BS in Environmental & Sustainability Science

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 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

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

The program-specific curriculum:

Foundational courses
BISC 1111Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
BISC 1112Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
GEOG 1002Introduction to Physical Geography
or GEOL 1005 Environmental Geology
GEOG 1003Society and Environment
or SUST 1001 Introduction to Sustainability
STAT 1051Introduction 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
And two of the following sets of courses:
CHEM 1111
CHEM 1112
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
MATH 1220
MATH 1221
Calculus with Precalculus I
and Calculus with Precalculus II
or MATH 1231 Single-Variable Calculus I
PHYS 1011
PHYS 1012
General Physics I
and General Physics II
or PHYS 1021
PHYS 1022
University Physics I
and University Physics II
or PHYS 1025
PHYS 1026
University Physics I with Biological Applications
and University Physics II with Biological Applications
Upper-level major requirements
Required courses
GEOG 2104Introduction to Cartography and GIS
GEOG 2196Field Methods in Geography *
or GEOG 3128 Geomorphology and Natural Hazards
or BISC 3459 Field Biology
ENVR 4195Environmental Studies 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 taken in one of the two concentrations outlined below and include at least one 3000-level course. The remaining 6 credits can be in courses selected from the other concentration or from the “Other upper level courses in the major” category below.
Earth and environmental science concentration
CHEM 2085Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 3140Geochemistry
GEOG 2136Water Resources
GEOG 3105Techniques of Spatial Analysis
GEOG 3108Weather and Climate
GEOG 3128Geomorphology and Natural Hazards *
GEOG 3218Arctic Systems
GEOL 2106Oceanography
GEOL 2151Introduction to Paleontology
GEOL 3138Hydrogeology
GEOL 3191Geology of Energy Resources
Ecological management concentration
ANTH 3407Conservation in a Changing World: Human and Animal Behavior
BISC 2333Evolution and Extinction of Dinosaurs
BISC 2452Animal Behavior
BISC 2010Global Change Biology
BISC 2401Biodiversity in A Changing World
BISC 2454General Ecology
BISC 3454Marine Ecology
BISC 3459Field Biology *
BISC 3460WConservation Biology
or BISC 3460 Conservation Biology
BISC 3461Plant-Animal Interactions
BISC 3464Ecology and Evolution of Societies
GEOG 2129WBiogeography
or GEOG 2129 Biogeography
GEOG 3132Environmental Quality and Management
GEOG 3275Sustainable Food Systems
Other upper-level courses in the major **
ECON 2136Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
GEOG 3105Techniques of Spatial Analysis
GEOG 3106Intermediate Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 3107Introduction to Remote Sensing
GEOG 3193Environmental Law and Policy
GEOG 4309GIS for Emergency Management
PHIL 2281Philosophy of the Environment
PPPA 2701Sustainability and Environmental Policy
PUBH 3132Health and Environment

*BISC 3459 and GEOG 3128 cannot be counted toward the concentration if they were taken to fulfill the upper-level major course requirement.

**These courses can be counted toward the total number of credits required for the major.