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Environmental Science: The UDC Edge

UDC’s environmental science degree program is the only such undergraduate degree program in the District of Columbia.

UDC offers students a unique combination of teaching, research and community outreach through the Environment & Natural Resources and Institute for Urban Agriculture programs in the UDC Cooperative Extension Service. Students have the opportunity to apply their classroom learning through technical assistance to D.C. residents on such environmental issues as heavy metal analysis, pollution and soil nutrient testing.

Bachelor’s Degree (BS) in Environmental Science

Are you concerned about the health of our planet? Do you want to learn the skills needed to contribute to a greener world?  Environmental science is a dynamic and evolving field. With an interest in science and a concern for the world around you, you can get on the path to a career that is both challenging and makes a difference.

The bachelor’s degree program in environmental science, based in UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences is an interdisciplinary program committed to helping students to better understand and address environmental challenges facing urban communities and the world.


Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Environmental Science Program

The environmental science program requires 123 credit hours in one of three bachelor’s degree option plans of study:

In all of the options, you will learn how to apply both pure and practical sciences and physical and biochemical principles to the study of the environment and development of solutions to environmental problems such as abating or controlling environmental pollution and degradation; the interaction between human society and the natural environment; natural resources management; and environmental risk assessment and control.

The environmental science program at UDC integrates the following fields of study:

  • Physical and biological sciences
    • Including soil science, geology and geography
  • Environmental studies
    • Incorporates the social sciences for understanding human perception and policies towards the environment
  • Environmental engineering
    • Focuses on design and technology for improving the environment
  • Key modern trends and issues in the field
    • Includes pressing issues relating to climate change, sustainability, energy systems, natural resource management and pollution control

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Environmental Science Program

Students have the opportunity to participate in an internship with the District of Columbia Department of the Environment, which is worth four credit hours and provides hands-on experience in any of the three available degree options. The program can also help place students in internships with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Students in the environmental science program at UDC can pursue research opportunities at our Agricultural Experiment Station and Water Resources Research Institute. The Environmental Science Club also sponsors programming, trips and a newsletter around environmental science issues.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Environmental Sciences Program

Dr. Mohamed A. Elhelu, professor and chair of the department of environmental science and sustainability, has published widely on topics relating to public and environmental health, such as the effect of lead on children. He served as a guest scientist at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., and a visiting professor at the King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Elhelu has also been honored by D.C. public schools for pioneering work in the field of natural sciences.

Career Pathways and Prospects

The environmental sciences program prepares you for advanced studies or careers in the private, public and non-profit sectors. With heightened awareness around environmental issues, jobs relating to sustainability are in particularly high demand. Career options could include:

  • Environmental scientist
  • Environmental regulator or policy maker
  • Urban designer
  • Environmental planner
  • Sustainability manager
  • Conservation scientist

Recent graduates from the bachelor’s degree program in environmental science have gone on to graduate school at institutions such as Johns Hopkins and American universities, and have found employment with the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, the D.C. Department of the Environment and the D.C. National Guard.

Contact info:

Dr. Mohammed Elhelu, Department Chair

E: | T: 202.274. 5932 | F: 202.274. 7016