A Range of Possibilities
If you are interested in a career involved directly with our natural environment, you can choose among a variety of Clarkson majors to build a great foundation. Professional possibilities range from engineering to public policy development, and from performing scientific research to creating environmentally sustainable manufacturing systems.
Environmental career opportunities are expanding — not only because society is growing more aware of related issues, but also due to technological progress. Clarkson combines strengths in science and technology with a strategic institutional focus on the environment across the curriculum.
In any of these programs, you'll benefit from excellent professors, personal attention, state-of-the-art facilities, and hands-on, project-based learning. You'll learn through a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to creative problem solving, and have great opportunities in co-ops and internships.
Mix and Match
Clarkson is known for flexibility and interdisciplinary interaction, cooperation and collaboration. You can pursue a complementary concentration or a minor along with your major, for example, or take a double major.
If you want the opportunity to work at a job that can take you into the field and out of the office, then environmental engineering may be just right for you. Environmental engineers develop and implement technologies to address challenges like meeting needs for clean water supply, protecting public health, dealing with global warming and acid rain, and reducing pollution. As an environmental engineer, you might find yourself responsible for leading the cleanup of a hazardous waste site, or designing a system to make manufacturing more environmentally sustainable. You might help develop environmental standards or apply and enforce environmental laws.
In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering you can choose among 60 related courses. Professional concentrations include courses that range from air or water pollution engineering to environmental engineering design. Mentored by faculty members, students have recently worked on many different research projects that include: mine pit wall stabilization; groundwater treatment cost analysis; and removal of arsenic from drinking water.
Clarkson's multidisciplinary undergraduate labs provide key areas for environmental engineering students. The program includes hands-on work with equipment such as advanced analytical instruments, pilot-scale water treatment facilities, and hazardous waste remediation technologies.
Environmental Health Science
Environmental Health Science (EHS) involves recognition, evaluation and control of health hazards in the workplace and larger community. Graduates improve people's lives by applying knowledge in chemistry, physiology, toxicology, physics and engineering. It's a career where you often work directly with people to make a positive impact by changing workplace practices or by recommending special engineering controls.
Demand for EHS professionals is high in small and large businesses, in the armed forces, and in consulting firms. Clarkson EHS graduates can be found working in industry, government and regulatory agencies (OSHA, EPA), at consulting and insurance firms, and at colleges and universities.
The curriculum includes a rigorous blend of theory and practice by combining science, engineering and business coursework. The program partners with companies to conduct health hazard assessments in actual work environments. Undergraduates work hand-in-hand with professionals on the job to assess exposure to chemicals, noise and particulates.
Environmental Science and Policy
How can a corporation develop new processes and materials to reduce pollution? What measures can safeguard endangered species? On what basis does public policy choose between the demands of nature and the demands of society?
Such questions require creative and multidisciplinary answers. Therefore, environmental leaders need knowledge and skills in a variety of academic fields. A degree in Environmental Science and Policy is designed to provide just that kind of broad multidisciplinary background. It includes: mastery of basic life sciences; understanding of complex social and political systems, the lessons of history and the subtlety of communication; and knowledge of environmental regulation and policy.
A degree in ES&P requires rigorous courses in the sciences along with "big picture" courses in history, policy, economics and law. Serious, focused research is also a critical component for all ES&P students. Recent undergraduate research projects have ranged from an analysis of PCBs and the Hudson River to microbial remediation of toxic waste to life cycle assessment of insulation materials.
Biology (Environmental Concentration)
Biology — the study of living systems — opens doors to careers in a multitude of environmental fields, including ecology. The environment is one of three main focus areas in the biology curriculum at Clarkson, which teaches you how biological systems function and interact.
In their junior and senior years, biology majors choose upper-level courses that focus on their career interests such as, for example, ecology and marine biology. All biology majors work closely with faculty mentors on research projects. Among recent student research projects are: effects of dam removal on aquatic structure and food web processes and evolution of fruit fly mating preferences.
Chemistry (Environmental Concentration)
Chemistry today includes a wide range of activities directly related to environmental issues. These range from hazardous waste clean up to the prevention and control of air pollution to the purification of foul or poisoned water.
As a chemistry student at Clarkson, you have access to sophisticated technology and facilities for hands-on experience in environment-related research and analysis. Accessible equipment includes, for example, gas chromatography, photometry and polarography.
Among environment-related research projects pursued by Clarkson undergraduates: Modeling analysis to determine air particle source locations and fuel spill identification using gas chromatography.
Institute for a Sustainable Environment
Clarkson's Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) adds exceptional value for any student with an environmental career focus. The Institute promotes and supports campus-wide environmental education and research by bringing together expertise from many different disciplines.