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Environmental Science Major Introduced

North Park's New Environmental Science Major

CHICAGO (September 7, 2009) – North Park University’s new environmental sciences major reflects the University’s commitment to Christian stewardship of the environment and prepares students for expanding job opportunities, says biology department chair Alan Bjorkman.

The program is designed for students who are interested in the sciences but are not pursuing a bachelor’s degree in preparation for post-graduate medical studies.

Environmental sciences is an interdisciplinary program that is becoming increasingly important, Bjorkman notes. “The trend in science is to be a specialist,” he explains. “One of the problems with that is you get all of these specialists who can’t talk across disciplines.”

Students studying environmental sciences can work in a wide range of fields, he adds, including urban planning, zoning, education, restoration biology, and wildlife management.

North Park is able to offer the degree without adding many additional courses on campus because of the school’s affiliation with other highly respected institutions and organizations. Students can take courses for credit at the Shedd Aquarium, the Morton Arboretum, any of the institutions connected with the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area, and the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies.

The degree can easily be combined with a minor or another major. At least one student has expressed interest in pairing it with a degree in nonprofit management. North Park already has a variety of supporting minors, certificates, and even double majors, Bjorkman says. Nonetheless, the interdisciplinary nature of the major does require advisors to work closely with students to help focus interests. 

Students must take classes in a broad spectrum of the sciences. Electives offered include Prairie and Ranch Resources, Marine and Aquatic Biology, and Climate Dynamics.