BS in Environmental & Sustainability Science


Two students in the middle of a bright green forest examining trees and plants


The Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Sustainability Science program equips students with a broad foundation in the sciences with which they can take advantage of important new quantitative skills in geospatial techniques and data science and develop a concentration in either Earth and Environmental Science or Ecological Management. Required coursework incorporates science classes from across the university, with elective options including Conservation Biology, Water Resources, Oceanography, and more. Through varied courses, internships, and undergraduate research, students gain experience in one of the fastest-growing career fields.

Graduates of the BS program are well prepared for competitive careers in natural resource management; environmental consulting and startups; sustainability planning and policy; and compliance-oriented agencies and departments of the environment at the federal, state and local levels. The program is also beneficial for students planning to attend graduate programs in environmental science, ecological management, or sustainability planning and policy.


Program Objectives

Upon completion of the BS in Environmental and Sustainability Science, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the biophysical aspects of environmental problems
  • Apply quantitative methods to analyze environmental problems
  • Integrate the perspectives of multiple disciplines in proposing solutions


Program Benefits

  • Broad foundation of science courses from across the university which prepares students for future careers and graduate programs in the sciences.
  • Opportunities to engage with nature and the built environment in and around Washington, D.C.
  • Off-campus field courses in geography, geology, and biology
  • Internship and research opportunities with the National Parks Service, National Geographic and the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Option to combine degree with a major or minor in geography or a minor in geographic information systems
  • Access to the Center for Urban and Environmental Research (CUER), which provides opportunities for faculty and students to engage in environmental research and urban development activities


Undergraduate Advisors

Environmental and Sustainability Sciences Last Name A-L: Melissa Keeley

Environmental and Sustainability Sciences Last Name M-Z: Dmitry Streletskiy

Course Requirements

Foundational Courses (23 total credits)

  • BISC 1111 Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
  • BISC 1112 Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
  • GEOG 1002 Introduction to Physical Geography or GEOL 1005 Environmental Geology
  • GEOG 1003 Society and Environment
  • or SUST 1001 Introduction to Sustainability
  • STAT 1051 Introduction to Business and Economic Statistics
  • or STAT 1053 Introduction to Statistics in Social Science
  • or STAT 1111 Business and Economic Statistics I
  • or STAT 1127 Statistics for the Biological Sciences

Two of the following course sets:

  • CHEM 1111 General Chemistry I
  • & CHEM 1112 and General Chemistry II
  • MATH 1220 Calculus with Precalculus I
  • & MATH 1221 and Calculus with Precalculus II
  • or MATH 1231 Single-Variable Calculus I
  • PHYS 1011 General Physics I
  • & PHYS 1012 and General Physics II
  • or PHYS 1021 University Physics I
  • & PHYS 1022 and University Physics II
  • or PHYS 1025 University Physics I with Biological Applications
  • & PHYS 1026 and University Physics II with Biological Applications

Upper-Level Major Requirements 

  • GEOG 2104: Introduction to Cartography and GIS
  • GEOG 2196: Field Methods
  • or GEOG 3128: Geomorphology
  • or BISC 3459: Field Biology,
  • or other options discussed with advisor
  • EVNR 4195: Environmental Capstone

Additional upper-level course requirements

18 credits in courses in the major taken at or above the 2000 level. A minimum of 12 of these credits should be within one of the two concentrations below and include at least one 3000-level course. The remaining two courses can be selected from the other concentration or from the “other upper level courses in the major” category below.

Earth and Environmental Science Concentration

  • CHEM 2085 Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 3140 Geochemistry (GEOL 1001 or GEOL 1005; CHEM 1111–CHEM 1112)
  • GEOG 2136 Water Resources (GEOG 1002)
  • GEOG 3105 Techniques of Spatial Analysis 
  • GEOG 3108 Weather and Climate (GEOG 1002)
  • GEOG 3128 Geomorphology (GEOG 1002)
  • GEOG 3218 Arctic Systems (GEOG 1002)
  • GEOL 2106 Oceanography (GEOL 1001 or GEOL 1005)
  • GEOL 2151 Introduction to Paleontology (GEOL 1002)
  • GEOL 3138 Hydrogeology (GEOL 2111 and GEOL 2122; and MATH 1221 or MATH 1231)
  • GEOL 3191 Geology of Energy Resources (GEOL 2122)

Ecological Management Concentration

  • ANTH 3407: Conservation in a Changing World: Human and Animal Behavior
  • BISC 2010: Global Change Biology
  • BISC 2401: Biodiversity in A Changing World
  • BISC 2454: General Ecology (BISC 1111 and 1112)
  • BISC 3454: Marine Ecology
  • BISC 3459: Field Biology* (BISC 1111 and 1112. Recommended background: BISC 2454)
  • BISC 3460W: Conservation Biology (BISC 1111, 1112 and BISC 2454)
  • or BISC 3460: Conservation Biology
  • BISC 3461: Plant-Animal Interactions (BISC 1111 and 1112. Recommended background: BISC 2450 or BISC 2454)
  • BISC 3464: Ecology and Evolution of Societies (BISC 1111 and 1112. Recommended background: BISC 2454 or BISC 2454W)
  • GEOG 2129W: Biogeography
  • or GEOG 2129: Biogeography
  • GEOG 3132: Environmental Quality and Management

Other Upper-Level Courses in the Major**

  • ECON 2136: Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (ECON 1011 and 1012)
  • GEOG 3105: Techniques of Spatial Analysis
  • GEOG 3106: Intermediate Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 3107: Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • GEOG 3193: Environmental Law and Policy
  • GEOG 4309: GIS for Emergency Management
  • PHIL 2281: Philosophy of the Environment
  • PPPA 2701: Sustainability and Environmental Policy
  • PUBH 3132: Health and the Environment


Please note:

Prerequisites may be waived for courses by permission of instructor only.

*BISC 3459 and GEOG 3128 cannot be double counted as concentration courses if already used to fulfill the upper-level major requirement.

**May be used to fulfill the total number of required credits in the major.

Total Major Credits: 56