Environmental Science

The Environmental Science Program offers an interdisciplinary course of study, which stresses an understanding of environmental problems and issues.

Do you want to help solve environmental problems at home and around the world? Maybe work outside at a National Park or Forest? An environmental science degree is the right program for you.

Leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, the program is designed to meet the needs of those students who are preparing for graduate study or who intend to pursue a career in the environmental sciences upon graduation. It is designed to provide a scientific perspective of humankind.


Recent graduates from the Biology and Environmental Science Department have gone on to the West Virginia University School of Medicine, the Ross University School of Medicine, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, the Palmer College of Chiropractic, and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University.

Other alumni are currently working with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service, and a variety of other state and federal agencies.

Those who have pursued post-baccalaureate degrees have been to graduate schools at West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, University of Nevada at Reno, Marshall University, Penn State Harrisburg, and Oklahoma State in recent years.


The professional climate surrounding Davis & Elkins College offers Environmental Science students a wide range of possible internships. Students intern at the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Forest Service, in the main offices in Elkins. Also, at nearby Monongahela National Forest, Fernow Experimental Forest, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and Blackwater Falls State Park. For students wanting an internship at home during the summer, internships have been pursued at Maryland State Park Service, Virginia Division of Conservation and Recreation, Parks Canada, Trout Unlimited, National Park Service, and non-profits.


The Biology and Environmental Science Department is housed in the modern Eshleman Science Center.

The Department has five teaching laboratories and a departmental computer laboratory The S. Benton Talbott Seminar Room located in the Science Center is a conference room where upper level classes are held, students share their research experiences with other students, and where invited speakers share their interests and expertise with students.

The Department has a variety of scientific instrumentation including microscopes, air pollution and water pollution monitoring equipment, laboratory instrumentation, and field sampling equipment. Recent additions to the cell and molecular biology lab include a programmable thermocycler for PCR analysis, UV/Vis spectrophotometer, microcentrifuges, and gel electrophoresis equipment. The Department also has an extensive collection of microscope slides and audiovisual media materials. Special facilities include a weather station, a controlled environment chamber and the spacious Tolstead Greenhouse. The Davis & Elkins College Herbarium contains over 3,000 specimens of vascular plants and is also the repository of the West Virginia State Fungi collection. The Department also has a computer lab equipped with GIS/Remote Sensing software and a large-scale plotter.

The Davis & Elkins College Biology and Environmental Science Department is also a partner in a cooperative Appalachian watershed study (CAWS) and maintains an experimental watershed, the Pigeon Creek Watershed. Davis & Elkins faculty and students are involved in a series of ongoing research projects within this area. Field studies and student research projects are also carried-out within the Robert E. Urban Nature Area located on the campus within a few minutes walk of the Eshleman Science Center.

The nearby Monongahela National Forest and other nearby natural areas constitute an immense and highly varied natural laboratory for biological and environmental investigations. The following areas are within an hour’s drive of the campus:

  • Spruce Knob – the highest point in West Virginia at 4,862 feet
  • Seneca Rocks
  • Blackwater Canyon (under study as a new national park)
  • Bear Heaven Natural Area
  • Blister Swamp
  • Big Run Bog natural area
  • Dolly Sods Wilderness
  • Otter Creek Wilderness
  • Upper Laurel Fork Wilderness
  • Lower Laurel Fork Wilderness
  • Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Students in the forest
Students in Swamp


Biology and Environmental Science students are active in a variety of campus organizations including the Wilderness Coalition, The Senator (student newspaper), The Aurora (literary magazine) as well as a variety of Davis & Elkins athletic teams. Students are also involved in campus leadership roles, serving as Peer Leaders and Resident Advisors in the dormitories.

Chi Beta Phi National Science Honorary
The Zeta Chapter of Chi Beta Phi, the National Science Honorary, has been a part of Davis & Elkins College since 1925. The goals of Chi Beta Phi are to promote academic excellence in the natural sciences and math and to encourage undergraduates to pursue scientific careers.

Requirements for regular membership in Chi Beta Phi are a minimum of 20 semester hours in math and science (biology, environmental science, chemistry, physics, computer science) with a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and 3.0 GPA in math and science courses.

Requirements for associate membership are 20 semester hours in math and science with a minimum 2.5 GPA overall and 2.5 GPA in math and science.

Chi Beta Phi is active in bringing guest speakers to campus, assisting in the regional science fair, and community service. All students are welcome to participate in Chi Beta Phi activities.

Put your beliefs about the importance of sustainability to work in the community.

GreenWorks! is the student sustainability organization of D&E’s Center for Sustainability Studies. From changing out light bulbs in Halliehurst to planting red spruce in Canaan Valley, student volunteers are making a difference campus-wide and in the surrounding community.

Among the many opportunities allowing students to become active in sustainability research and community projects, the group has completed three solar panel installations on campus. The most recent solar installation, the largest on a residential college/university in West Virginia, was initiated by students who were inspired to start the project after attending Mother Earth News conferences the past several years. Students installed the system under the guidance of Matt Sherald, owner of Power in My Backyard (PIMBY), located in Thomas, W.Va.

For more information about getting involved, contact Dr. Crytsal Krause.

Lead the Way at D&E. Contact us today.