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The interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Policy major is designed to promote undergraduate student understanding about environmental issues and to enable students to make meaningful contributions toward the management of the world’s natural resources. The major focuses on conservation education through coursework in natural and social sciences with emphasis on student research, case-study, and project-based learning.

The Environmental Science and Policy major offers two tracks: Science and Policy. The Science Track focuses on the study of environmental and conservation issues from the perspective of the natural sciences, complemented by course work in environmental economics and policy. Conversely, the Policy Track provides a comprehensive approach to the study of environmental and conservation policy issues and processes, complemented by course work in the natural sciences.

Lenoir-Rhyne University also offers dual degree programs in Pre-Forestry and Pre-Environmental Management. LR is part of the Cooperative College (3-2) Program with the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, which offers students the opportunity to proceed directly from three years of undergraduate study at Lenoir-Rhyne to two years of study at the Nicholas School’s Master of Forestry (MF) or Master of Environmental Management (MEM) programs. Through its Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, Lenoir-Rhyne University also offers a Master of Sustainability Studies, which is an option Environmental Science and Policy major may consider if they are planning to pursue graduate studies. The program strives to develop environmentally conscious leaders prepared to steer organizations and communities toward a more sustainable future. Through LR’s innovative Bridges to Dreams and Alumni Advantage programs, qualified undergraduates can complete the graduate program in less time and at significantly less cost.




From plant identification and measuring water quality to calculating land values and mapping trails, students studying Environmental Science and Policy have opportunities to learn and gain experience outside of the classroom. Outdoor classroom activities and field experiences are planned throughout each academic year. Students travel to lakes, forests, and mountainous areas to perform a variety of ecological studies and experiments. Students also take an active role in nature preservation on campus.

Students are required to complete an independent research project - performing all aspects of scientific discovery from data collection and observation to experimentation and evaluation – and present their findings to faculty and peers.

Internships and study abroad field and research experiences are also strongly encouraged through the Environmental Science and Policy major.

The School of Natural Science hosts the Steelman Lecture Series through which renowned scientists and scientific writers are invited to speak to the campus and surrounding community. Career and graduates school nights are also held annually. These events feature former students and respected professionals in the field who speak with current students, offering information and guidance about various career options.


Students graduating through the Science Track are prepared for jobs in environmental organizations, government agencies, and education and recreation programs. Graduates are in demand for consulting firms that conduct environmental analyses through field data collection and laboratory analysis. Government and private property owners also need managers for their lands, parks, and natural resources. Other opportunities included environmental monitoring, regulation, landscape and tree care, or environmental restoration. With a strong scientific and technical background in natural resources, students may choose to continue their studies in graduate school in a wide range of fields such as conservation biology, forest management, environmental law, and ecology.

Graduates of the Policy track are well-equipped for jobs in environmental organizations, government agencies, education and recreation programs. Natural resource policy specialists are needed by public planning departments, consulting firms, environmental non-profits, and natural resource agencies. Graduates may choose to work in environmental preservation, public policy analysis and policy-making, natural resource management, city planning, or resource economic analysis. Equipped with a broad background in government, economics, and policy make graduates competitive candidates for graduate school in many fields including natural resource policy, environmental economics, public administration, and environmental law.


The Environmental Science and Policy major earns a BS degree.

Environmental Science Major Requirements

Program Contact

Dr. John Brzorad

Co-Director of the Reese Institute, Associate Professor of Biology
Hickory Campus