Environmental Science and Policy Major

College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) – Department of Environment, Society, and Sustainability


This major is designed to provide the interdisciplinary background necessary for an environmental professional today.  It combines a strong foundation in science, emphasizing biology, with broad training in geographical theory and techniques.  This interdisciplinary training is necessary to create and implement environmental policy. 

This program will prepare students to solve complex multidisciplinary problems and to communicate effectively with the scientific community and the general public.  Graduates with this major will be prepared to successfully obtain positions with consulting firms, governmental agencies, private corporations, and non-profit organizations.  They will be prepared for work as environmental analysts, town wetlands administrators, environmental educators, or environmental scientists. 

They will also be prepared to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Science, Conservation Biology, Resource Management, Environmental Planning, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Law, and Environmental Education.  Graduates who choose not to pursue careers in Environmental Science will be well prepared for any career that requires a strong science background emphasizing data analysis, critical thinking, integration of complex information, spatial interpretation skills, effective communication and problem resolution skills.


The General Education Requirement

All students must satisfy a general education requirement consisting of ten (10) courses outside of the major department. The General Education Domain II-B (Natural Science) requirement is satisfied through the completion of the Environmental Science major.

Course Prerequisites

Courses may have specified conditions for enrollment, such as prior completion of less advanced courses, permission of the instructor, or appropriate placement test scores. Students should refer to course descriptions in the department listings for prerequisite requirements.


Requirements for the Major in Environmental Science and Policy

Required Core Courses (15):

  • BIOL 130 Principles of Biology with Lab
  • BIOL 248 Principles of Ecology with Lab
  • BIOL 251 Vascular Plant Taxonomy with Lab
  • CHEM 103 Introductory Chemistry with Lab *
  • CHEM 201 Introductory Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry with Lab
  • ECON 102 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 333 Environmental Economics
  • ENVS 101 Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy
  • ENVS 202 Data Analysis for Scientists
  • ENVS 451 Senior Thesis in Environmental Science I (0.5 course-credit)
  • ENVS 452 Senior Thesis in Environmental Science II (0.5 course-credit)
  • GEOL 108 Physical Geology with Lab
  • GEOG 216 Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
  • GEOG 235 Environmental Law and Policy
  • GEOG 375 Resource Management
  • MATH 123 College Algebra

*Students may elect to take CHEM 107 Principles of Chemistry and CHEM 108 Principles of Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis. Students choosing this option must take CHEM 207 Organic Chemistry I as a Restricted Elective in the Science area.

Restricted Electives (Six (6) courses):

Science -

Choose two (2) courses:                           

  • BIOL 211 Biology of the Reptilia with Lab
  • BIOL 232 Invertebrate Zoology with Lab
  • BIOL 291 Principles of Tropical Ecology and Conservation: Field Study
  • BIOL 335 Wildlife Biology with Lab
  • BIOL 336 Ornithology with Lab
  • BIOL 341 Marine Biology with Lab
  • EASC 208 Introduction to Meteorology
  • EASC 118 Oceanography
  • GEOL 233 Environmental Geology
  • PHYS 201 Physics for Earth and Life Scientists with Lab

Policy and Planning -

Choose three (3) courses:                        

  • ANTH 161 Cultural Anthropology
  • GEOG 135 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • GEOG 212 Geographical Perspectives on the Global Environment
  • GEOG 214 Geographical Techniques – Quantitative Methods
  • GEOG 225 Population, Food, and Global Development
  • GEOG 230 Geography of Natural and Man-Made Hazards
  • GEOG 240 Municipal Land Use
  • GEOG 272 Site Planning
  • GEOG 316 Advanced Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 328 Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • GEOG 339 Methods for Planning Analysis & Plan Making
  • PHIL 234 Environmental Ethics
  • POSC 223 Bureaucratic Politics and Power
  • POSC 250 American Legal Systems
  • POSC 329 Public Policy Analysis

Communication -

Choose one (1) course:                             

  • COMM 107 Effective Speaking
  • COMM 115 Introduction to Speech Communication
  • COMM 328 Argumentation and Advocacy
  • ENGL 225 Introduction to Journalism
  • ENGL 372 Technical Writing


Effective as of the 2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog