great four years. 
-Peter Kleinschmidt

The program prepared me to accomplish the tasks that employers is all different fields of science are looking for, from the lab to the field, I never felt unprepared.   
-Tyler Christensen

The UW-Stout Environmental Science program prepared me for the natural resource field by providing me with knowledge and an abundance of opportunities to obtain hands-on experience both in the classroom and outside of it.   
-Chandra Wiley

This program helped me realize what I wanted from my degree and career. I came in knowing that I wanted to be an active member within the environmental community, yet I had no real direction or focus and this program has helped remedy that. This program has positively affected not only my communication skills, but also given me the opportunity to break into the academic discourse surrounding the environmental community so that I feel more at home and centered then if I was an outsider looking in. Overall, this program has helped me become more communicative, social, hardworking and understanding, while also giving me the necessary tools to succeed in the environmental field.   
-Jeremy Eckert

The Environmental Science program at UW-Stout has offered so many opportunities that I would not have gotten elsewhere, allowed me hands-on learning which has benefited me as a student, a person, and as a future employee.   
-Kayla Christianson

Stout's broad spectrum of classes/minors allows you to tailor your diploma to what you like to do. Adding GIS, Plant Science, Chemistry, or other minors to your degree can open up pathways that you weren't even aware of.   
-Tim Jackson

The environmental science program helped me be successful because it allowed me to grow as a scientist and researcher. This program allowed me to experience different opportunities that led me to what career I would want to be working in the future.   
-Kat Cardinal

Nonprofit, Public & Private Partnerships

The Environmental Science partners with a number of nonprofit, public, and private organizations to provide additional networking, learning, and volunteering opportunities, including:

  • Colfax Red Cedar Preserve and Recreation Area
  • The Prairie Enthusiasts Chippewa Savannas Chapter
  • Dunn County Health Department
  • Dunn County Conservation Department
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Landmark Conservancy
  • Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership
  • City of Menomonie
  • Trout Unlimited Clearwaters Chapter
ES Advisory Committee

Environmental Science Advisory Committee

Industry Representatives

Adam Cameron Wetland Ecologist and GIS Specialist Kjolhaug Environmental Services Company
Julia Chapman Lecturer Biology Department
Chase Cummings County Conservationist Dunn County Land and Water Conservation
Kathryn Gallagher Director Dunn County Health Department
Holly  Geurts Soil Conservationist USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Anna Hilger Chemist/Mirobiologist Eau Claire Environmental Health Division of Environmental Health Dept
Megen Hines Environmental Program Coordinator City of Menomonie
Timothy Jackson Agricultural Land Use, Planning and Ordinance Specialist WI Dept of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
Bill James Research Scientist Sustainability Sciences Institute
Jeanette Kelly Citizen Science Director Beaver Creek Department
Jodi Lepsch Water Resources Management Specialist Wisconsin DNR- West Central Region
Bill Schmidt Natural Resource Specialist Eau Galle Recreational Area
Marion Shambeau Owner 4-Control
John Sippl District Conservationist Dunn County Natural Resource Conservation Service
Amanda Smith Water Resources Management Specialist Wisconsin DNR
Missy Sparrow-Lien Wildlife Biologist Wisconsin DNR-Menomonie Field Station
Peter Strand GIS-Specialist Eau Claire County
Amanda Veith Environmental Health Inspector Hennepin County, Human Services and Public Health Department, Epidemiology and Environmental Health
Kasey Yallaly Fisheries Biologist Wisconsin DNR-Baldwin Field Station

Faculty Representatives

Mike Bessert Professor, Biology Department UW- Stout
Julie Beston Assistant professor, Biology Department UW-Stout
Keith Gilland Assistant Professor, Biology Department UW-Stout
Nicole Hayes Assistant professor, Biology Department UW-Stout
Arthur Kneeland Senior Lecturer, Biology Department UW-Stout
Matthew Kuchta Professor, Physics Department UW-Stout
Tina Lee Professor, Social Sciences Department UW-Stout
Mandy Little Professor, Biology Department UW-Stout
Scott McGovern Senior Lecturer, Biology Department UW-Stout
Innisfree McKinnon Assistant Professor, Social Sciences Department UW-Stout
Ana Vande Linde Professor, Chemistry Department UW-Stout

Student Representatives

Elizabeth Bartho Current Student, Aquatic Biology Concentration UW-Stout
McKenzie Librande Alumnus, Current student pursuing PSM in Conservation Biology UW-Stout
Halle Maki-Waller Current Student, Natural Resources Concentration UW-Stout
Ted Welch Current Student, Natural Resources Concentration UW-Stout
Student Organizations

As an environmental science student, there are several campus student organizations devoted to connecting you with other students who share your interests.

Environmental Science

All Environmental Science News
Environmental science student Nguyen gains lab experience through Freshwater Collaborative Featured Image

Environmental science student Nguyen gains lab experience through Freshwater Collaborative

Through the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin, An Nguyen completed an internship this past summer with other UW System students.
Research at Devil’s Punchbowl identifies more than 200 plant species Featured Image

Research at Devil’s Punchbowl identifies more than 200 plant species

Devil’s Punchbowl Preserve near Menomonie has been protected for nearly 25 years by the Landmark Conservancy.
Travel opens broader world to students as they prepare for careers, college life Featured Image

Travel opens broader world to students as they prepare for careers, college life

Summer study abroad experiences include Sweden, Hawaii, Scotland and Botswana