Geography students working in the field.

About Environmental Geography

Environmental Geography explores human-environmental interactions.  It provides students with the opportunity to study how humans impact, manage, and conserve the natural environment, including landforms, water and soil resources, climate, and plant and animal communities. Students select this major because they are interested in careers or graduate study in the environmental field. 

Courses in the program focus on understanding processes and patterns in the natural environment, as well as quantitative analysis and applied, hands-on experiences in lab and field methods.  The use of geographic tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, is also emphasized to prepare students with the skills to identify, explain, and find meaning in human-environment interactions.  

Advanced Study: Qualified students can also enroll in a 4+1 pathway to a Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree in Great Lakes Environmental Science where they can study human impact on the natural environment while earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in only five years.

Environmental Geography, B.S.

Great Lakes Environmental Science, M.A.

Great Lakes Environmental Science, M.S.

Degree Information

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in the environmental field (e.g., environmental scientists and specialists) have been and are projected to continue to grow at a faster than average rate. Graduates will be prepared to work for local, state, and federal government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private environmental consulting firms.  

The Environmental Geography B.S. will provide career preparation for: 

  • Environmental planning
  • Environmental advocacy
  • Resource management
  • Natural areas preservation
  • Outdoor and environmental education
  • Environmental assessment, monitoring, and restoration. 

Our recent graduates have been hired by:

  • Ecology and Environment
  • Wendel Companies
  • Sienna Environmental
  • Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper
  • NYS Agriculture and Markets
  • NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Bureau of Land Management
  • US Forest Service

There are numerous opportunities for applied learning experiences for Environmental Geography majors.  Majors have recently completed internships at the following organizations: 

  • Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper
  • Buffalo State Environmental Health and Safety
  • Erie County Department of Environment and Planning
  • United States Department of Agriculture

Students have done research projects on such diverse topics as

  • Stormwater mapping
  • Species habitat characterization
  • Invasive insect monitoring and control
  • Vegetation and climate history of arid lands

Student Research and Creativity Conference: Students routinely present their research results at the annual Student Research and Creativity Conference and at regional conferences. 

Student Research and Creativity Conference Information

Field Courses: The department offers placed-based field courses and experiences, including courses such as the Bahamas Field Course and Cavern Studies in the Northeastern US.

Study Away: Majors are encouraged to take advantage of the College’s study abroad and national exchange programs.

Learn about Study Away

Small Class Size

Introductory-level courses have approximately 45 students in them and upper-division courses have between ten and fifteen students. Students in the major receive close individual attention and innovative, hands-on experience in the classroom and field. 

Committed Faculty

The faculty in Buffalo State's Geography and Planning Department are committed to student success and, in addition to teaching, are involved in a variety of research activities: 

  • Biogeography
  • Conservation
  • GIS and remote sensing
  • Meteorology and climatology
  • Watershed analysis
James R. Bensley Lecturer
Elisa T. Bergslien Associate Professor
Jennifer L. Connelly Associate Director, Planetarium
Camille A. Holmgren Professor
Wende A. Mix Associate Professor
Mary F. Perrelli GIS Lab Supervisor
Gary S. Solar Chair and Professor
Nicholas B. Sullivan Lecturer
Tao Tang Professor
Joshua M. Unghire Lecturer
Vida Vanchan Professor
Stephen J. Vermette Professor
Kevin K. Williams Associate Professor
Cynthia A. Wong Administrative Assistant 1