New science major


Environmental studies in the Nature Preserve

The Bluffton University Nature Preserve will be a learning laboratory for the new environmental science major.

Major to address environmental issues

Starting in fall 2024, Bluffton University students will have the opportunity to major in environmental science. Housed in the department of health sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, the program will provide students a broader understanding of the natural and built worlds around them through classes in biology, chemistry, geology, and soil, water and climate sciences. 

“This major offers a pathway for students to become not just environmental scientists, plant and wildlife biologists, and conservationists, but also concerned citizens of the world who have a clearer understanding of the issues we face and potential solutions to them,” said Dr. Jacob Buchanan, who will oversee the program as M’Della Moon Endowed Chair in Botany and Environmental Science. “Environmental Science fits Bluffton’s values and mission, and we anticipate interested students will find that their passion involves learning about the world around them and collaborating with others to address environmental issues and injustices.” 

Through the major, students will also be exposed to past and present environmental issues and will gain relevant work experience to secure fulltime employment through internship experience. They’ll also have the opportunity to become involved in the management of the Bluffton University Nature Preserve, located adjacent to campus. The site serves as a learning laboratory for increased efforts in sustainability and native plant restoration. 

Two new courses, Geology and Soils and Hydrology were developed to meet the needs of the major and will be open to students university-wide who must fulfill a scientific inquiry competency. 

“Bluffton University is perfectly positioned to offer this new major to current and incoming students,” said Claire Clay, director of public relations and enrollment operations. “With our new Austin E. Knowlton Science Center opening this past fall and the 160-acre Nature Preserve and Moyer Nature Center on campus, students have the scientific world at their fingertips.” 

The major is made possible thanks to the M’Della Moon Endowment, established in fall 2022, through a $1.5 million gift made by anonymous donors. 

Science department

Degrees in science

Bluffton’s science programs feature hands-on curriculum, active student organizations and one-on-one assistance obtaining relevant research experiences.