On July 1, the College of Science and Mathematics at Georgia Southern University launched a new school that will blend several science disciplines to better serve a growing student demand for sustainability and environmental science. The SEES will bring together the geosciences program and the James H. Oliver, Jr., Institute for Coastal Plain Science (ICPS).
“The new School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability is a testament to Georgia Southern’s aptitude to acclimate with the job market to create new pathways for successful careers,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Carl Reiber, Ph.D. “The careers these students will be prepared for don’t require the traditional disciplines we used to see. We’re now seeing a need for combining pathways among several disciplines to give students a better chance of success after their academic careers are complete.”
Under the new union, the degree programs will be respectively:
-Master of Science in Applied Geography
-B.S. in Geosciences (concentration in geology or geography)
-B.A. in Geology
-Geographic Information Systems Minor
James H. Oliver, Jr., Institute for Coastal Plain Science
-Ph.D. in Environmental Science
-Master of Science in Environmental Science
-B.S. in Sustainability Science
-Environmental Sustainability Interdisciplinary Minor
Students can pursue a Master of Science in Environmental Science as an accelerated master’s degree, which allows students to begin working toward their graduate degree as an undergraduate.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions in environmental sciences is increasing 5% every year. The typical entry-level position requires a bachelor’s degree.
“We’re seeing an increase in the development of environmental science and sustainability programs across the country, and that’s because business is becoming more conscious of their impact,” said Daniel Gleason, Ph.D., chair of Georgia Southern University's new School of Earth, Environment and Sustainability (SEES). “Industry has now taken an interest in it and they’re demanding graduates with these types of degrees. Students are demanding these types of degrees. I’ve had several students over the last year that have transferred from some other institutions within Georgia because we had a sustainability science degree and they wanted that degree.”
Gleason has been a professor and director of the Institute for Coastal Plain Science for a decade. He said when it comes to addressing issues related to the environment and sustainability, the traditional boundaries between the sciences are becoming blurred, so combining the geosciences programs and institute was a natural union.