Environmental Science & Sustainability (ESS) provides the best opportunities on campus to get outside, discover the natural world, and prepare to solve some of humanities biggest challenges. As you go through your degree, you will discover how societal and ecological dynamics shape the world we live in. We outline the major "core" classes below, followed by different options for electives.
Electives and emphases
In addition to the core classes above, you will have the flexibility to choose electives that support your interests. You can work with any faculty member to create a custom plan, or follow one of the emphases below to help guide you in your class selection:
- SOIL SCIENCE & CONSERVATION: This emphasis prepares you to learn what practices and principles can sustain and improve soil health for society and the environment. You will combine the fundamentals of soil science with the most recent management advances.
- WATER RESOURCES & CONSERVATION: This emphasis addresses the interactions between humans and water from local to global scales. You will integrate water chemistry, hydrology, and societal demand to improve human flourishing and aquatic sustainability.
- ECOSYSTEM ECOLOGY: This research-focused emphasis includes interactions of organisms and the physical environment at various scales. You will learn about plants, microorganisms, climate, and human disturbance in an ecological framework.
- ECO-BUSINESS: This emphasis connects environmental science, business, and economics. These interdisciplinary classes will help you understand the triple bottom line (people, planet, profits) and learn sustainable business practices.
- GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY: This emphasis focuses on the global issues threatening the Earth system: pollution and public health, climate change, eutrophication, and loss of biodiversity. You will learn the causes of these crises and approaches to a better future.
- ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATICS: This emphasis equips you with the analytical tools to interpret environmental data streams. You will develop analytical skills, including statistical, machine learning, and big data approaches.
- SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES & POLICY: This emphasis focuses on how human behaviors and policies can contribute to sustainable outcomes. You will learn to be a change agent by integrating behavioral economics, life-cycle analysis, and environmental law.
Minoring in ESS
Minoring in ESS connects you with the students and faculty while you continue your degree in another field. We have ESS minors from almost every program on campus, and their diverse perspectives strengthen the program.
If you are interested in pursuing an MS or PhD in ESS, check out the resources below. Once you know the basics, reach out to the faculty member you are interested in working with to ask if they are accepting applications. Our MS program is called Environmental Science and our PhD program is called Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation.
Knowing her grandchildren would inherit the world she left behind, she did not work for flourishing in her time only. It was through her actions of reciprocity—the give and take with the land—that the original immigrant became indigenous. For all of us, becoming indigenous to place means living as if your children’s future mattered. To take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.