Major in environmental studies at RMC and you can start making a difference from day one. Our innovative, interdisciplinary program solves real-world environmental problems for real organizations with a one-of-a-kind series of environmental problem-solving courses. With professors as project managers, students work alongside peers to tackle current environmental issues for real clients. In addition, the major gives you the flexibility to specialize in a specific environmental pathway, ranging from biology to law to ethics (and anything in between).

Environmental STudies
up close
In and Beyond the Classroom

Fenster on boat with two students

Hands-On Learning

Environmental studies students in the Environmental Problem-Solving courses partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to analyze why the population of an endangered tiger beetle species, which lives on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, is on the decline. The students used population modeling to predict the chances the beetle will go extinct in the next 100 years, and took field measurements to understand how processes like coastal storms, sea-level rise, and human development are reducing beetle habitat over time.


RMC’s environmental studies program is taught by award-winning faculty who work as mentors both in and outside the classroom. Environmental studies students often conduct independent research, co-writing articles with faculty and/or presenting at a professional conference.


As an RMC environmental studies major, you will have access to the school’s field research station at Martin Marietta Quarry, a 66-acre quarry, just 8 miles from the RMC campus. The quarry contains a variety of bottom-land and up-land habitats including a mature beech/maple forest and a dense stand of young pine.

Environmental studies students conduct research using state-of-the-art equipment including:

  • 22 ft research boat, jon boats with outboard motors, and kayaks
  • Side scan sonar
  • Seismic reflection profiling system
  • ADCP acoustic doppler current meter
  • Water quality testing equipment including sondes
  • Surveying equipment
  • Field sampling devices
Environmental studies students studying geology in Iceland

global education

In the Geology of Iceland (GEOL 152/252) travel course, students participated in field work analyzing and mapping individual volcanic and glacial features in the magnificent nation of Iceland. They studied landscapes produced by the interaction of fire, ice, and the ocean. Students also investigate how the combination of fire and ice (glaciers) has produced a country socially, economically, and culturally tied to its geology; and how humans have survived in this harsh geologic environment for the past 1,300 years. 

High-Impact Internships

RMC internships give you the opportunity to learn directly from the people and places that matter. Environmental studies students have recently interned at:

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Hanover County Department of Public Works
  • U.S. Navy Natural Resources Management Agency
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
  • Sierra Club
Environmental studies student talking with officials at research site
  • #9
    college major (environmental studies) with a future according to U.S. News and World Report
  • 0
    the number of textbooks used in environmental problem-solving coursework
  • $76,530
    median annual salary for environmental studies majors
Environmental studies students listening to a presentation by a US official

Environmental Studies in full Courses You Won’t Want to Miss

(A very small sample)

EVST 205


Make a difference by communicating effectively to a wide range of audiences including other professionals, decision makers, and the general public. Become proficient communicating to these groups using formal and informal writing and speaking. Learn how to get your ideas across in a way that changes minds.

EVST 105/305/405


This series of courses lets you solve real environmental problems while working for off-campus clients from government, the private sector, and non-profit organizations year after year.  Intentionally designed so that your skills as a problem solver grow through your years on campus, the problems are new every semester, requiring collaborative, real-world solutions.

EVST 213

Environmental Ethics

Explore the value of ecosystems; human beings’ treatment of animals and non-animal nature; the meaning and justification of moral obligations to species and to the environment; and the complex and profound ways in which our environmental actions affect fellow human beings. 

Opportunities Worth Grabbing

Popular activities and programs among environmental studies majors
Two students conducting biological field research

Students for environmental Action

Schapiro undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

From Here To What you can do with an Environmental Studies degree from RMC

Troy Andersen '99

Troy Andersen ’99

Assistant Field Office Supervisor
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

“The speaking and writing intensive courses at RMC laid the foundation for the skills that I continue to utilize every day in my role as a federal manager and Chairman of a local School Board.”

Shannon White, Ph.D ’10

Research Biologist
U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Ecological Science Center, Leetown Research Laboratory

Jenny Templeton ’06

District Conservationist
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Delaney Sheire Nowotarski ’16

Adjunct Faculty Instructor
Germanna Community College

Erin Lee ’22

Master’s Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Virginia Tech Engineering School 

BuzzWorthy The latest from RMC Environmental Studies

News Story categories: Environmental Studies

Diving Deep: Environmental Problem Solving Course Immerses Students in Real-World Issues

Students worked with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to analyze the population viability for an endangered beetle species in the Chesapeake Bay.

News Story categories: Environmental Studies Biology Communication Studies

Riding the SURF Wave, All the Way to San Antonio

From April 21-23, 2022, hundreds of academic social scientists gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the centennial conference of the…

Grace Bakeman reads from her research paper in front of a projector screen.
News Story categories: Environmental Studies Biology Internships

Student Returns to Her Roots During J-Term Internship

The first day of an internship is usually uneventful—orientations, introductions, and icebreakers. But the first day of Sarah Walton’s ’23…

Two RMC Students working in a greenhouse with plants.

Get Ready Discover Environmental Studies at RMC.