Dec 11, 2023  
2016-2017 Catalogue 
2016-2017 Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Science

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The Environmental Science major is designed for students with a strong interest in the life and physical sciences, and a desire to improve the quality of their environment by working toward sustainable development and environmental protection. The program offers a multi-disciplinary approach with its core curriculum firmly based in the lecture and laboratory experiences of foundation courses in Biology, Chemistry, and the Physical Sciences. The major also requires courses from the economic and political sciences to introduce the student to the economic and political influences that lend complexity to environmental decision making and the implementation of environmental solutions.

Students majoring in Environmental Science will select courses with the assistance of a faculty advisor and are required to take a minimum of 5 basic science courses and 8 environmental courses (see below). A research or internship experience is also strongly recommended. The program is designed to provide the fundamental background necessary to understand environmental issues, while providing students with the skills to both investigate these issues and to design and implement actions aimed at solving environmental problems. Overall, this program enhances students’ problem solving abilities, quantitative methods, modeling skills, ability to critically review scientific literature and information, field methods, critical thinking, and communication skills. In addition, the program should foster a stronger personal environmental ethic.

Major requirements include:

Students majoring in Environmental Science are required to take: 

One Social Science course:

Additional Experience:

Each Environmental Science student is encouraged to gain additional laboratory or field experience by (1) enrolling in either Directed Research in Biology (BI 421  - BI 422  or BI 423 ) or Research and Seminar in Chemistry (CH 420  - CH 421 ), (2) developing an individual internship program with direction from the Internship Facilitator (BI 451-454 ), or (3) participating in the Washington Internship Program (BI 450 ).  With permission of the chair, up to 2 upper-level major elective courses on topics other than those listed above may be transferred in from study abroad or from domestic institutions.

Course Sequence Outline

Freshman Year

Sophomore Year



Junior and Senior Year

Junior and senior years should focus on finishing core requirements and upper level departmental requirements. Students should take Conservation Biology and Ecology the same fall, and Aquatic Ecology in the opposite fall due to alternation of courses. 


See Biological Sciences Overview  for additional information.

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