Environmental and Marine Science Major


Looking for colleges with environmental science programs? Get ready to strap on your metaphorical wading boots and plunge into the environmental science program at Goshen College. Our environmental science major and minor will take you around the globe, from studying aquatic life in our marine bio lab in the Florida Keys to performing controlled burns in the savannas of Kenya. On campus, you’ll be just a short walk away from Witmer Woods Arboretum and the College Cabin, which serve as prime educational research sites right on the Elkhart River.

As an environmental science major or minor, you can choose to concentrate in ecology, sustainability or agroecology. You’ll take classes at the college’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, a 1,189-acre nature preserve and field laboratory just 30 miles from campus. Merry Lea also offers residential programs like the Sustainability Leadership Semester, where you’ll investigate local wetlands and prairies and live with other students in sustainable LEED platinum-certified “green” buildings at Rieth Village. All students at GC, independent of their major, may choose to take classes to learn more about sustainability and environmental science.

In choosing Goshen College’s environmental science major or minor program you are joining a community of scholars committed to working toward restorative solutions for our world’s sustainability challenges. We share a passion for restoring right relationships with each other and creation. We hope you join us.

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3 Environmental Science Major Tracks

The environmental science major is completed via one of three different tracks, which creates a plan of study to match your interests. We also offer minors in our environmental science program in sustainability and agroecology.

Ecology Track

Applying research skills to understanding our ecological world

Coursework and fieldwork prepares students for careers in ecology, wildlife studies (with field work programs in Kenya),botany, marine biology, forestry, or other field biology vocations. The college offers May-term classes at the J.N. Roth Marine Biology station and multiple field classes at our 1,189 acre field station, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.

Sustainability Track

Examining collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to environmental challenges 

Students in the sustainability environmental science track earn 15 credits through participating in the fully residential Sustainability Leadership Semester at Merry Lea, or through the Campus Sustainability Track, where classes are taken in multiple departments.

Agroecology Track

Implementing agricultural practices built on ecological principles

Through completion of the 8-week residential Agroecology Summer Intensive (ASI) taught at Merry Lea, students earn 12 credits and gain an integrative, hands-on approach to growing food. Students also take botany and entomology courses in the biology department.

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Doug Schirch

Professor of Chemistry
SST Leader Peru - FA
& MA

Ryan Sensenig

Professor of Biological & Environmental Science
ES Program Director
& Lindsay Teaching Fellow

Andy Ammons

Associate Professor of Biology
Lindsey Field Researcher

Bill Minter

Associate Professor of Environmental Science

Jody Saylor

Associate Professor of Biology

Jonathon Schramm

Associate Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education

Joel Pontius

Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education
Director of Sustainability Leadership Semester

Jon Zirkle

Sustainable Food Systems Educator & Farm Manager

Dave Ostergren

Director of Graduate Program in Environmental Education