Picture of students working in a science lab.Global climate change, pollution, and plastic waste hurting our environment are in desperate need of advocates to help. To fill the demand, Holy Cross College has created an environmental science minor.

“The environmental science minor is a set of courses within the discipline that will complement the biology major. Specifically, the minor investigates how humans interact with their natural world, defines environmental problems, and works to find solutions. Like all minors at Holy Cross College, there is a set of required courses that must be taken and a subset of elective courses needed to earn the minor,” said Rodney Robichaud, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Physical and Life Sciences and Assistant Professor of Biology.

Program advantages

Many benefits are available to undergraduates, including small classes (average class size is 14), internships to apply classroom teaching to real-world problems, and the ability to conduct research alongside the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College students.

“Students will benefit from the environmental science minor through a focused exploration of the minor’s topic area.  The minor will help prepare a student majoring in biology for job opportunities within the broad spectrum of environmental sciences after graduation or to better prepare them for a deeper examination of the field in graduate school,” noted Robichaud.

Minor goals

The planet needs advocates that understand the challenges facing the environment, and are equipped to confront those challenges head-on.

“Three main goals were in mind in creating the environmental science minor. First, the creation of the minor was to enrich the biology program here at Holy Cross College. Second, though the environmental science minor can be earned by any students at Holy Cross, it was specifically designed for biology majors to broaden the program’s curriculum and to offer one of a growing number of focused areas of study. Finally, the environmental science minor is one of many steps in the development of the Colleges biology program to define our specific ‘niche’ and what we can uniquely offer our students,” said Robichaud.

Practical application

As a result of coursework, internship experience, and the opportunity to conduct meaningful research, a student is prepared to pursue an advanced degree or go to work immediately.

“A graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in environmental sciences can find employment as environmental specialists or technicians, park rangers, or research lab or field technicians for private or governmental labs,” noted Robichaud. “However, if the graduate decides to further their education within the field of environmental sciences in graduate or professional schools, a greater number of professional opportunities are possible, including becoming a conservation scientist, working in environmental law or engineering, or becoming more specialized as a climatologist or hydrologist, to name a few.”