New B.S. in environmental science approved

Environmental Sciences students conducting field work at Ocean Beach

Environmental sciences students conduct field work at Ocean Beach.

Students hoping to work as environmental scientists at government agencies or other organizations have a new option at SF State: The University has approved a bachelor of science in environmental science degree, and students can begin enrolling this semester.

The major is housed in the University's Department of Geography & Environment and is designed for students who want a methods-focused career in environmental science, according to Professor and Chair of Geography & Environment Jerry Davis.

"The students who are attracted to this field are less interested in advocacy, though that is important, and more interested in applied methods, field work and analysis," Davis said. "It's all about developing career skills needed to work at a wide variety of environmental agencies such as the Water Resources Control Board, the Water Quality Control Board, National Parks, the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Fish and Wildlife."

The program was created in large part because environmental science has in recent years rapidly developed as a separate field from geography and other areas of the sciences, Davis said. High schools now teach college prep, advanced placement courses in environmental science, and employers including governmental agencies are looking for students with a background in the field.

The diversity of SF State students and their proclivity for outside-the-box thinking will benefit the field, both here in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, Davis said.

"Thinking about things in different ways is a hallmark of San Francisco, especially at SF State, and environmental issues are complicated," he said. "You have to look at the interaction between a wide variety of things, both human and biological. A really good integrative approach to solving environmental issues requires creative methods, so I think SF State can be a leader in that regard."

For more information about the new B.S. in Environmental Science program, visit the Department of Geography & Environment website at