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Undergraduate Program

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


  • BIO 111: Principles of Biology II


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


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


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

Core Courses

Choose one of the following introductory core courses*:

  • EES 100: Introduction to Oceanography
  • EES 101: Introduction to Geological Sciences
  • EES 103: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • EES 105: Introduction to Climate Change

*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.

Choose three of the following*:

  • EES 201: Evolution of the Earth
  • EES 212: A Climate Change Perspective to Chemical Oceanography [MTH 161, CHM 131]
  • EES 213(W): Hydrology and Water Resources
  • EES 216(W): Environmental Geochemistry [MTH 141, CHM 131, EES 101]
  • EES 218: Atmospheric Geochemistry [MTH 161, CHM 131, one 100-level EES course]
  • EES 235: Physical Oceanography [MTH 165, PHY 121]
  • EES 236: Physics of Climate [MTH 165, PHY 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*:

  • CHM 203/207: Organic Chemistry plus Lab
  • CSC 161: Introduction to Programming
  • EES 251: Introduction to GIS
  • STT 212: Applied Statistics for the Biological and Physical Sciences
  • EES 221: Quantitative Environmental Problem Solving

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

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

EES 307: Advanced Seminar on Climate and Environmental Change
EES 312(W): Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry
EES 313(W): Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry II (2 credits)
EES 319(W): 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

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 EES courses in the second year.

First Year

MTH 161 and MTH 162
CHM 131 and CHM 132
EES 100-level course or elective EES 100-level course or elective
Elective, and a writing course

Second Year

MTH 165 and BIO 111
EES core course and PHY 121 or 113
Skills course EES core course
Two electives

Third Year

PHY 122 or 114 and an EES core course or technical elective
EES core course or technical elective and a technical elective
Skills course and an elective
Two electives

Fourth Year

Technical elective and closure course or elective
Closure course or elective and a technical elective
Four electives

Acceptable course substitutions:

  • MTH 141–142 for MTH 161 or MTH 141–143 for MTH 161–162
  • CHM 171Q and 173Q for CHM 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.