Independent Learning

Environmental Studies students build their resumes inside and outside the classroom.

Environmental Studies students do some really cool things: through internships, independent research, and studying abroad. These experiences help majors learn to trust their own initiative, enhance confidence in their abilities, and develop connections that foster career ambitions.


All Environmental Studies majors complete an off-campus internship for credit.  As interns, our students tackle environmental topics of all kinds and in locations far and wide: Anchorage, Alaska; San Francisco, California; New Mexico; Seattle, Washington; Washington, DC; London, England; Tokyo, Japan; Perth, Australia; Costa Rica; and with many, many local organizations in southeastern Pennsylvania. Among the internships Environmental Studies majors have completed are the following:

  • Water Quality Laboratory Technician, Aquatic Laboratory Services, Inc.
  • Eco-Sciences Intern, O’Brien & Gere
  • Environmental Education Staff, Weis Ecology Center of the NJ Audubon Society
  • Animal Care Program Intern, Elmwood Park Zoo
  • Education Program Intern, Philadelphia Zoo
  • Recycling Intern, Solid Waste Authority of Cumberland County
  • Environmental Educator, Valley Forge National Park
  • Science Communications Intern, Merck & Co.
  • National Environmental Policy Act Intern, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Environmental Planning Intern, Montgomery County Planning Commission

Internship Spotlight

Study Abroad

Environmental Studies majors may choose to study abroad, and have had wonderful experiences doing so. Students have studied, examined environmental issues, and completed internships in:

  • Africa: South Africa, Madagascar
  • Asia: Japan
  • Europe: England, France, Germany, and Scotland
  • Latin America: Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico
  • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand


Many Environmental Studies majors work with faculty members on original research. Students work on faculty-initiated research as well as their own independent projects with faculty mentors.

Opportunities for original research include independent study during a semester, participation in the Summer Fellows Program, and as a senior honors thesis. Selected research topics completed by Environmental Studies majors have included:

  • “Developing an Interpretive Signage Protocol for the WERS Food Forest” by Sarah Becker (2019)
  • “Nature Is Pushing One Way and People Are Pushing the Other”: A Political Ecology of Forest Transitions in Western Montgomery County, PA by Megan Maccaroni (2014)
  • “Pebble Mine: Framing of Salmon Denies Alaska Natives Justice” by Sarah Huang (2014)
  • “Monarch Butterfly Conservation” by Katlyn Lawver (2013) 
  • “Public Participation and Opposition to the El Morro Mining Project in Atacama, Chile” by Deirdre MacFeeters (2013)
  • “The Effects of Tail Autotomy on Sexual Selection in Red-backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)” by Regan Dohm (2012)
  • “Real World: Shark Edition. How Sharks are Framed at the Adventure Aquarium and in the World” by Lindsay Budnick (2011)
  • “Senegal: Tourism as a Response to Environmental Degradation, Globalization, and Economic Strain” by Kerry McCarthy (2009)
  • “Design of Wet Pond Retrofit for Ursinus College” by Erony Whyte (2005)
  • “A Zero Impact House for Ursinus College” by Brianna Worley (2005)