Physical Sciences


We are pleased to offer our signature courses to all environmental science program students, regardless of concentration.


The Department of Physical Sciences, at Washtenaw Community College, covers subjects from geodes to galaxies, and electrons to El Niños. It is comprised of the following disciplines: Astronomy, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, and Physics. Our goal is to provide students with a strong foundation in these academic areas. We do this by offering a variety of lecture, laboratory and on-line courses to serve the varied needs of our students. These courses provide a foundation to the scientific processes and principles that students will need to continue their academic careers. The curriculum also develops the critical thinking skills students need to become successful in their careers. All of our courses are designed to easily transfer to four-year institutions.

Career Outlook

A degree in environmental science can lead to many careers in both the public and the private sectors, such as employment by various businesses, social enterprises, non-profit organizations, governments, as well as research and consulting firms. There is barely an employment field that exists today that wouldn't benefit from employing students that majored in environmental science, and this is one reason why the United States Department of Labor has listed the projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024 at 11%, which is faster than average for the environmental science field (the average growth rate for all occupations is seven percent).

Because the employment opportunities related to environmental science are vast, Washtenaw Community College offers two different concentrations to help tailor your education to meet your career goals. Students may choose between the "Environmental Science" focus (ENV1) or the "Environment and Society" focus (ENV2).

The "Environmental Science" (ENV1) concentration focuses on providing those students that desire to conduct research which can involve identifying, controlling, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards affecting the environment or public health. Their research generally involves determining data collection methods; collecting and analyzing samples; analyzing environmental data gathered by others; and analyzing for correlations to human activity. They also need to prepare reports and presentations that explain their findings. They may also advise government officials that make policy, and businesses that need to follow regulations or improve their practices. A partial list of career opportunities includes: environmental scientist, environmental engineer, environmental educator, or environmental health specialist.

In the "Environment and Society" (ENV2) concentration, focuses on those students that wish to pursue environmental careers that are not focused on traditional scientific research. Instead, these students will learn about the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social systems of the world; the implications of our actions on the environment; factors that determine the sustainability of human institutions, organizations, cultures, and technologies; finding solutions through innovative approaches; and expanding future options by practicing environmental stewardship. Following the classical definition of sustainability, the aim is to develop citizens, businesses, and societies that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Students can expect to acquire critical thinking, critical writing, and quantitative and qualitative data analysis. A partial list of career opportunities includes: environmental analysts, environmental policy, environmental monitors, business consultants, environmental law, managers and planners in a variety of fields, and public relations.

We encourage you to check out the job outlook for various careers in environmental science through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by visiting this link: