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Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree program 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.

Students must apply for admission to the degree program after completing prerequisite coursework. To be competitive for admission, students should have a grade point average of at least 2.75. More information about admission requirements is given in The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science .

The BSEnviroSci curriculum consists of 126 semester hours of coursework. All students must complete the University’s Core Curriculum . The specific 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. In addition, for the major in geographical sciences, courses used to fulfill the University core curriculum requirements or the prescribed work below may also be counted toward the major requirements where applicable.

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.  

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

  1. Writing: two 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

Courses with sufficient content in these areas will be identified in the Course Schedule  by the appropriate flags. A course may carry more than one flag. The School of Undergraduate Studies monitors flagged courses to ensure that they meet the guidelines set by the General Faculty.

The student must fulfill the University's General Requirements for graduation and the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts given earlier in this section. Graduation requirements include a grade point average of at least 2.00 in all courses taken at the University (including credit by examination, correspondence, and extension) for which a grade or symbol other than Q, W, X, or CR is recorded. In addition, a grade of at least C- is required in each mathematics and science course specifically required by the degree.

More information about grades and the grade point average is given in the General Information Catalog .

Prescribed Work

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics 408C, or 408N and 408S
  2. Chemistry: Chemistry 301 or 301H; 302 or 302H; and 204
  3. Physics: 317K and 117M, or another four-hour calculus-based physics sequence
  4. Biological sciences: Biology 311C and 311D, or 315H
  5. Ecology: Biology 373 and 373L, or Marine Science 320 and 120L or 152T (Topic: Marine Ecology) (Marine Science 320 may not be used to satisfy both requirement 5 and requirement 10.)
  6. Geological sciences: Geological Sciences 401 or 303, 346C, and an approved geological sciences course in sustainability
  7. Geography: Geography 335N
  8. Field experience: One course in each of the following areas
    1. Introductory field seminar: Environmental Science 311
    2. Senior field/research experience: Environmental Science 371, Geography 373F, 373K
  9. Research methods: Environmental Science 331
  10. 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, 356T (approved topics), Philosophy 325C
    2. Geographic information systems: Geography 360G, 462K, Geological Sciences 327G
    3. Climates and oceans: Biology 456L, Geography 333K, 356T (approved topics), Geological Sciences 371C (approved topics), 377P, Marine Science 320, 440, 354Q, 354T, 367K
      (Marine Science 320 may not be used to satisfy both requirement 5 and requirement 10.)
    4. Environmental economics, sustainability, and business: Economics 304K, 330T
  11. Environmental Science 141 and 151

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 Web site
  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 Web site

Major Requirements

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

  1. Geography 301C and 304E
  2. 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)
  3. A grade point average of at least 2.00 in the thirty hours of geography coursework required for the major


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 twelve hours of conference courses and internship courses combined as described in Conference Courses and Internship Courses ; twelve hours of Bible courses; nine hours of designated coursework in air force science, military science, or naval science; sixteen hours completed on the pass/fail basis; thirty-six 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 thirty-six 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.