Environmental Studies

The program in environmental studies is intended for students who wish to combine focused study in biology, chemistry, economics, history, or political science with interdisciplinary work on environmental themes across the natural sciences, history, and social sciences. Five courses of study are available, each concentrating in a home department with an environmental emphasis, augmented with cross-disciplinary requirements in environmental studies. Environmental studies majors will be identified with their home department as environmental studies–biology, environmental studies–chemistry, environmental studies–economics, environmental studies–history, or environmental studies–political science. An annually updated list of environmental studies–approved courses and Environmental Studies Committee (ESC) members is available on the environmental studies website.

Admission to the Major

To be admitted to the ES program, students must obtain signatures of their academic advisor and the ESC chair on their Declaration of Major form. Students should use this opportunity to discuss their proposed course of study with an ESC member, ensuring that ES courses will be offered in the semesters proposed and that all of the major requirements will be met.

Requirements for the Major

A. Common ES Core Requirements

  1. ES-HSS Courses (4 units). Any two from a-d.
    1. Economics 201 and one ES-Economics course.
    2. One 200-level Political Science course (except 230) and one ES-Political Science course (except 386-415).
    3. Two units of history, including at least one ES-History course.
    4. Anthropology 211 and one ES-Anthropology course.
  2. 2. ES-MNS Courses (4.5-5 units)
    1. Biology 101/102
    2. Chemistry 101/102
    3. One upper-level ES–Biology or ES-Chemistry course (numbered 200 or above).
  3. ES interdisciplinary requirement (1 unit): ES 300.
  4. ES thesis: ES 470.

B. Home Department Requirements

Students must fulfill the following course requirements for their respective home departments (home department courses may be fulfilled by ES core requirements):

ES-Biology major:

  1. Five units in Biology at the 200-level or above, including at least one course from each of the department's three "clusters," one additional lecture-lab course, and at least one unit of ES-Biology (Chem 230 can substitute for a half unit of ES-Biology).
  2. Chem 201, 202, Math 111, and one of Math 112, 121, or 141.

ES-Chemistry major:

  1. Chem 201, 202, 230, 311
  2. Two more units from among the following: Chem 212, 316, 332, 333, 391, 392, Math 211
  3. Phys 100, Math 111, and one of Math 112, 121, or 141.

ES-Economics major:

Seven units in Economics. This must include Econ 201; 311 or 312; 313; 304 or 314; 351 or 352; and two additional units in economics (at least one of which is from Economics 315-469, excluding Economics 402).

ES-History major:

  1. Six units of History, including History 411 or 412 (the Junior Seminar). Three of the units are to be drawn from a list of ES-History courses. In addition, the six units would include at least one unit each in American history, European history, and the history of a region of the world other than America or Europe; and at least one would focus on the period before 1800 and one after 1800.
  2. Statistics: one of Math 141, Econ 311 or 312, Pol Sci 311, Sociology 311, or Psychology 348.

ES-Political Science major:

  1. Six units in Political Science. This must include three 200-level courses and at least one upper-level ES-Political Science class.
  2. Statistics: one of Math 141, Econ 311 or 312, Pol Sci 311, Sociology 311, or Psychology 348.

C. Junior Qualifying Examination

ES students are required to pass the junior qualifying exam in their home department. In addition, they will prepare a research proposal for the committee. The research proposal must be signed by an advisor in the home department and by a potential first reader from a different department. The research proposal must be signed by a member of the ESC. These signatures indicate approval that the proposed research contains sufficient environmental content. Approval of the proposal by the ESC constitutes passing the ES portion of the junior qualifying exam.

D. Thesis

Students must complete a thesis with an environmental focus. The thesis orals board must include the thesis advisor from the home department and should also include an ES-affiliated faculty member from outside the department.

Sample Course Plans

For examples of how one might fulfill the Environmental Studies requirements, please see the following:

» Sample Course Plan - ES-Biology

» Sample Course Plan - ES-Chemistry

» Sample Course Plan - ES-Economics

» Sample Course Plan - ES-History

» Sample Course Plan - ES-Political Science

The Registrar's Office has prepared major planners for each Environmental Studies major.  For examples of how one might fulfill the Environmental Studies requirements and study abroad, see the example study plans on the International Programs Office website.