Society & Culture

UGA’s Odum School of Ecology introduces new bachelor’s degree program

Athens, Ga. – This fall, the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will launch a new Bachelor of Arts degree in ecology.

Designed to meet the needs of students interested in the interface of ecology and society, the Bachelor of Arts will build on the strong foundation of the existing Bachelor of Science degree with a more interdisciplinary approach. The program will emphasize the development of problem-solving and communication skills through experiential learning focused on ecological principles and environmental issues in their social context.

John Gittleman, dean of the Odum School, said the Bachelor of Arts in ecology is an idea whose time has come, driven by demand from both students and employers.

“Our Bachelor of Science degree provides excellent preparation for those who want to pursue careers as scientists,” he said. “Our students go on to highly competitive graduate programs and successful careers with nongovernmental organizations, governmental agencies and consulting firms.

“But more and more, we are being approached by students interested in fields like environmental law, science journalism and sustainability. At the same time, we have been hearing from business leaders about the growing need for professionals who understand ecological principles and can translate the science into real-world solutions for the very complex problems they face. This Bachelor of Arts degree program is intended to fill that gap.”

Students in the Bachelor of Arts program will receive a strong foundation in ecological science, taking many of the same core courses as those seeking the Bachelor of Science degree. These include 21 hours of major level ecology classes and 12 hours of science and math.

An innovative field course will then take the students on a tour of Georgia to gain firsthand experience of the environmental issues facing the state and meet the stakeholders involved. A practicum course will provide them with the opportunity to gain experience in group problem solving while putting what they’ve learned into practice.

“Environmental issues are increasingly recognized as affecting not just the environment itself, but human health, the economy and global security,” Gittleman said. “The Odum School’s new Bachelor of Arts in ecology program will give students the tools they need to become leaders in addressing these 21st century challenges.”

For more information about the Bachelor of Arts in ecology degree, please contact Odum School undergraduate adviser Misha Boyd at or undergraduate coordinator Carol Hoffman at For more about the Odum School of Ecology, see