Departments & Programs

Environmental Science

Major in Environmental Science—B.S.


The B.S.E.S. is designed to provide a scientific background with both breadth and depth to prepare students for professional science-related employment and for advanced study at the graduate level. Students must complete a set of fundamental skills and distribution requirements, a core curriculum, and a concentration in a particular branch of environmental science.

Required Courses

Fundamental Skills and Distribution

(variable credit hours depending on course selection)

  1. Writing: English Composition (ENG W131, W231) and Intensive Writing (IW); senior research thesis within major fulfills IW requirement.
  2. Mathematics: Major fulfills requirement.
  3. Public speaking: Select one course from CMCL C121, C122, C205, C223, C225, C228, C229, or THTR T115 or T120.
  4. Foreign language: Student must complete the study of a single foreign language through the second semester of the first year of college-level course work. All or part of the requirement may be fulfilled by performance on placement examinations.
  5. One Topics/Freshman Seminar course from Arts and Humanities or from Social and Historical Studies; the course chosen for this requirement may be used in partial fulfillment of requirement 6 below if the course selected carries the Arts and Humanities designation.
  6. Arts and Humanities: Two courses chosen from "Appendix II: Distribution Courses" in this Bulletin; COLL E103 may fulfill one of these two courses.
  7. Social and Historical Studies: One course with an emphasis on economics or political science, selected from ECON E201, E202, E364, POLS Y103 or Y313.
  8. Social and Historical Studies: One course with an emphasis on public policy, selected from SPEA V263, V371, V376, V499, or V472.
  9. Natural and Mathematical Sciences: Major fulfills requirement.
Core Requirements

(61–63 credit hours)

1. Biology: BIOL L111 and either BIOL L473 or SPEA E332.

2. Chemistry (one of the following sequences):*

  • CHEM C117, C118, and C341 or
  • CHEM C117, R340, A314 and A316 or
  • CHEM C117, R340, and N330

3. Computing: CSCI A202, or GEOG G250, or SPEA E325. Any one of these three courses may be selected.

4. Environmental Science overview: SPEA E262.

5. Atmospheric Science: GEOG G304.

6. Geological Science: GEOL G225.

7. Field experience: GEOL G329 is offered at the IU Geological Field Station in Montana and should be taken during the summer following the fourth semester of enrollment. Students with certain needs can substitute two of the following courses for G329: BIOL L465 Advanced Field Biology, GEOG G350 Instrumentation and Field Methods in Atmospheric Science, SPEA E442 Habitat Analysis—Terrestrial, and SPEA E443 Habitat Analysis—Aquatic.

8. Mathematics: MATH M211 (or M119 and X201), M212, and either MATH M343 or SPEA E426.

9. Physics: PHYS P221 and P222.

10. Statistics: MATH K300 or GEOG G488 or MATH M365 or SPEA K300.

11. Environmental science senior research: Guided by a faculty member, each student undertakes a project closely related to his or her concentration (see below). Completion of a written thesis and an oral presentation are required; the thesis may be used to fulfill the College's intensive writing requirement if the guidelines for this requirement are met. Students should enroll in 3 credit hours in the appropriate course within the faculty supervisor's department (BIOL L490, CHEM C409, CSCI Y390, GEOG G450, GEOL G410, INFO I460, MATH M490, PHYS S406, SPEA E490) or other courses as appropriate given the affiliation of the faculty advisor.

*SPEA E464 may be used in place of CHEM C341 or R340, and CHEM C341 may be used in place of CHEM R340. Students who did not earn at least a B– in high school chemistry should contact the B.S.E.S. program director and the Department of Chemistry Undergraduate Placement Office to determine the appropriate starting course.

Concentration (minimum of 18 credit hours)

Whereas the core curriculum provides each student with a solid background in the basic subjects pertinent to the environmental sciences, the concentration is aimed at preparing students for graduate study or professional employment in specific fields. A list of the available concentration areas includes: Atmospheric Science, Ecosystem Science, General, Hydrology and Water Resources, Mathematical Modeling, Surficial Processes, and Pollution Control Technologies and Remediation. B.S.E.S. concentrations include a minimum of 18 credit hours of course work selected by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor, active in the field in which they have chosen to concentrate, and two additional faculty members. Each program is then approved by the B.S.E.S. Program Committee.