Environmental Science and Conservation

What Does it Look Like to Study Environmental Science and Conservation at Concordia?

A degree in Environmental Science and Conservation (ESC) will prepare you for a career in a diverse and increasingly important field. The environmental sciences are consistently rated among the fastest-growing career fields in the world and provide opportunities to make a positive impact on nature and society. Our program teaches students to protect human health and the environment, while working toward a fair and just society and sustainable economy.

The ESC program is immersive and experiential. As a student in the program, you will have opportunities to apply knowledge through class exercises, volunteer work, and internships. With our own 250-acre federally-protected nature preserve, access to thousands more acres of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, and our world-renowned Friesenhahn Cave, the ESC program is uniquely situated to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and experiences required to be competitive in the environmental field.

Environmental Science and Conservation majors are put to work on campus in paid and volunteer positions in natural resources conservation and environmental education. From working in preserve management, to leading educational tours, to helping build and maintain campus trails, ESC majors never lack opportunities for meaningful work. Majors may also participate in the Sustainability Club and the Balcones Canyonlands Master Naturalist, the state’s first collegiate chapter of the respected Texas Master Naturalist program.

Program Overview

As an Environmental Science and Conservation major, you'll discover:

  • Faculty who combine impressive academic qualifications with extensive professional experience
  • Small, conveniently-scheduled classes and a curriculum flexible enough to meet your individual needs
  • A friendly community where you can make lifelong connections with classmates from a wide variety of professional and personal backgrounds
  • Abundant opportunities to build work experience and develop a professional network to maximize your ability to compete in the job market

Program Sheet

Curriculum Overview for an Environmental Science and Conservation Degree

Classes cover an enormous range of topics, including:

  • Climate change
  • Air quality
  • Ecology
  • Waste management
  • Sustainability
  • Water conservation

Here are some highlighted courses:

Environmental Compliance and Planning: This class teaches land use planning, municipal planning and sustainable development.

Natural Resources Conservation: This course reviews economic, political and ecological factors that influence decisions relating to natural resources, while incorporating alternative strategies to cope with conservation issues.

Watershed Management: This course explores  principles to improve hydrology, water quality, range and wildlife habitat. Field trips are included.

Wildlife Management: Students will apply techniques to improve and maintain the habitat within Concordia's Preserve.

Environmental Science Internship: Students will receive environmental work experience under the supervision/guidance of professionals in the environmental science field.

Program Benefits

Since our campus is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve system, our program focuses on issues particularly relevant to the preserve, such as wildlife management, water quality and land-use planning.

Moreover, effective writing skills and an understanding of environmental policy are key components of each class we offer because they are necessary in the environmental career field. We also strive to incorporate as much hands-on material as possible into our courses since we are blessed with abundant physical resources on our campus, along with access to our partners' properties.

In order to stand out in a competitive career field, graduates must have a resume packed full of relevant work experience. Therefore, our primary goal is to ensure that no student graduates without excellent credentials and fieldwork.

The primary means of developing credentials is through internships. Students are strongly encouraged to complete at least three internships prior to graduation. One is required by the degree plan. Majors work with our partners, including Travis County Natural Resources, the City of Austin and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, doing the jobs that professionals in the field do.

One of Concordia University Texas' most valued properties, and one Environmental Science and Conservation majors can take advantage of, is the famous Friesenhahn Cave in San Antonio. Identified as one of the most important paleontological sites in the United States, it is believed that no site in the United States has yielded a greater variety of significant Pleistocene vertebrate fossils.

The Friesenhahn Cave has yielded more than 4,000 isolated teeth and bones of more than 30 genera of ice age mammals, reptiles and birds. Especially noteworthy from the Friesenhahn Cave is the holotype specimen of Geochelone wilsoni, a recently discovered species of turtle which is represented by only a very few specimens worldwide. Also noteworthy are well-preserved specimens of a Saber-toothed cat Homotherium serus.

Career Outcomes

  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Education Officer
  • Environmental Manager
  • Nature Conservation Officer
  • Recycling Officer
  • Sustainability Consultant
  • Waste Management Officer
  • Water Quality Scientist
  • Park Ranger


Why should I study Environmental Science and Conservation at Concordia?

Concordia is an ideal site for a program in Environmental Science and Conservation. Austin is well known as a major cultural and educational center as well as the place where Texas environmental policies are formulated and where state regulatory agencies are headquartered.

A wide variety of commercial environmental firms are also located in the Austin area. The campus, in the midst of the Balcones Canyonlands, with a large nature preserve as designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will provide unique opportunities to study the natural environment and to become knowledgeable about efforts at wildlife and habitat protection.

Because central Texas is a biological crossroad, students have immediate opportunities to study in marine, desert, grassland, pine forest, coniferous forest and scrubland ecosystems, as well as numerous unique geological features.

What kind of students are successful in this major?

Successful students of Environmental Science typically have had a strong high school background in mathematics and the sciences. This should normally include two years of algebra, one year of geometry and one year of mathematics beyond Algebra II, as well as courses in physics, chemistry and biology.

What type of collaborative relationships does Concordia have with others?

  • Concordia University, Portland, Oregon: We share faculty for online telecourses and jointly offer science field courses to allow students to study environmental concerns in a variety of regions.
  • State and Local Government Environmental Agencies: We supply interns to work on various projects, some of which lead to full-time employment.
  • Private Corporations: We supply interns for summer and student work programs prior to graduation and develop relationships which often lead to full-time employment after graduation.

  Meet our Natural and Applied Sciences Faculty and Staff