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Environmental Studies (BA)

Two concentrations in the environmental field, a B.S. in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (EVS) and a B.A. in ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (ESP) are offered in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Rochester. Interested students should contact Karen Berger (275-7611 or


The B.A. in Environmental Studies is designed to guide students who have interests in environmental management through a program that links courses in the natural and social sciences. Students successfully completing this program could expect to pursue graduate programs in such fields as law, public policy, urban and regional planning, and environmental management or to find entry-level employment with consulting firms and public agencies.

The Environmental Studies degree program consists of prerequisite courses, a set of core courses, one skills course, electives in the natural and social sciences, and a closure experience. Two of the courses must be taken as upper-level writing courses (W indicates the option to take a course to meet the upper-level writing requirement).

Prerequisite Courses


 CHM 131 Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices I              

 MATHEMATICS: (choose one of the following options)

 MTH 161 Calculus IA

MTH 141 and 142 Calculus I and II

Core Courses

The core courses deal explicitly with important environmental problems and illustrate the relationship between the content of specific disciplines such as geology, chemistry, economics, and political science and the practice of environmental analysis and management. 

Choose ONE of the following introductory core courses. Students taking more than one 100-level core course may count the additional courses as technical electives, so long as they have not already taken an upper-level course in the same area of study.


EES 100 Introduction to Oceanography      

EES 101 Introduction to Geological Sciences

EES 103 Introduction to Environmental Science

EES 105 Introduction to Climate Change


Choose TWO of the following. If more than two courses are taken, the additional courses will be counted as technical elective(s).


EES 201 Evolution of the Earth

EES 212 A Climate Change Perspective to Chemical Oceanography

EES 213(W) Hydrology and Water Resources

EES 216(W) Environmental Geochemistry

EES 218 Atmospheric Geochemistry

EES 219 Energy and Society

EES 235 Physical Oceanography

EES 236 Physics of Climate


Skills Course

Choose ONE of the following. If more than one course is taken, the additional courses may be counted as technical electives.


CHM 203/207 Organic Chemistry + Lab

CSC 161 Introduction to Programming

EES 251 Introduction to GIS

STT 211 Applied Statistics for the Social Sciences

STT 212 Applied Statistics for the Biological and Physical Sciences

EES 221 Quantitative Environmental Problem Solving


Elective Courses

Five elective courses must be chosen to create what the student and the faculty advisors view as a coherent program.  The elective courses are presented in two groups: 1) Natural Sciences and Engineering, 2) Social Sciences/Humanities.  Some of these courses may require a pre-requisite course not specified as part of the program.

Students must choose TWO natural-science courses and THREE social-science/humanities courses. New courses, one-time courses, or study-abroad courses may be included upon departmental faculty approval.




BIO 102 Natural History   

BIO 104 Ecosystem Conservation and Human Society            

BIO 205(W) Evolution

BIO 110/112Principles/Perspectives of Biology I (if taken in freshman year)

BIO 225 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

BIO 247 Environmental Animal Physiology

BIO 250 Biochemistry       

BIO 253 Computational Biology

BIO 260(W) Animal Behavior

BIO 263(W) Ecology

PH 103 Concepts of Epidemiology

PM 415 Principles of Epidemiology



EES 203(W) Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

EES 204(W) Earth Materials

EES 205 Solid Earth Geophysics

EES 207(W) Principles of Paleontology

EES 208 Structural Geology

EES 209 Intro to Geochemistry

EES 219 Energy and Society

EES 220 Intro to Geobiology

EES 222 Energy Resources

EES 231 Ice Sheets, Glaciers, Climate Change

EES 232 Seminar in Marine Biogeochemistry

EES 233 Marine Ecosystems & Carbon Cycling Modeling

EES 234 Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling

EES 248(W) High Temperature Geochemistry

EES 252 Marine Geology

EES 255 Planetary Science: Geologic Evolution

EES 265 Paleoclimate

EES 266 Ice Core Records of Climate and Environmental Change

EES 270(W) Vertebrate Paleontology

EES 274 Seminar in Paleoceanography




CHM 132 Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices II

CHM 204/208 Organic Chemistry II + Lab

CHM 231 Chemical Instrumentation

CHM 286 Energy, Science, Technology and Society

CHE 150  Green Energy






 ECO 207 Intermediate Microeconomics

 ECO 238 Environmental Economics



EHU 245 Literature and the Modern Environmental Imagination

EHU 267 Media Space: From Film to Smart Phones

EHU 268 Food, Media, Literature

EHU 250 Food Justice, Urban Farming, Social Practice



HIS 186 History of Energy Resources and Utilization

HIS 235(W) Earth, Wind, Water, Fire: An Environmental History of the Globe

HIS 300W The History of Nature



PHL 102 Ethics

PHL 103 Contemporary Moral Problems

PHL 135 Environmental Ethics

PHL 230(W) Environmental Justice



PSC 239 International Environmental Law

PSC 241(W) Urban Change and City Politics

PSC 243(W) Environmental Politics

PSC 246 Environmental Law and Policy

PSC 247(W) Green Markets



AH 234 Art and Environment

ANT 224 Anthropology of Development

PH 232 Environmental Health Policy


Closure Course

At least four credit hours are required.  Seminars or senior theses with environmental content offered in other departments are also acceptable (after approval by one of the program advisors).


EES 307 Advanced Seminar on Climate and Environmental Change

EES 310(W) Science and Sustainability

EES 312W Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry

EES 313(W) Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry II (2 credits)

EES 319W Energy Decisions

EES 320(W) Sustainable Systems

EES 360 Environmental Geology in the Field and Laboratory

EES 391(W) Independent Research

EES 393(W)  Senior Thesis

EES 394 Internship in Environmental Sciences



 Acceptable course substitutions:

MTH 141-142 for MTH 161 or MTH 141-143 for MTH 161-162.

CHM 171Q+173Q for CHM 203+207


AP credit for prerequisites and the introductory core course can be found at


Transfer credit for required courses is accepted 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.