Earth and Environmental Sciences

Environmental Studies (BA)

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

BA in Environmental Studies (ESP)

The BA in Environmental Studies is designed to guide students who have interests in environmental management through a program that links courses in the natural and social sciences. Students successfully completing this program could expect to pursue graduate programs in such fields as law, public policy, urban and regional planning, and environmental management or to find entry-level employment with consulting firms and public agencies.

The Environmental Studies Degree Program consists of prerequisite courses, a set of environmental core courses, electives in the natural and social sciences,  and a closure experience. Two of the courses must be taken as writing courses (W indicates the option to take a course to meet the upper-level writing requirement).

Prerequisite Courses

All students must take the first course in calculus (MTH 161 or MTH 141-142), chemistry (CHM 131). These are essential prerequisite courses required by several of the core or elective courses.

Core Courses

The core courses deal explicitly with important environmental problems and illustrate the relationship between the content of specific disciplines such as geology, chemistry, economics, and political science and the practice of environmental analysis and management.

  • EES 103 Introduction to Environmental Science
    (EES 101 and 104 are acceptable alternates if taken in the Freshman year.  EES 105 is acceptable if taken in the Freshman or Sophomore years.)

Choose two out of five of the following. If more than two courses are taken, then the additional courses may be counted as technical electives.

  • 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


Elective Courses

Six elective courses must be chosen to create what the student and the faculty advisors view as a coherent program. The elective courses are presented in two groups:

  1. Natural Sciences and Engineering
  2. Social Sciences/Humanities

Some of these courses may require a pre-requisite course not specified as part of the program. . (All courses listed carry 4 credit hours if not indicated otherwise.)  Students may distribute their electives in either of the following ways:

      1.  Four Social Science/Humanities courses and two Natural Science courses

      2.  Three Social Science/Humanities courses and three natural Science courses




  • BIO 104       Ecosystem and Human Society
  • BIO 205(W)  Evolution
  • BIO 110       Principles of Biology I (BIO 110 is allowed as a technical elective ONLY if it is taken during the freshman year)
  • BIO 112       Perspectives in Biology I
  • BIO 225       Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • BIO 247       Environmental Animal Physiology
  • BIO 250       Biochemistry
  • BIO 260(W)  Animal Behavior
  • BIO 263(W)  Ecology
  • PH 103 Concepts of Epidemiology
  • PM 415 Principles of Epidemiology



  • EES 101           Intro. Geological Sciences (EES 101 or EES 102 may be counted as a technical elective if taken in the freshman year)
  • EES  102/202   Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Mtn. Ranges/Plate Tectonics & Active Geologic Processes (EES 101 or EES 102 may 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 217           Chemical Hydrology
  • EES 219(W)      Energy and Society
  • EES 248(W)      High Temperature Geochemistry
  • EES 251           Remote Sensing (2 credits)
  • EES 252           Marine Geology
  • EES 265           Paleoclimate


  • CHM 132    Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices II
  • CHM 203    Organic Chemistry I + Lab. (CHM 207)
  • CHM 204    Organic Chemistry II + Lab. (CHM 208)
  • CHM 231    Chemical Instrumentation
  • CHE 150     Green Engineering


  • CSC 160       Engineering Computing, CSC 161 Comp. Programming, or PHY 256 Computation Physics
  • MTH 162       Calculus II
  • MTH 165       Linear Algebra with Differential Equations
  • STT 211/212 Applied Statistics for the Social Sciences/Biological and Physical Sciences





  • ECO 207 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECO 238 Environmental Economics
  • ECO 251 Industrial Organization
  • ECO 263(W) Public Finance


  • PSC 209      Interest Groups in America
  • PSC 215      American Elections
  • PSC 241      Urban change and City Politics
  • PSC 243(W) Environmental Politics
  • PSC 246      Environmental Law and Policy
  • PSC 247      Green Markets
  • PSC 253      Comparative Political Parties
  • PSC 272      Theories of International Relations


  • ANT 216   Medical Anthropology
  • ANT 224   Anthropology of Development
  • CLA 222   Pompeii and the Bay of Naples
  • CLA 299   Field Methods in Archeology
  • ENG 245   Literature and the Modern Environmental Imagination
  • ENG 267   Media Space: From Film to Smart Phones
  • ENG 280   The Rhetoric of Ecology and Environmentalism
  • HIS 186   History of Energy Resources
  • PHL 102   Ethics
  • PHL 103   Contemporary Moral Problems
  • PHL 223   Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHL 230   Environmental Justice
Closure Courses

At leaset four credit hours are required.   Seminars or senior theses with environmental content offered in other departments are also acceptable (after approval by one of the program advisors).

  • EES 307      Adv. Seminar in Climate and Environmental Change
  • EES 310      Interdisciplinary Topics in Sustainability
  • EES 312(W) Research in Ocean Biogeochemistry (Part A)-2 credits (EES 312 and EES 313 must both be taken in order to count as one 4 credit course)
  • 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 319(W)  Energy Decisions
  • EES 320(W)  Sustainable Systems
  • EES 360       Environmental Geology in the Field and Laboratory
  • EES 391       Independent Study in Environmental Studies
  • EES 393(W) Senior Thesis in Environmental Sciences (4 or 8 credits)
  • EES 394      Internship in Environmental Studies/Science
  • EES 395      Independent Research

Acceptable substitutions and AP credit:  MTH 141-142 for MTH 161.

AP credit accepted (score of 4 or 5) in Environmental Science (EES 103); Chemistry (CHM 131) and mathematics (MTH 161). Transfer credit for required courses is accepted 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.