Environmental Sciences Major

The major in environmental sciences has two tracks: one in science and one in economic policy. The tracks share foundation courses in science and math and the core curriculum. Advanced coursework differs by track.

Students should plan their academic paths with an environmental sciences adviser soon after identifying their interests in the major. Foundation courses, many of which are prerequisites for advanced courses, should be completed as soon as possible. Students are encouraged (but not required) to take MATH 230-0 Differential Calculus of Multivariable Functions or the General Physics sequence PHYSICS 135-1, PHYSICS 135-2, PHYSICS 135-3, especially if they envision graduate training. Premedical students and students interested in advanced study in environmental biology are advised to take the full 200-level sequence in biological sciences and 2 additional quarters of organic chemistry.

Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.

Course Title
Program Courses (11 units)
3 core courses:
Earth: A Habitable Planet
The Health of the Biosphere
Humans and the Environment
8 advanced studies courses (see below)
Foundations in Science and Math (Units depend on chemistry and mathematics sequences taken; courses may double-count with another major or a minor)
Students should complete all of the following courses in their first two years:
MATH 220-0
MATH 224-0
Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions
and Integral Calculus of One-Variable Functions
or MATH 212-0
MATH 213-0
MATH 214-0
Single Variable Calculus I
and Single Variable Calculus II
and Single Variable Calculus III
CHEM 110-0
CHEM 131-0
CHEM 141-0
CHEM 132-0
CHEM 142-0
Quantitative Problem Solving in Chemistry
and General Chemistry 1
and General Chemistry Laboratory 1
and General Chemistry 2
and General Chemistry Laboratory 2
or CHEM 151-0
CHEM 161-0
CHEM 152-0
CHEM 162-0
Accelerated General Chemistry 1
and Accelerated General Chemistry Laboratory 1
and Accelerated General Chemistry 2
and Accelerated General Chemistry Laboratory 2
or CHEM 171-0
CHEM 181-0
CHEM 172-0
CHEM 182-0
Advanced General Inorganic Chemistry
and Advanced General Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
and Advanced General Physical Chemistry
and Advanced General Physical Chemistry Laboratory
5 courses chosen from the following, with at least 2 from the same group. (Chemistry and physics labs do not count toward the 5-course total.) 1
BIOL_SCI 215-0Genetics and Molecular Biology
BIOL_SCI 217-0Physiology
BIOL_SCI 219-0Cell Biology
BIOL_SCI 220-0
BIOL_SCI 221-0
BIOL_SCI 222-0
Genetics and Molecular Processes Laboratory
and Cellular Processes Laboratory
and Investigative Laboratory
CHEM 210-1Organic Chemistry
CHEM 210-2
CHEM 230-2
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Lab I
ECON 201-0Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 202-0Introduction to Microeconomics
General Physics
and General Physics Laboratory
General Physics
and General Physics Laboratory
General Physics
and General Physics Laboratory
STAT 210-0Introductory Statistics for the Social Sciences
MATH 230-0Differential Calculus of Multivariable Functions
MATH 240-0Linear Algebra
MATH 250-0Elementary Differential Equations

Advanced Studies Courses

See below for lists of approved science courses and environment and society courses. See Environmental Sciences webpage for updates to these lists.

  • At least 6 must be at the 300 level.
  • Stu­dents in the science track choose 6 from the science list and 2 from the environment and society list.
  • Students in the policy track take:
Course Title
ECON 281-0Introduction to Applied Econometrics
ECON 310-1Microeconomics
ECON 371-0Economics of Energy
or ECON 372-0 Environmental Economics
or ECON 373-0 Natural Resource Economics
5 additional courses, including 4 from the science list
  • Up to 2 ENVR_SCI 399-0 Independent Study research courses may be substituted for courses on the science list.
  • Students who wish to double-major in Economics and Environmental Sciences are encouraged to do the science track in Environmental Science. Students doing the policy track must take extra 300-level economics classes to fulfill the requirements for both majors.

Science List

Course Title
ANTHRO 306-0Evolution of Life Histories
ANTHRO 312-0Human Population Biology
ANTHRO 314-0Human Growth & Development
ANTHRO 390-0Topics In Anthropology 1
BIOL_SCI 301-0Principles of Biochemistry
BIOL_SCI 330-0Plant Biology
BIOL_SCI 332-0Conservation Genetics
BIOL_SCI 334-0Soils and the Environment: The Earth's Critical Zone
BIOL_SCI 336-0Spring Flora
BIOL_SCI 337-0Quantitative Methods for Ecology and Conservation
BIOL_SCI 341-0Population Genetics
BIOL_SCI 346-0Field Ecology
BIOL_SCI 347-0Conservation Biology
BIOL_SCI 349-0Plant Community Ecology
BIOL_SCI 350-0Plant Evolution and Diversity Lab
CHEM 306-0Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 329-0Analytical Chemistry
CHEM 342-1Thermodynamics
CHEM 342-2Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy
CHEM 393-0Green Chemistry
CHEM_ENG 365-0Sustainability, Technology, and Society
CIV_ENV 260-0Environmental Systems and Processes
CIV_ENV 340-0Hydraulics and Hydrology
CIV_ENV 358-0Airphoto Interpretation
CIV_ENV 361-1Environmental Microbiology
CIV_ENV 361-2Public & Environmental Health
CIV_ENV 363-0Environmental Engineering Applications 1: Air and Land
CIV_ENV 364-0Sustainable Water Systems
CIV_ENV 365-0Environmental Laboratory
CIV_ENV 367-0Chemical Processes in Aquatic Systems
CIV_ENV 371-0Introduction to Transportation Planning and Analysis
CIV_ENV 376-0Transportation System Operations
EARTH 201-0Earth Systems Revealed
EARTH 300-0Earth and Planetary Materials
EARTH 301-0Petrology: Evolution of Crustal and Mantle Rocks
EARTH 310-0Aqueous Geochemistry
EARTH 312-0Stable Isotope Geochemistry
EARTH 313-0Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry
EARTH 314-0Organic Geochemistry
EARTH 330-0Sedimentary Geology
EARTH 331-0Field Problems in Sedimentary Geology
EARTH 341-0Quaternary Climate Change: Ice Ages to the Age of Oil
EARTH 342-0Contemporary Energy and Climate Change
EARTH 343-0Earth System Modeling
EARTH 353-0Mathematical Inverse Methods in Earth and Environmental Sciences (formerly Earth 329)
EARTH 360-0Instrumentation and Field Methods
EARTH 361-0Introduction to Scientific Programming in Python (formerly Earth 322)
EARTH 362-0Data Analysis for Earth and Planetary Sciences (formerly Earth 326)
EARTH 371-0Biogeochemistry (formerly Earth 317)
EARTH 373-0Microbial Ecology
EARTH 380-0Forming a Habitable Planet (formerly Earth 351)
EARTH 390-0Special Topics in Earth and Planetary Science 1
ENVR_SCI 390-0Special Topics in Environmental Sciences
GEOG 211-0World Biogeography
GEOG 240-0Economic Geography
GEOG 341-0Principles of Cartography
GEOG 343-0Geographic Information Systems
ISEN 210-0Introduction to Sustainability: Challenges and Solutions
ISEN 220-0Introduction to Energy Systems for the 21st Century
MECH_ENG 241-0Fluid Mechanics I
MECH_ENG 395-0Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering 1

Environment and Society List

Course Title
ANTHRO 310-0Evolution and Culture
ANTHRO 383-0Environmental Anthropology
CIV_ENV 303-0Environmental Law and Policy
CIV_ENV 349-0Environmental Management
CIV_ENV 368-0Sustainability: The City
CIV_ENV 395-0Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engrg 1
ECON 371-0Economics of Energy
ECON 372-0Environmental Economics
ECON 373-0Natural Resource Economics
ENVR_POL 390-0Special Topics in Environmental Policy and Culture
ENVR_POL 395-0Special Topics Seminar
GEOG 328-0The Human Use of the Earth
GBL_HLTH 302-0Global Bioethics
HISTORY 200-0New Introductory Courses in History 1
HISTORY 300-0New Lectures in History 1
HISTORY 309-0American Environmental History
HISTORY 376-0Global Environments and World History
HISTORY 392-0Topics In History 1
HISTORY 395-0Research Seminar 1
ISEN 230-0Climate Change and Sustainability: Ethical Dimensions
ISEN 390-0Special Topics in Energy & Sustainability
PHIL 254-0Introduction to Philosophy of the Natural Sciences
PHIL 268-0Ethics and the Environment
PHIL 269-0Bioethics
PHIL 270-0Climate Change and Sustainability: Economic and Ethical Dimensions
POLI_SCI 329-0U.S. Environmental Politics
POLI_SCI 349-0International Environmental Politics
RELIGION 261-0American Religion, Ecology and Culture
SOCIOL 212-0Environment and Society
SOCIOL 276-0Introductory Topics in Sociology
SOCIOL 305-0Population Dynamics
SOCIOL 311-0Food, Politics and Society
SOCIOL 312-0Social Change and the Environment

Honors in Environmental Sciences

Students with strong academic records and an interest in pursuing honors should approach a faculty member by the end of junior year to discuss possible projects; these may involve field, experimental, or computational research. Research is completed during 2 quarters of ENVR_SCI 399-0 Independent Study, which may count toward major requirements. Students then prepare a written thesis. Those whose theses and grades meet program criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information consult the program director and see Honors in the Major.