Departments & Programs

Environmental Science

Environmental Science—B.S.


The B.S. in Environmental Science (BSES) 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 Foundations, Intensive Writing, Foreign Language, and Breadth of Inquiry requirements, a core curriculum, and a concentration in a particular branch of environmental science.

Required Courses

I. General Education and College of Arts and Sciences Requirements (29-30 credit hours)

  1. English Composition: one course (3 cr.) from the approved list; BSES students are encouraged to take ENG-W131 Elementary Composition (3 cr.)
  2. Mathematical Modeling: satisfied by either MATH-M211 or MATH-M119 (required below)
  3. Natural and Mathematical Sciences: satisfied by the requirements below
  4. World Languages and Cultures: a minimum of 6 credit hours of General Education-approved foreign language courses or demonstrated proficiency in an approved foreign language.
  5. Arts and Humanities: 6 credit hours of General Education-approved A&H courses.  CMCL-C121 Public Speaking (required below) satisfies 3 of the 6 required credits.
  6. Social and Historical Studies: 6 credit hours of General Education-approved courses.  BSES students are encouraged to consider the following courses: SPEA-V220 Law and Public Affairs (3 cr.), CMCL-C212 Communicating Sustainability (3 cr.), ECON-E201 Introduction to Microeconomics (3 cr.), and ECON-E202 Introduction to Macroeconomics (3 cr.).
  7. Critical Approaches: 3 credit hours. Any student who is a candidate for a Bachelor’s degree offered by the College of Arts and Sciences is required to complete one Critical Approaches to the Arts and Sciences (CAPP) course on the Bloomington campus. Students are encouraged to take this course in their first year or no later than the first semester of their second year. For a listing of all courses that can satisfy the CAPP requirement, please use the CASE Designations search tool in this Bulletin.

II. BSES Foundation Courses

Mathematics, Statistics, and Computation (12-15 credit hours, depending on course selections)

  1. MATH-M211 Calculus I (4 cr.), or MATH-M119 Brief Survey of Calculus I (3 cr.) and MATH-M120 Brief Survey of Calculus II (3 cr.)
  2. SPEA-K300 Statistical Techniques (3 cr.) or STAT-K310 Statistical Techniques (3 cr.) or MATH-K310 Statistical Techniques (3 cr.)
  3. GEOG-G250 Computer Methods in Geography (3 cr.) or SPEA-E325 Computing for Environmental Scientists (2 cr.)
  4. Select at least one course from the following list:
    • MATH-M212 Calculus II (4 cr.)
    • MATH-M343 Introduction to Differential Equations with Applications I (3 cr.)
    • MATH-M365 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E426 Applied Math for Environmental Science (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G488 Applied Spatial Statistics (3 cr.)
    • CSCI-A321 Computing Tools for Scientific Research (4 cr.)

Note: Students interested in physical sciences, such as hydrology or atmospheric modeling, should take both MATH-M212 and MATH-M343.

Chemistry (10 cr.)

  1. CHEM-C117 Fundamentals of Chemistry and Biochemistry (3 cr.) and CHEM-C127 Fundamentals of Chemistry and Biochemistry Laboratory (2 cr.)
  2. Select one of the following:
    • CHEM-C341 Organic Chemistry I Lectures (3 cr.) and CHEM-C343 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (2 cr.)
    • CHEM-R340 Survey of Organic Chemistry (3 cr.) and CHEM-A314 Biological and Environmental Analysis (2 cr.)
    • CHEM-N330 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry (5 cr.)

Biology (6 cr.)

  1. BIOL-L111 Intro to Biology: Evolution and Diversity (3 cr.)
  2. BIOL-L112 Intro to Biology: Biological Mechanisms (3 cr.)

Physics (10 cr.)

Select one of the following sequences:
  1. PHYS-P201 General Physics I (5 cr.) and PHYS-P202 General Physics II (5 cr.)
  2. PHYS-P221 Physics I (5 cr.) and PHYS-P222 Physics II (5 cr.)

Communication (9 cr.)

  1. ENG-W231 Professional Writing Skills (3 cr.) or ENG-W240 Community Service Writing (3 cr.) or ENG-W270 Argumentative Writing (3 cr.)
  2. CMCL-C121 Public Speaking (3 cr.)
  3. An additional course to satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences Intensive Writing Requirement.  This requirement applies to all BSES students. For a current list of Intensive Writing courses, use the CASE Designations search tool.
III. Environmental Science Courses (30 cr.)
  1. One of the following courses:
    • BIOL-L222 The City as Ecosystem (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G171 Environmental Geology (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G107 Physical Systems of the Environment (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G208 Human/Environment Interactions (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E272 Introduction to Environmental Science (3 cr.)
  2. Additional courses from the following list that total at least 27 credit hours.  Students are strongly encouraged to select courses in consultation with an academic advisor or environmental science faculty member.
    • BIOL-M211 Molecular Biology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-M250 Microbiology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-M255 Microbiology Laboratory (2 cr.)
    • BIOL-L311 Genetics (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-L318 Evolution (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-L319 Genetics Laboratory (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-B371 Ecological Plant Physiology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-Z374 Invertebrate Zoology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-Z375 Invertebrate Zoology Laboratory (2 cr.)
    • BIOL-L376 Biology of Birds (4 cr.)
    • BIOL-L465 Advanced Field Biology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-L472 Microbial Ecology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-L473 Ecology (3 cr.)
    • BIOL-L474 Field and Laboratory Ecology (2 cr.)
    • BIOL-Z476 Biology of Fishes (3 cr.)
    • CHEM-N330 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry (5 cr.)
    • CHEM-C361 Physical Chemistry of Bulk Matter (3 cr.)
    • CHEM-C362 Physical Chemistry of Molecules (3 cr.)
    • CHEM-P364 Basic Measurements in Physical Chemistry (2 cr.)
    • GEOG-G304 Physical Climatology (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G305 Environmental Change – Nature and Impact (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G307 Biogeography: The Distribution of Life (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G336 Environmental Remote Sensing (3 cr.) or SPEA-E419 Applied Remote Sensing of the Environment (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G338 Geographic Information Science (3 cr.) or SPEA-E418 Vector-based GIS (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G350 Field Methods in Physical Geography (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G405 Ecological Climatology (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G436 Advanced Remote Sensing: Digital Image Processing (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G438 Advanced Geographic Information Science (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G444 Climate Change Impacts (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G451 Water Resources (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G477 Topics in Climatology (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G488 Applied Spatial Statistics (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G489 Advanced Geospatial Data Analysis (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G 225 Earth Materials (4 cr.)
    • GEOL-G316 Mineral Fuels and Materials (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G334 Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4 cr.)
    • GEOL-G339 Weather Analysis and Forecasting (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G341 Natural History of Coral Reefs (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G347 Instrumentation for Atmospheric Sciences (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G351 Elements of Hydrology (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G364 Dynamic Meteorology: Boundary-Layer Meteorology (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G406 Introduction to Geochemistry (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G413 Introduction to Geophysics (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G415 Principles of Geomorphology (3 cr.)
    • GEOL-G423 Methods in Applied Geophysics (4 cr.)
    • GEOL-G444 Methods in Analytical Geochemistry (1-2 cr.)
    • GEOL-G451 Principles of Hydrogeology (3 cr.)
    • PHYS-P310 Environmental Physics (3 cr.)
    • PHYS-P317 Signals and Information Processing in Living Systems (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E400 Topics in Environmental Studies (Approved topic: Plants and Plant Communities) (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E410 Introduction to Environmental Toxicology (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E411 Introduction to Groundwater Hydrology (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E426 Applied Math for Environmental Science (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E431 Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E440 Wetlands: Biology and Regulation (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E442 Habitat Analysis-Terrestrial (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E443 Habitat Analysis-Aquatic (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E451 Air Pollution and Control (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E455 Limnology (4 cr.)
    • SPEA-E457 Introduction to Conservation Biology (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E460 Fisheries and Wildlife Management (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E461 Fisheries and Wildlife Management Laboratory (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E464 Organic Pollutants: Environmental Chemistry and Fate (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E490 Directed Research in Environmental Science (1-4 cr.) or BIOL-L490 Individual Study (1-4 cr.) or GEOG-G450 Undergraduate Research in Geography (1-3 cr.), or GEOL-G410 Undergraduate Research in Geology (1-6 cr.). Note: BSES students are encouraged to pursue independent research, however no more than 6 credits total of SPEA-E490, BIOL-L490, GEOG-G450, or GEOL-G410 may be used to satisfy the 27 credit hours of environmental science course work.
    • Or other courses in environmental science approved by the BSES Program Chair

IV. Field Experience Requirement (6 cr.)

Select one of the following options:

  1. GEOL-G329 Introductory Field Experience in Environmental Science (5-6 cr.)*, or course work at an approved biological field station**, or
  2. two of the following courses:
    • BIOL-L465 Advanced Field Biology (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E442 Habitat Analysis-Terrestrial (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E443 Habitat Analysis-Aquatic (3 cr.)
    • SPEA-E400 Topics in Environmental Studies (Approved topic: Plants and Plant Communities) (3 cr.)
    • GEOG-G350 Field Methods in Physical Geography (3 cr.)

* This course is a summer course held at the Geologic Field Station in Montana and is typically taken after the sophomore year.
**Students interested in this option should consult the BSES Program Chair prior to attending the field station.

Courses used to satisfy the Field Experience Requirement cannot be used to satisfy any other degree requirement.

V. Electives

Sufficient additional courses to reach a total of 120 credit hours. Students are encouraged to pursue a minor, certificate, or second major in a biological, physical, or social science field that complements the interdisciplinary training provided by the B.S. in Environmental Science.