Earth and Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science (BS)

Two concentrations in the environmental field, a BS in Environmental Science (EVS) and a BA in Environmental Studies (ESP) are offered in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Interested students should contact Karen Berger in  the Department Office at (585) 275-5713 or 

BS in Environmental Science (EVS)

The BS in Environmental Science provides students with a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, a broad background in Earth sciences, as well as the strong analytical, quantitative, and communication skills needed to solve problems related to Earth systems and resources. The acquired knowledge and skills are excellent training for graduate research in a variety of fields (e.g., hydrology, geochemistry, oceanography, environmental geophysics, and atmospheric science) and careers in environmental and geological consulting, environmental law, or governmental advising.

The required courses provide a strong background in basic sciences.  Three core courses deal explicitly with important environmental problems and illustrate the relationship between natural processes and human activities. Four technical electives permit a student to specialize in specific aspects of environmental sciences: Geology, Chemistry or Biology. The program is concluded with a closure experience, which may consist of a research project, thesis. internship or senior seminar.  Two of the courses must be taken as upper-level writing courses (W indicates the option to take the course to meet the upper-level writing requirement).

Required Courses


  • BIO 110 Principles of Biology I
  • BIO 111 Principles of Biology II (Lab 111P is optional but recommended for students interested in pursuing the Biology track)


  • CHM 131 Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices I
  • CHM 132 Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices II
  • CHM 203 Organic Chemistry I + Lab (CHM 207)


  • MTH 161 Calculus IA
  • MTH 162 Caculus IIA (MTH 141-143 may be substituted for MTH 161/162)
  • MTH 165 Linear Algebra with Differential Equations


  • PHY 113/121 General Physics I/Mechanics
  • PHY 114/122 General Physics II/Electricity and Magnetism

Core courses

Choose one of the following. If both are taken, then the second can be counted as a technical elective if taken before the senior year.

  • EES 103 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • EES 101 Introduction to Geological Sciences
    • Note:  EES 105 is an acceptable alternate if taken in the Freshman or Sophomore years.

Choose three out of five of the following. Chemistry emphasis must include at least two from EES 212,  216 and 218. Geology emphasis must include EES 211 and EES 213. If  more than three courses are taken, the additional courses will be counted as  technical elective(s).

  • EES 211(W)  Geohazards and Their Mitigation: Living on an Active Planet
  • EES 212       A Climate Change Perspective to Chemical Oceanography
  • EES 213(W)  Hydrology and Water Resources
  • EES 216(W)  Environmental Geochemistry
  • EES 218        Atmospheric Geochemistry


Technical Electives

A minimum of 16 credit hours of technical electives are recommended, chosen from the courses listed below. It is recommended that the courses come from a single track. The list of technical electives will be updated periodically to reflect changes in the course offerings. Students choosing the geology emphasis are encouraged to take EES 201 as a technical elective, or EES 101 if taken in the freshman year. Substitutions are permitted with prior approval of the program advisors.


  • BIO 198       Principles of Genetics
  • BIO 205(W)  Evolution
  • BIO 225       Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • BIO 247       Environmental Animal Physiology
  • BIO 250       Biochemistry
  • BIO 253       Computational Biology
  • BIO 260(W)  Animal Behavior
  • BIO 263(W)  Ecology
  • BIO 265       Molecular Evolution
  • BIO 266       Tree of Life
  • MBI 220       Introduction to Microbiology
  • PM  415        Principles of Epidemiology
  • CSC 160       Engineering Computing, CSC 161 Comp Programming or PHY 256 Computation Physics
  • STT 203        Intro. Mathematical Statistics
  • STT 211        Applied Statistics for Social Sciences I
  • STT 213        Elements of Probability and Statistics
  • STT 226        Introduction to Linear Models
  • STT 241 Applied Multivariate Analysis


  • EES 215         Environmental and Applied geophysics
  • EES 205         Solid Earth Geophysics
  • CHM 204/206 Organic Chemistry II + Lab. (CHM 208/210)
  • CHM 211        Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHM 231        Chemical Instrumentation
  • CHM 252        Physical Chemistry or CHE 225 Thermodynamics
  • CHE 150         Green Engineering
  • CHE 243         Fluid Dynamics
  • CHE 244         Heat and Mass Transfer
  • CSC 160        Engineering Computing, CSC 161 Comp Programming or PHY 256 Computation Physics
  • STT 203         Intro. Mathematical Statistics
  • STT 211         Applied Statistics for Social Sciences I
  • STT 213         Elements of Probability and Statistics
  • STT 226        Introduction to Linear Models
  • STT 241         Applied Multivariate Analysis


  • EES 102/202 Plate Tectonics & Active Geologic Processes (EES 102 can be counted as a technical elective if taken in the freshman year.)
  • EES 105       Introduction to Climate Change
  • EES 201       Evolution of the Earth
  • EES 203       Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • EES 204(W)  Earth Materials
  • EES 205       Solid Earth Geophysics
  • EES 207(W)  Principles of Paleontology
  • EES 208       Structural Geology
  • EES 215       Environmental and Applied Geophysics
  • EES 219       Energy and Society
  • EES 248(W)  High Temperature Geochemistry
  • EES 251       Remote Sensing
  • EES 252       Marine Geology
  • EES 265       Paleoclimate
  • EES 283       Sedimentary Basin Analysis
  • CSC 160      Engineering Computing, CSC 161 Comp Programming or PHY 256 Computation Physics
  • STT 203       Intro. Mathematical Statistics
  • STT 211       Applied Statistics for Social Sciences I
  • STT 213       Elements of Probability and Statistics
  • STT 226      Introduction to Linear Models
  • STT 241      Applied Multivariate Analysis

Closure Courses

Four credit hours are required. This requirement can be fulfilled by one of the courses chosen from the following list or by finishing a Senior Project with environmental content (selected in consultation with the Advising Committee). The senior project can be carried out in any department willing to offer such a project.



  • EES 307       Adv. Seminar in Climate and Environmental Change
  • EES 313(W)  Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry (Part B)-2 credits (EES 312 and EES 313 must both be taken in order to count as one 4 credit course)
  • EES 319W     Energy Decisions
  • EES 320(W)  Sustainable Systems
  • EES 360        Environmental Geology in the Field and Laboratory
  • EES 391        Independent Research
  • EES 393(W)  Senior Thesis
  • EES 394        Internship in Environmental Sciences

Suggested Course Sequence For B.S. in Environmental Science


First Year
MTH 161 MTH 162
CHM 131 CHM 132
EES 101 (optional) EES 103 (optional)
Elective or Writing Writing or Elective
Second Year
BIO 110 BIO 111
EES core requirement EES core requirement
CHM 203+207 PHY 121
Elective Elective
Third Year
PHY 122 Technical Elective
EES core requirement Technical Elective
MTH 165 Technical Elective
Elective Elective
Fourth Year
Technical Elective Closure Course/Elective
Closure Course/Elective Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective


This is a suggested sequence only, which can readily be changed in the first two years. An alternative sequence would be, for example, to take the two BIO courses in the first year and to start with the initial EES courses in the second year.

Acceptable substitutions are: BIO 112/113 for BIO 110/111; PHY 113/114 for PHY 121/122; MTH 141-143 for MTH 161/162; CHM 171+173 for CHM 203+207; AP credit (score of 4 or 5): Environmental Science (EES 103); Biology (BIO 198); Chemistry (CHM 131); mathematics (MTH 161); Physics (PHY 113 or 114 – following regulations of Physics Department).

Transfer credit for required courses in accordance with rules of the department offering the course, for technical electives on a case by case basis after consultation with a faculty advisor.