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Undergraduate Program

BA in Environmental Studies (ESP)

The BA 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
  • Environmental management

Student may also gain entry-level employment with consulting firms and public agencies.

Required Courses

Prerequisite Courses


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

 Mathematics: (choose one of the following options)

  • MTH 161: Calculus IA
  • MTH 141: Calculus I andMTH 142: Calculus 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*:

  • 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 two of the following*:

  • 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

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

Skills Course

Choose one of the following*: 

  • CHM 203/207: Organic Chemistry plus 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

 *If more than one course is taken, the additional courses may be counted as technical electives.

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:

  • Natural sciences and engineering
  • Social sciences/humanities

Some of these courses may require a prerequisite course not specified as part of the program.

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

Natural Sciences and Engineering Courses

Choose two of the following natural sciences and engineering courses:

  • Biological and health sciences:
    • BIO 102: Natural History   
    • BIO 104: Ecosystem Conservation and Human Society            
    • BIO 205(W): Evolution
    • BIO 110/112: Principles/Perspectives of Biology I (if taken in the first 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
    • PM 415: Principles of Epidemiology
  • Geological and environmental sciences
    • 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 and 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
  • Chemistry and chemical engineering
    • CHM 132: Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices II
    • CHM 204/208: Organic Chemistry II plus Lab
    • CHM 231: Chemical Instrumentation
    • CHM 286: Energy, Science, Technology, and Society
    • CHE 150: Green Energy

Social Sciences/Humanities

Choose three of the following courses:

  • Economics
    • ECO 207: Intermediate Microeconomics
    • ECO 238: Environmental Economics                           
  • Environmental humanities
    • EHU 245: Nature / Culture / Memory / Modernity
    • EHU 267: Media Space: From Film to Smart Phones
    • EHU 268: Food, Media, Literature
    • EHU 250: Food Justice, Urban Farming, Social Practice
  • History
    • 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
  • Philosophy
    • PHL 102: Ethics
    • PHL 103: Contemporary Moral Problems
    • PHL 135: Environmental Ethics
    • PHL 230(W): Environmental Justice
  • Political science
    • 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
  • Courses in other departments
    • AH 234: Art and Environment
    • ANT 224: Anthropology of Development
    • PH 103: Concepts of Epidemiology
    • 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 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.

 Acceptable Course Substitutions

Math: MTH 141 and MTH 142 for MTH 161 or MTH 141–MTH 143 for MTH 161 and MTH 162.

Chemistry: CHM 171Q and CHM 173Q for CHM 203 and CHM 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.