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Environmental Science

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 while also introducing 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 five basic science courses and eight environmental core 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.

Students majoring in Environmental Science are required to take:

Basic Science Courses:
  • General Biology (103-104),
  • General Chemistry (CH130-131),
  • Biostatistics (BI345)
Environmental Core Courses:
  • *Biosphere at Risk (BI205),
  • *Aquatic Ecology (BI319),
  • *Ecology (BI320),
  • *Conservation Biology (BI328)
One Organismal Course:
  • *BI329 Plant Biology,
  • *BI337 Vertebrate Zoology,
  • *BI338 Invertebrate Zoology, or
  • *BI347 Ornithology
Two Methods Courses:
  • CH250 Organic Chemistry,
  • *CH260 Environmental Chemistry,
  • CH270 Analytical Chemistry I,
  • CH310 Analytical II Instrumental,
  • BI327 Genetics, BI318 Microbiology,
  • BI335 Animal Behavior,
  • *BI340 Field Studies in Tropical Biology,
  • CS210 GIS Systems.
One course may be an approved internship (BI45x) or research project (BI421-422)

One Social Science Course:
  • EC141 Principles of Microeconomics,
  • EC250 Environmental Economics,
  • PO215 Politics of the Environment,
  • GE216 Physical Geography and Environmental Management,
  • GE221 Economic Geography,
  • PO270 Ideologies and Theories of Environment

Note that courses marked with an asterisk (*) are typically taught alternate years, so students will need to plan accordingly.

Each Environmental Science student is encouraged to gain additional laboratory or field experience by:

  1. Enrolling in either Directed Research in Biology (BI421-422 or BI423) or Research and Seminar in Chemistry (420-421),
  2. Developing an individual internship program with direction from the Internship Facilitator (BI451  and/or 452), or
  3. Participating in the Washington Internship Program (BI450).

Course Sequence - Classes of 2015 - 2017

Please refer to the College Catalogue and consult with your academic advisor for recommended course sequencing. Revised graduation requirements for each graduating class can be found in the Guide to the Core Curriculum.

Course Sequence - Class of 2018 and Beyond

Freshman Year
Conversatio I Conversatio II
Freshman English 105 Core
Biology 103 Biology 104
Chemistry 130 Chemistry 131
Sophomore Year
Language Language
Core Core
Biology 345 - Biostatistics Biology 205 - Biosphere at Risk
Social Science Elective

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.