BS in Environmental Science (EVS)

The BS in environmental science provides students with a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, and a broad background in earth sciences. The program also helps students develop strong analytical, quantitative, and communication skills needed to solve problems related to Earth systems and resources.

Students in our program acquire knowledge and skills 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.


Prerequisite Courses


  • BIOL 111: Principles of Biology II


  • CHEM 131: Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices I
  • CHEM 132: Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices II


  • MATH 161: Calculus IA
  • MATH 162: Calculus IIA
  • MATH 165: Linear Algebra with Differential Equations


  • PHYS 113 or 121: General Physics I/Mechanics
  • PHYS 114 or 122: General Physics II/Electricity and Magnetism

Core Courses

Choose one of the following introductory core courses*:

  • EESC 100: Introduction to Oceanography
  • EESC 101: Introduction to Earth Sciences
  • EESC 103: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • EESC 105: Introduction to Climate Change

*One additional 100-level EESC course may be acceptable as a technical elective if it was taken in the first year.

Choose three of the following*:

  • EESC 201: Evolution of the Earth
  • EESC 212: A Climate Change Perspective to Chemical Oceanography [MATH 161, CHEM 131]
  • EESC 213(W): Hydrology and Water Resources
  • EESC 216(W): Environmental Geochemistry [MATH 141, CHEM 131, EESC 101]
  • EESC 218: Atmospheric Geochemistry [MATH 161, CHEM 131, one 100-level EESC course]
  • EESC 223: Earth Surface Processes: The Science of Scenery
  • EESC 235: Physical Oceanography [MATH 165, PHYS 121]
  • EESC 236: Physics of Climate [MATH 165, PHYS 121]

*If more than three courses are taken, the additional courses will be counted as technical elective(s).

Skills Courses

Choose two of the following*:

  • CHEM 203/207: Organic Chemistry plus Lab
  • CSC 161: Introduction to Programming
  • EESC 214: Earth Science Data Analysis
  • EESC 221: Quantitative Environmental Problem Solving
  • EESC 251: Introduction to GIS
  • STAT 180: Introduction to Applied Statistical Methodology (previously STAT 212)

*If more than two courses are taken, the additional courses may be counted as technical electives.

Technical Electives

A minimum of 16 credit hours of technical electives are required, chosen from the courses listed below. Only one of the political science courses may be counted as a technical elective for the major. We recommend, but do not require, that the courses come from a single track. Substitutions are permitted with prior approval from the program advisors.

CourseBiology emphasis Chemistry emphasis Geology emphasis Climate emphasis
BIOL 110 or 112: Principles of Biology IX   
BIOL 190: Genetics and the Human Genome or BIOL 198: Principles of GeneticsX   
BIOL 205(W): EvolutionX   
BIOL 225: Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyX   
BIOL 247: Environmental Animal PhysiologyX   
BIOL 250: BiochemistryXX  
BIOL 253: Computational BiologyX   
BIOL 260(W): Animal BehaviorX   
BIOL 263: EcologyX   
BIOL 265: Molecular EvolutionX   
BIOL 266: Tree of LifeX   
MBI 220: Introduction to MicrobiologyX   
PM 415: Principles of EpidemiologyX   
CHEM 204/208: Organic Chemistry II plus Lab X  
CHEM 211: Inorganic Chemistry X  
CHEM 231: Chemical Instrumentation X  
CHEM 251: Physical Chemistry I X  
CHEM 252: Physical Chemistry II X  
CHEM 286: Energy, Science, Technology, Society X  
CHE 150: Green Energy X X
CHE 225: Thermodynamics X  
CHE 243: Fluid Dynamics X X
CHE 244: Heat and Mass Transfer X  
EESC 102/202: Plate Tectonics and Active Geologic Processes  X 
EESC 201: Evolution of Earth  X 
EESC 203(W): Sedimentology and Stratigraphy  X 
EESC 204(W): Earth Materials XX 
EESC 205: Solid Earth Geophysics XX 
EESC 206: Petrology XX 
EESC 207(W): Paleontology  X 
EESC 208: Structural Geology  X 
EESC 209: Intro to Geochemistry XX 
EESC 219: Energy and Society   X
EESC 220: Intro to GeobiologyX X 
EESC 222: Energy Resources  X 
EESC 231: Ice Sheets, Glaciers, Climate Change (2 credits)   X
EESC 232: Seminar in Marine Biogeochemistry (2 credits)XX X
EESC 233: Marine Ecosystems and Carbon Cycling ModelingXX X
EESC 234: Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling X X
EESC 249(W): Chemical Evolution of the Earth XX 
EESC 252: Marine Geology  X 
EESC 255(W): Planetary Science: Geologic Evolution  X 
EESC 261(W): Stable Isotope GeochemistryX
EESC 262: RadiochemistryXX
EESC 265: Paleoclimate XXX
EESC 266: Ice Core Records of Climate and Environmental Change X X
EESC 270(W): Vertebrate PaleontologyX X 
EESC 274(W): Paleooceanography and Climate Change  XX
EESC 283: Sedimentary Basin Analysis  X 
EESC 288(W): Geometry and Mechanics of Thrust Faults  X 
PSCI 239: International Environmental LawXXXX
PSCI 243: Environmental PoliticsXXXX
PSCI 246: Environmental Law and PolicyXXXX
PSCI 247: Green MarketsXXXX
STAT 203: Introduction to Mathematical StatisticsXXXX
STAT 213: Elements of Probability and Mathematical StatisticsXXXX
STAT 226: Introduction to Linear ModelsXXXX
STAT 241: Applied Multivariate AnalysisXXXX

Capstone 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, but must have prior approval from an earth and environmental studies (EESC) faculty member.

EESC 306: Atmospheric Research
EESC 307: Advanced Seminar on Climate and Environmental Change
EESC 312(W): Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry
EESC 313(W): Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry II (2 credits)
EESC 319(W): Energy Decisions
EESC 320(W): Sustainable Systems
EESC 360: Environmental Geology in the Field and Laboratory
EESC 391(W): Independent Research
EESC 393(W): Senior Thesis
EESC 394: Internship in Environmental Sciences

Writing Requirement

Two of the courses for the major must be taken as upper-level writing courses, indicated by a “W” after the course number.

Suggested Course Sequence

Note: 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 biology in the first year and to start with the initial EESC courses in the second year.

First Year

MATH 161 and MATH 162
CHEM 131 and CHEM 132
EESC 100-level course or elective EESC 100-level course or elective
Elective, and a writing course

Second Year

MATH 165 and BIOL 111
EESC core course and PHYS 121 or 113
Skills course EESC core course
Two electives

Third Year

PHYS 122 or 114 and an EESC core course or technical elective
EESC core course or technical elective and a technical elective
Skills course and an elective
Two electives

Fourth Year

Technical elective and capstone course or elective
Capstone course or elective and a technical elective
Four electives

Acceptable course substitutions:

  • MATH 141–142 for MATH 161 or MATH 141–143 for MATH 161–162
  • CHEM 171 and 173 for CHEM 203 and 207

AP credit for prerequisites and the introductory core course can be found in the College Center for Advising Services Advising Handbook.

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