Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science is designed for students interested in an interdisciplinary scientific perspective on environmental and sustainability issues, analysis, and management. The degree program provides the broad foundation in physical, life, and social sciences needed for a career or graduate study in environmental science and related fields such as climate change, ecology, and conservation. Students who complete the program successfully will be able to assess environmental issues critically from multiple perspectives; to perform field, laboratory, and computer analyses; and to conduct original research. The program is designed to prepare graduates for careers in local, state, and federal government laboratories and nonprofit agencies, environmental consulting firms, environmental education and outreach agencies, and universities and other research settings. The degree is offered by the Jackson School of Geosciences with a major in geological sciences, by the College of Liberal Arts with a major in geographical sciences, and by the College of Natural Sciences with a major in biological sciences. The degree programs share common prescribed work, but each major has its own specific requirements. Students may earn only one Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree from the University.

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science curriculum consists of 126 semester hours of coursework. All students must complete the University’s Core Curriculum. The specific degree requirements consist of prescribed work, major requirements, and electives. In some cases, a course that is required for the degree may also be counted toward the core curriculum. 

A course in one prescribed work area may not also be used to fulfill the requirements of another prescribed work area; the only exception to this rule is that a course that fulfills one requirement may also be used to fulfill a flag requirement, unless otherwise specified.   

In the process of fulfilling the core curriculum and other degree requirements, all students are expected to complete courses with content in the following Skills and Experience flags:

  1. Writing: three flagged courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or its equivalent
  2. Quantitative reasoning: one flagged course
  3. Global cultures: one flagged course
  4. Cultural diversity in the United States: one flagged course
  5. Ethics and leadership: one flagged course
  6. Independent inquiry: one flagged course

Prescribed Work Common to All Environmental Science Majors

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics 408C, or 408N and 408S, or 408K and 408L
  1. Chemistry: Chemistry 301 or 301H; 302 or 302H; and 204
  1. Physics: 317K and 117M, or another four-hour calculus-based physics sequence
  1. Biological sciences: Biology 311C and 311D, or 315H
  1. Ecology: 
    1. Biology 373 or Marine Science 320. Marine Science 320 may not be used to satisfy both requirement 5a and requirement 10c
    2. Biology 373L or Marine Science 120L. Environmental science majors in the College of Natural Sciences must choose Biology 373L
  2. Geological sciences: Geological Sciences 401 or 303, 346C, and an approved geological sciences course in sustainability
  1. Geography: Geography 335N
  1. Field experience and research methods: Environmental Science 311 and 121
  1. Senior field/research experience: one of the following pairs: 
    1. Environmental Science 271 and 371 or Environmental Science 171 and 471
    2. Environmental Science 172C and 472D or Environmental Science 272C and 372D
    3. Environmental Science 271 or Marine Science 348, and one of the following: Chemistry 320M, Geography 360G, 368C, 462K, Geological Sciences 327G, Mathematics 408D or 408M. Note: Geography 360G, 462K, and Geological Sciences 327G may not be used to satisfy both requirement 9c and 10b. Biology 277 may substitute for Environmental Science 271 with prior approval of the faculty adviser. 
  2. Environmental and sustainability themes: One course in each of the following thematic areas:
    1. Environmental and sustainability policy, ethics, and history: Geography 334, 336C, 340D, 342C, 356C, Journalism 346F, Marine Science 367K, and Philosophy 325C. Biology 337, Geography 356, 356T, or Sociology 321K may be counted with prior approval of the faculty adviser. 
    2. Geographic information systems: Geography 360G, 462K, Geological Sciences 327G
    3. Climates and oceans: Biology 456L, Geography 333K, Geological Sciences 347D, 347G,  377P, Marine Science 320, 440, 352354Q, 354T, 356Marine Science 320 may not be used to satisfy both requirement 5 and requirement 10, Marine Science 356 may not be used to satisfy both requirement 10c and requirement 14 in Option I.Marine Science 356 may not be used to satisfy both requirement 10c and requirement 18 in Option II. Geography 356T, Geological Sciences 371C, and Marine Science 352 may count with prior approval of the faculty adviser.  
    4. Environmental economics, sustainability, and business: Economics 304K, 330T. Advanced Placement credit for Economics 304L may be used to satisfy this requirement. 
  3. Environmental Science 141 and 151

Admission to the Environmental Science Program

All freshmen and external transfer students majoring in environmental science (EVS) are first admitted to the University as entry-level EVS majors in the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, or the College of Natural Sciences. After completing a minimum of 24 hours in residence, students may select the EVS degree plan that best suits their long-term interests and, if necessary, transfer to the appropriate college/school in accordance with the regulations and procedures set forth in that college or school’s General Information.

Freshman Admission

Freshmen applicants seeking admission to the EVS major through the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, or the College of Natural Sciences must meet the calculus readiness requirement by the official admissions application deadline. More information about the calculus readiness requirement is available through the University Admissions Office.

Freshmen applicants to the EVS major from all three colleges/schools are reviewed and admitted as a single cohort. Applicants should use the ApplyTexas online application and select the “Environmental Science, Entry-Level” major option listed in the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, or the College of Natural Sciences as a first-choice major. Applicants should apply to the EVS program in the college that best suits their anticipated area of focus (geographical sciences, biological sciences, or geological sciences, respectively).

External Transfer Admission

Students who wish to transfer to the University from another college or University must apply to the Office of Admissions as described in General Information.  External transfer applicants seeking admission to the Environmental Science (EVS) Degree Program through the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, or the College of Natural Sciences must demonstrate calculus readiness by the official admissions application deadline.  Details regarding transfer calculus readiness are available through the University Admissions Office.  

External transfer applicants to the EVS major from all three colleges/schools are reviewed and admitted as a single cohort.  Applicants should use the ApplyTexas online application and select the “Environmental Science, Entry-Level” major option listed in the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, or the College of Natural Sciences as a first-choice major. Applicants should apply to the EVS program in the college that best suits their anticipated area of focus (geographical sciences, biological sciences, or geological sciences, respectively).

Internal Transfer Admission

Internal transfer, entry-level applications submitted to the EVS major through the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural Sciences are reviewed and admitted as a single cohort.  All internal transfer applicants should use the online EVS Program Transfer Application and must meet the requirements for internal transfer given in the General Information.

To be competitive for admission, internal transfer applicants should have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in Biology 311C, Chemistry 301, Mathematics 408C or 408N or 408K, and Geological Sciences 401 or 303.

Additional Information for all internal transfer applicants:

  • Application Deadline: March 1st for entry the following academic year.
  • Only currently enrolled students in good academic standing with their college of residence may apply.
  • Students may apply during the semester they are completing the minimum requirements to be eligible for consideration.
  • Entry-level admission to all Environmental Science majors is offered as space is available to the students who are best qualified. Decisions are based on the student’s grade point average in the introductory science and math courses listed above, University grade point average, and other factors including, but not limited to, difficulty of course load, course repetitions, proven mathematical ability, and interest in the field of Environmental Science.

Students should consult with an Academic Advisor for additional information on the application process and deadlines.

Additional Prescribed Work

  1. Writing and Literature: English 316L, 316M316N, or 316P, and two courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or the equivalent that carry a writing flag. One of these courses must be upper-division. Courses that carry a writing flag are identified in the Course Schedule. They may be used simultaneously to fulfill other requirements, unless otherwise specified.
     
  2. Foreign language/culture: One of the following foreign language/culture choices:
    1. Second-semester-level proficiency, or the equivalent, in a foreign language.
    2. First-semester-level proficiency, or the equivalent, in a foreign language and a three-semester-hour course in the culture of the same language area.
    3. Two three-semester-hour courses in one foreign culture area chosen from a list of approved courses available in the Student Division or from the undergraduate adviser.

    Courses taken to attain a certain level of proficiency in a foreign language are not electives and cannot be taken on the pass/fail basis.

  3. Social science: Three semester hours chosen from a list of approved courses, in addition to the course used to fulfill the social and behavioral sciences requirement of the core curriculum. Courses on the approved list are primarily in anthropology, economics, geography, linguistics, psychology, and sociology, but not every course in these fields is approved.

    The list is available each semester in the Student Division and on the College of Liberal Arts website
     
  4. Cultural expression, human experience, and thought: Three semester hours of approved coursework. The course must be in a field of study taught in the College of Liberal Arts. A course counted toward any requirement of the core curriculum may not also be counted toward this requirement.


    A list of approved courses is available each semester in the Student Division and on the College of Liberal Arts website

Major Requirements

The following 30 semester hours of coursework are required; these hours must include at least 18 hours of upper-division coursework.

  1. Geography 301C and 304E
  1. Twenty-four additional hours of coursework in geography, selected from Geography 301K, 333C, 333K, 334C, 334K, 335C, 335K, 335N, 338C, 339, 346, 356T (approved topics), 357, 360G, 462K, 464K, 366C, 366K, 367K, 470C, and 476T (approved topics)
  1. A grade point average of at least 2.00 in the 30 hours of geography coursework required for the major

Electives

In addition to the core curriculum, prescribed work, additional prescribed work, and major requirements, the student must complete enough elective coursework to provide the 126 semester hours required for the degree. These 126 hours may include no more than 12 hours of conference courses and internship courses combined as described in Conference Courses and Internship Courses; 12 hours of Bible courses; nine hours of designated coursework in air force science, military science, or naval science; 16 hours completed on the pass/fail basis; 36 hours in any one field of study offered in the College of Liberal Arts or the College of Natural Sciences, unless major requirements state otherwise; and 36 hours in courses offered in any other single college or school of the University. Mathematics courses at the level of college algebra may not count toward elective hours.