Environmental Science (BS)

Please note: Two majors in the environmental field, a BS in Environmental Science (EVS) and a BA in Environmental Studies (ESP) are offered in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Interested students should contact Karen Berger in the Department Office at (585) 275-5713 or karen.berger@rochester.edu.

BS in Environmental Science (EVS)

The BS in Environmental Science provides students with a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, a broad background in Earth sciences, as well as the strong analytical, quantitative, and communication skills needed to solve problems related to Earth systems and resources. The acquired knowledge and skills are excellent training for graduate research in a variety of fields (e.g., hydrology, geochemistry, oceanography, environmental geophysics, and atmospheric science) and careers in environmental and geological consulting, environmental law, or governmental advising.

The required courses provide a strong background in basic sciences. Three core courses deal explicitly with important environmental problems and illustrate the relationship between natural processes and human activities. Four technical electives permit a student to specialize in specific aspects of environmental sciences: geology, chemistry or biology. The program is concluded with a closure experience, which may consist of a research project, thesis, internship or senior seminar. Two of the courses must be taken as upper-level writing courses (W indicates the option to take the course to meet the upper-level writing requirement).

Required Courses





Core courses

Choose one of the following. If both are taken, then the second can be counted as a technical elective if taken before the senior year.

Choose three out of five of the following. Chemistry emphasis must include at least two from EES 212, 216 and 218. Geology emphasis must include EES 211 and EES 213. If more than three courses are taken, the additional courses will be counted as technical elective(s).

Technical Electives

A minimum of 16 credit hours of technical electives are recommended, chosen from the courses listed below. It is recommended that the courses come from a single track. The list of technical electives will be updated periodically to reflect changes in the course offerings. Students choosing the geology emphasis are encouraged to take EES 201 as a technical elective, or EES 101 if taken in the freshman year. Substitutions are permitted with prior approval of the program advisors.




Closure Courses

Four credit hours are required. This requirement can be fulfilled by one of the courses chosen from the following list or by finishing a Senior Project with environmental content (selected in consultation with the Advising Committee). The senior project can be carried out in any department willing to offer such a project.

Suggested Course Sequence For BS in Environmental Science

First Year
MTH 161 MTH 162
CHM 131 CHM 132
EES 101 (optional) EES 103 (optional)
Elective or Writing Writing or Elective
Second Year
BIO 110 BIO 111
EES core requirement EES core requirement
CHM 203+207 PHY 121
Elective Elective
Third Year
PHY 122 Technical Elective
EES core requirement Technical Elective
MTH 165 Technical Elective
Elective Elective
Fourth Year
Technical Elective Closure Course/Elective
Closure Course/Elective Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective


This is a suggested sequence only, which can readily be changed in the first two years. An alternative sequence would be, for example, to take the two BIO courses in the first year and to start with the initial EES courses in the second year.

Acceptable substitutions are: BIO 112/113 for BIO 110/111; PHY 113/114 for PHY 121/122; MTH 141-143 for MTH 161/162; CHM 171+173 for CHM 203+207; AP credit (score of 4 or 5): environmental science (EES 103); biology (BIO 198); chemistry (CHM 131); mathematics (MTH 161); physics (PHY 113 or 114 – following regulations of physics department).

Transfer credit for required courses in accordance with rules of the department offering the course, for technical electives on a case by case basis after consultation with a faculty advisor.