We are Shaping the Future

The Department of Environmental Science (ENVS) at Westfield State University is an interdisciplinary, science-based, and collaborative program that offers a hands-on approach to learning about the environment and becoming an environmental professional. 

The mission of the Environmental Science Department is to educate future environmental professionals to understand how humans interact with the environment and to develop their skills and abilities to solve environmental problems.

Our program has been ranked #1 in Massachusetts and #26 in the United States for highest percentage of students graduating with an environmental science degree.  We have one of the largest departments dedicated to Environmental Science in the Northeast with approximately 140 majors.  We are also one of first-established programs fully dedicated to Environmental Science.

When considering affordability, accessibility, and quality, our program has been ranked #1 in Massachusetts and #10 in the United States.  Another ranking puts us at #4 in the United States.

The US. Bureau of Labor Statistics forcasts a growth of 8% over the next 10 years in Environmental Science jobs in the country. 

We offer three minors that help prepare our students of fields in high demand: Wildlife Conservation, Wetlands Planning and Management, and Restoration Ecology.  Our growing major reflects the demand for ENVS professionals and the University’s broad commitment to environmental issues.

NEW in 2020-21: Our Restoration Ecology Minor offers one of the only undergraduate programs of its kind in the Northeast.  We work closely with the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, who have offices in our building. 

Our location is part of what makes us special.  Our campus is located on the edge of the Berkshire Mountains, uniquely situated between mountains, rivers, forests, and other natural ecosystems on one side and urban areas such as Springfield, Holyoke, and Northampton on the other. This location provides numerous opportunities for hands-on field learning experiences for our students. 

Class sizes are small, providing focused one-on-one contact with faculty. Department courses emphasize fieldwork and hands-on learning, such as canoe trips on the Westfield River and nearby lakes, field trips to management and restoration sites, and the opportunity to experience a short-term study abroad course in Costa Rica. The major culminates in a capstone experience (our Senior Seminar) where students do independent research on an environmental topic working under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

The Environmental Science Department also has a strong record of community engagement through partnerships with state and local governmental agencies and non-profit organizations that provide service-learning opportunities, internships, and career placements. Many of our graduates find positions working for local, state, or federal government agencies, such as MA Fish and Wildlife; environmental consulting firms; environmental conservation groups and non-profits like the Nature Conservancy; and others continue on to graduate school. The work often involves planning development; GIS analysis; monitoring compliance with environmental laws; monitoring air, groundwater, or surface water quality; and remediating environmental damage.

Highlights:

  • We are a relatively large major (140 students) and offer a hands-on program with small class sizes
  • You'll get outside right from the beginning of your time here with our course in Natural History and Field Techniques course
  • Employment is expected to grow 9% from 2019-2029, faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Environmental Scientists and Specialists)
  • Travel with our faculty to study abroad in such places as Costa Rica or Ecuador
  • Our location offers great access to the outdoors for hiking, whitewater canoeing and kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, mountain and road biking, fishing and other activities

Contact us

Tim Parshall, Ph.D.
Chair - Department of Environmental Science
Wilson Hall 204F