students earning an environmental studies degree getting ready to kayak
Live Deliberately in the World Around You

Environmental Studies Major

“How will you walk this earth?” asked Wayne Gilchrest, former United States Congressman. His question, posed to a group of Salisbury University’s environmental studies (ENVR) students in a summer kayaking class, is central to our program. Whether you want to become a professional environmental advocate or enrich your own understanding of the world around you, we encourage you to live deliberately.

Why Choose an Environmental Studies Major at Salisbury University?

For the outdoor adventurer who loves marshes, rivers, forests and barrier islands, there’s no better situated university on the East Coast than SU. With the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean next door, students can:

  • Explore some of the mid-Atlantic’s most intact river systems, the Nanticoke and the Pocomoke
  • Study coastal barrier islands such as Cedar and Assateague
  • Visit major wildlife refuges at Blackwater and Chincoteague
  • Observe working watermen’s communities on Smith and Tangier islands
  • Investigate close to 100,000 acres of wetlands

In our program, opportunities for study abroad abound. Students can snorkel coral reefs in Honduras, investigate glacial landscapes in Iceland or explore biodiversity in Trinidad. Some share meals with rural villagers in India, and others live in Australian rain forests. Closer to home, they canoe remote Eastern Shore creeks, kayak to Smith Island and witness the mass spawning of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay.

Frequent opportunities for research, stewardship and community engagement provide our graduates with a substantial foundation for further graduate study or meaningful careers. Our students have built bird, bat and bee nest boxes with area high school students, worked with the Salisbury City Council to enhance urban tree canopy and testified to the Maryland Assembly regarding energy policy.

Meet Rachel image still

Meet Rachel – Environmental Studies Major

Find out how the major’s interdisciplinary approach empowered Rachel to make a difference in her community.

Careers for Environmental Studies Majors

What can environmental studies majors do? Our environment is more than our surroundings; it is the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the land where we live. Students in our environmental studies program learn to evaluate and respond to environmental issues facing our world today. You could cultivate a career as one of the following:

  • City Planner
  • Conservation Agent
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Forest Ranger
  • Natural Resource Specialist
  • Wildlife Manager

Environmental Studies Faculty with Real-World Experience

Our faculty integrates topics in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to give students the tools they need to examine complex environmental issues in depth and assess them from a variety of perspectives.

Meet Your Environmental Studies Faculty:
Jill Caviglia-Harris

Jill Caviglia-Harris headshot

For much of her career at SU, Dr. Jill Caviglia-Harris has led National Science Foundation-funded field research of land use and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. She has regularly involved SU students in this research, even traveling with them to Brazil to gather data. She has mentored numerous student researchers who have presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and other prestigious conferences, including the World Congress of Environmental and Resources Economists in Kyoto, Japan. She has published peer-reviewed articles with several SU students. A second dimension of her research includes investigating best practices for teaching and motivating students. This has led to her work on improving the academic achievement of first-generation, minority and low-income students at SU.

Learn More About Our Environmental Studies Program