Environmental, geographical, and geological science students in the field

Environmental, Geographical, Geological Sciences (B.S.)

A hidden gem in Pennsylvania, our interdisciplinary program is both broad and sufficiently in-depth to prepare environmental scientists, watershed specialists, geologists, hydrologists, geographic information systems specialists, conservation officials, fish and game officers, and emergency managers for rewarding careers right out of school or to be competitive for graduate school.

Program Contact
Chair of the Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences, Professor of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences
Secretary of the Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences
illustration of Carver Hall

From our perch on the hill, our Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences (EGGS) program takes in its vantage point in the town of Bloomsburg and the beautiful Appalachian Valley and Ridge. We take advantage of our location as much as possible by getting you outside to use the local area as our classroom.

The our curriculum builds on the department’s strengths in planning, environmental and economic geography, traditional hard rock geology, and environmental geoscience. Students also have the opportunity to prepare for careers or graduate school by getting experience outside the classroom with ongoing research projects, volunteering in the community, and our established geography and planning internship program.

EGGS Major Tracks

The department offers a single major — the Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences that features four different tracks:

  • The Geography and Planning track prepares students for careers and for graduate school in a variety of specialties, depending on which electives and minors are taken. This track is appropriate for students interested in cartography, urban, regional, or environmental planning, geographic information systems (GIS), resource management and valuation, parks and recreation, and more.
  • The Environmental Geoscience track is a blend of geography and geology that utilizes the strengths of both disciplines to prepare students for graduate school or careers focusing on water and the environment such as water resources management, environmental consulting, watershed management, coastal or marine systems, and wetlands delineation and restoration.
  • The Professional Geology track is a traditional geology program that prepares students for graduate school or certification as a Professional Geologist (P.G.), working in careers such as hydrogeology, natural hazard mitigation, mining, or fossil fuel exploration and production.
  • The Earth and Space Science track gives Secondary Education majors the required coursework to be certified in Earth and Space Science, and is also a good choice for students seeking a broad science background and anticipating careers in science-related business, journalism, public policy, or others, possibly with a double major or strong related minor.
  • Spatial Analysis and GIS introduces you to the process and study of collecting, measuring, and interpreting geographic information in order to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, and other purposes.

EGGS Minors

  • The Geography Minor is intended for students in any major who are interested in customizing their degree with a specialty such as resource management, planning, recreation, environmental valuation, or hazard management.
  • The Geosciences Minor is intended for students in any major who are interested in customizing their degree with a focus on mineral or fossil fuel resources, surface processes, environmental consulting, etc.
  • The Hydrology Minor is intended for students in any major interested in obtaining expertise in water resources, conservation, testing, and management.
  • The Spatial Analysis and GIS Minor is intended for students in any major who are interested in customizing their degree with a focus on spatial analysis.
  • Soil Science Minor is intended for students interested in learning the properties of soil and how they influence where vegetation grows and which are the best locations for agricultural activities. Soil science looks at how soil is distributed, used, developed, and sustainably managed as a natural resource. 

Jacques Weber Foundation Scholarship

This four-year award ($10,000 per year) is for an incoming first-year student with a record of outstanding academic achievement and has declared a major in environmental, geographical, and geological sciences. Students should submit a 300 to 500 word essay discussing the experiences that inspired their pursuit of this degree. Along with these minimum requirements, students must submit at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher, school administrator, or other mentor. The scholarship winner will be selected by the EGGS department. Renewable through senior year contingent upon maintaining good standing in the university and local community, an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, satisfactory progress toward the major, and submission of a yearly reflection letter to the foundation.

Courses and Curriculum

Specific Degree Requirements

Each track has additional required foundational courses, as well as upper-level electives that allow you to specialize in a particular area of interest.

Common Core Courses

All four tracks start with a common core of four courses in which students study how the Earth works, the impacts people have on the environment (and the impact the environment has on us), and ways to use maps to record, store, and communicate information about the world around us. Having a common core helps build a sense of community, exposes each student to all aspects of EGGS, and allows majors to make more informed choices about which major track they ultimately pick.

Common Core Courses:

  • EGGS 100 – Introduction to Environmental Science
  • EGGS 120 – Physical Geology
  • EGGS 150 – Quantitative Methods
  • EGGS 242 – Map Use and Analysis

All EGGS majors must take some courses in related science disciplines such as biology, physics, and chemistry because these are vital to developing a good understanding of the Earth, and our interactions with it! For instance, to treat a stream affected by acid mine drainage, it helps to understand some chemistry; to work for an alternative energy company, it helps to understand some physics; and understanding stream biology can help students restore a stream damaged by dredging or bank erosion.

At least one math course is also required. Having good math skills helps our majors identify and analyze patterns, construct logical arguments, and dissect and solve problems.

Science and Math Cognate Courses: The number and type of required cognate science and math courses varies, depending on your chosen EGGS track.

In addition to courses required for the major, every student at Bloomsburg University must also complete the General Education requirements. General Education courses will connect you to the world of ideas outside of EGGS, and help you develop the critical thinking and communication skills that are vital for success in every job.

Thoughtful planning will allow you to choose approved General Education courses that reflect your interests, strengthen your major, and perhaps even get you started on a related minor. For example:

  • if you are interested in working for an environmental advocacy organization, you could take Public Speaking.
  • If you plan to work in public policy, or get a job with a municipality, the Commonwealth, or the Federal Government, you might want to take Elements of Political Science, or U.S. Government.
  • Introduction to Business might be appropriate for students interested in environmental consulting, where career paths often start in the field, but lead into the office where you might oversee projects and/or to help manage the business.
Bloomsburg Initial - B -  inside a keystone shape

Practical Learning

Research

Undergraduate research is a great way to enhance your studies by:

  • applying critical thinking skills,
  • improving your problem solving skills,
  • working successfully as part of a team,
  • building your proficiency with different technologies/instruments/software programs,
  • developing your communication skills, and setting yourself apart from the crowd.

Notice each of these benefits could be very useful in your future career!

EGGS students may do research for course credit (EGGS 475 - Independent Study or EGGS 493 - Research in Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences), for pure enjoyment of science, for building your resume, and/or (if grant funding is available) for money.

Students in the Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences do research in a variety of settings:

  • Course-embedded research is research you do that is built into a particular course. EGGS courses that use course-embedded research include EGGS 460 - Aqueous Geochemistry, and EGGS 361 - Principles of GIS II. Students in these courses often develop their project into a presentation given at a professional conference, such as Northeastern Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America, or the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting.
  • Some students do research on faculty-run or faculty-inspired projects. This work can be done during the semester or over the summer, or both, if you get really interested in what you are doing!
  • You may be inspired to develop your own research project! If so, working with a faculty mentor, you may propose that your work be completed as: a research project for credit, a project funded through BU's Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity (URSCA), or a project funded by the Jessica Kozloff Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Grant which was established to "enhance the undergraduate experience and to encourage collaborative research between undergraduates and a faculty mentor".

Field Experiences

EGGS 330 - Special Topics in Field Geology

Since Summer 2007, the Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences has occasionally run a two-week, immersive field-based course in which students can apply what they already know as well as develop their skills in observation and interpretation. With support from the Bloomsburg University Teaching and Learning Enhancement Center, these experimental courses have been formalized into EGGS 330 - Special Topics in Field Geology.

In Summer 2014, a group of 13 students and three faculty traveled through Death Valley and Owens Valley, California, learning about intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, faulting, water resources issues, and alluvial fans, to name just a few topics! Check out these Tumblrs on our 2014 trip2015 trip, and our 2016 trip.

Upper-level students are welcome, but this course is open to all EGGS students who have completed the three core classes!

The location will vary each year, previous trips include:

  • Appalachian Transect (Coastal plain to the Appalachian Plateau)
  • Death Valley and Owens Valley
  • Southern California - from the Coast to the High Desert
  • Great Lakes Environments

Planned future trips include:

  • Return to Death Valley and Owens Valley
  • Florida - Geology, Ecology, and Environmental Issues
  • Great Parks of the Northern Rockies - Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier

The cost for this course includes a fee to cover travel as well as normal tuition and fees. Please see your advisor to find out more about the next offering of this course

Clubs and Organizations

Attend Conferences of Professional Organizations

Whether or not you have research to present, you should try to attend at least one conference of a professional organization (American Association of Geographers (AAG)American Geophysical Union (AGU)Geological Society of America (GSA)Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), for example).

Attending conferences allows you to hear about cutting edge science, find out more about careers in your specialty, network with faculty and students at potential graduate schools, and get excited about what you do!

If you've been working on a research project, you may also get the experience of presenting your results to a scientific audience in either a poster presentation (and we're not talking glue sticks and construction paper here). Talk to interested students, faculty, and professionals, and get your name and face out there.

Clubs and Organizations

MaPERs: Maps, Plans, Environment, and Rocks Society

When we restructured the department, we joined our two specialties: Geography and Geosciences, and the student groups did the same. Two groups, the Bloomsburg University Geological Society (BUGS) and the Geography and Planning Society (GPS) became one: BUGS and GPS are dead, long live MaPERS!

What does MaPERs do?

  • MaPERs helps friends of Kocher Park and the Columbia County Conservation District with the Spring and Fall clean-ups at Kocher Park
  • MaPERs organized with the Green Campus Initiative to install "no dumping - drains to river" plaques on campus-area storm drains and help reduce the amount of pollution being swept into Fishing Creek and the Susquehanna River.
  • MaPERS members run tutoring sessions for introductory and some mid- level courses.
  • MaPERs has organized a departmental cell phone reuse/environmentally sound recycling program.

Clubs and Organizations

GTU: Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geographic Honor Society

If you have completed a minimum of 3 geography courses, have a GPA of at least 3.3 overall and in geography, and have completed at least 3 semesters or 5 quarters of college course work, then you could become a member of the fourth oldest Gamma Theta Upsilon chapter in the United States! The Delta Chapter of GTU was formed at Bloomsburg University in 1931!

Some benefits of GTU membership:

  • It looks great on a resume!
  • You can apply for one of four undergraduate scholarships available only to GTU members.
  • You can apply for a GTU/AAG (American Association of Geographers) travel grant to help fund your travel to the Annual AAG meeting where you can present your work!

Volunteer Opportunities

Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences majors volunteer their time to many organizations around our community.

Here are some examples:

  • Kocher Park is a community park created on property donated to the Columbia County Conservation District by Keith Kocher and Joan McCarty. The park lies just upstream of Bloomsburg along Fishing Creek. Since the record flood of Fall 2011, Bloomsburg University students have been helping to maintain the park.
  • EGGS students helped plant flowers, trees, and shrubs in the park in Fernville, PA
  • students helped with Hemlock Creek bank stabilization and rehabilitation project in Fall 2013
  • students volunteered to help with setup and takedown at the Susquehanna Greenways Partnership River Towns Workshop and got to hear a bunch of fantastic presentations about causes and non-structural solutions to flooding issues in the Susquehanna basin.

The Husky Difference

19%
Job Growth Projected
The good news is that geographers, cartographers, and GIS specialists are in demand and all well paid. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

EGGS Program Contacts

Michael Shepard

Michael Shepard, Ph.D.

  • Chair of the Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences, Professor of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences
Cheryl Smith

Cheryl Smith

  • Secretary of the Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences

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