Environmental Biology Option - B.S.

About The Program

Environmental Biology or Ecology is the scientific study of organisms and their environment. It involves examining the distribution and abundance of organisms, how they interact with each other and with their environment, and how energy and materials are used by natural communities. Environmental biologists are usually persons who are curious about how nature works, enjoy solving problems, and are deeply committed both to solving pressing environmental problems and helping society. Most environmental biologists enjoy the outdoors, and conduct research both outdoors and in the laboratory as they attempt to answer questions concerning how nature works. Many environmental biologists teach at universities, colleges and in high schools, museums, and nature centers. Others use ecological knowledge to solve environmental problems and to manage natural resources. Still, others work as advisors concerning environmental issues to elected officials, politicians, and other policymakers.
Our curriculum in Environmental Biology is designed to be rigorous and challenging and to provide both depth of knowledge in environmental biology as well a solid, broad background in the breadth of biology. Our philosophy is that our students should first be a biologist and then specialists within biological science. Because biology is a science that is built on our understanding of the physical world as revealed by the physical sciences, this program like our Biology programs requires extensive coursework in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics.



Often environmental biologists must be concerned with ethical and societal issues as well as more purely scientific considerations. Thus, this program combines rigorous training in science with a strong background in the liberal arts. Our goal is to prepare our ecology students to meet the challenges of today’s world and to be ready for the unknown challenges of the future. Thus we strongly believe that the best training for the future is to become a lifelong learner. The Biology faculty at Millersville is a group of such learners who attempt to teach students how to become critical thinkers. We help our students learn to write and speak well and to become proficient in analyzing and solving problems as well as develop the technical expertise they need to become sources of knowledge and skill wanted by employers and society. We attempt to help our students develop their intellectual skills to their full potential.

We strongly believe that scientific research is an extremely valuable experience for students. Therefore, the members of the Biology Faculty maintain active research programs specifically geared to the participation and training of undergraduates. Not only do these activities provide useful training and experience for our students, but they help keep the faculty abreast of and participating in the advancement of biological knowledge, and ultimately these research and other scholarly activities aid us becoming better teachers.

One strength of our Environmental Biology program is in the balance between with solid, basic, “hard science” and work on “real” environmental issues. We provide opportunities to do coops and independent research. In recent years MU environmental biology majors have completed a wide variety of coop placements, including those at the Wetlands Institute, ZooAmerica, Lancaster Labs, the National Aquarium at Baltimore, several Pennsylvania government agencies, the Florida State Parks, Sea World and others. The fact that these organizations continue to actively request more of our majors testifies to the quality of our students. Our students also engage in collaborative research with scientists at Stroud Water Research Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and other institutions.

Millersville University Center for Environmental Sciences
Our environmental biology students benefit greatly from a campus with rich resources and expertise in a wide range of environmental subspecialties. Rigorous programs and outstanding faculties in meteorology, geology, chemistry, oceanography, and geography enhance the strength of our program in environmental biology. The Millersville University Center for Environmental Sciences (MUCES) serves as an organizational framework for all these programs and involves faculty, students and off-campus organizations in partnerships dedicated to research and education on matters relating to the understanding, management, and protection of the natural resources of the lower Susquehanna region. MUCES provides a forum for scientists, planners, developers, agriculturalists, educators, manufacturers, government agencies, and community leaders to foster a broad-based information exchange in support of the continuing work of environmental stewardship. The Center promotes research, collaborations, and novel approaches to regional environmental problems in the four major areas of air quality, land use, water resources, and biological resources. The MUCES also administers five interdisciplinary environmental minors in environmental science. More information is available at the CES website.


Our environmental biology graduates have careers in government and the private sector in Maine to Florida as well as Michigan, Texas, California, Washington, Hawaii, and Colorado. A number have obtained Ph.D.s from prestigious graduate programs in ecology such as Rutgers, Colorado State, Montana, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest University and work in academia, government, or in industry.

Our environmental biology graduates work as lab and field technicians, outdoor educators, park naturalists, science specialists, program scientists, environmental consultants, natural resource managers, aquatic biologists, environmental planners, wildlife managers, wetlands scientists, foresters, and professors.

We are quite proud of those who have received Ph.D.’s and now teach and conduct research at such prestigious institutions as the Universities of Washington (Seattle), Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia, Wilkes University and Tufts University, as well as Stockton College and Wabash College. Many of our graduates have become international recognized scientists. One graduate is among the leading experts concerning the behavior and conservation of endangered bird species, another is one of the world’s leading experts in the classification of insects and spiders. Others are outstanding experts concerning the development of behavior in young primates, the behavioral ecology of crows and jays, and the ecology and behavior of squirrels.