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Environmental Science


  • Environmental Science
    Fax: 202-885-1752
    Beeghly, Room 104

Mailing Address

BA in Environmental Studies

Admission to the Program

Admission to the program is through formal declaration of the major through the Department of Environmental Science. 

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours 
  • 6 credit hours of college writing 
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination 

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 69 credit hours with grades of C or better 

Course Requirements

Core (51 credit hours)

Social Sciences (15 credit hours) 

  • ECON-100 Macroeconomics (3) 
  • ECON-200 Microeconomics (3) 
  • GOVT-110 Politics in the United States (3) 
  • SISU-105 World Politics (3) 
  • One of the following: 
  • ANTH-334 Environmental Justice (3) 
  • SOCY-389 Society and the Global Environment (3) 

Environmental Studies (18 credit hours) 

  • CHEM-330 Environmental Chemistry (3) 
  • ENVS-360 Environment and the Atmosphere (3) 
  • ENVS-375 Water Resources (3) 
  • ENVS-492 Senior Capstone in Environmental Studies (3) 
  • Two from the following: 
  • ECON-379 Economics of Environmental Policy (3) 
  • GOVT-370 Formation and Implementation of Environmental Policy (3) 
  • GOVT-423 Advanced Studies in Public Policy: Conservation Politics (3)
  • SISU-240 International Development (3) 

Natural Sciences and Mathematics (18-20 credit hours) 

  • BIO-110 General Biology I (4) or BIO-100 Great Experiments in Biology (4) 
  • BIO-210 General Biology II (4) or ENVS-250 Living in the Environment (3) 
  • CHEM-110 General Chemistry I (4) or CHEM-100 The Molecular World (4) 
  • CHEM-210 General Chemistry II (4) or ENVS-220 Energy and Resources (3) 
  • One of the following: 
  • MATH-211 Applied Calculus I (4) or MATH-221 Calculus I (4) 

Related Course Requirements (18 credit hours)

Skills (3 credit hours) 

  • One of the following: 
  • COMM-200 Writing for Communication (3) 
  • CSC-310 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3) 

Environmental Applications (12 credit hours) 

  • 12 credit hours from the following: 
  • ANTH-334 Environmental Justice (3) (if not taken for core requirement) 
  • BIO-250 Oceanography (3) 
  • BIO-323 Introduction to Ecology (3) 
  • BIO-340 Marine Biology (3) 
  • BIO-342 Marine Mammals (3) 
  • BIO-440 Microbiology with Laboratory (4) 
  • BIO-562 Field Methods (3) 
  • CHEM-310 Organic Chemistry I (3) and CHEM-312 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1) 
  • CHEM-320 Organic Chemistry II (3) and CHEM-322 Organic Chemistry II Laboratory (1) 
  • ECON-379 Economics of Environmental Policy (3) (if not taken for core requirement) 
  • ENVS-520 Biogeochemistry (3) 
  • ENVS-572 Topics in Conservation Biology (3) 
  • ENVS-580 Environmental Science I (3) 
  • ENVS-581 Environmental Science II (3) 
  • ENVS-582 Environmental Law (3) 
  • GOVT-370 Formation and Implementation of  Environmental Policy (3) (if not taken for core requirement) 
  • GOVT-423 Advanced Studies in Public Policy (3):Conservation Politics (if not taken for core requirement) 
  • PHYS-105 General Physics I (4) or PHYS-110 Principles of Physics I (4) 
  • PHYS-205 General Physics II (4) or PHYS-210 Principles of Physics II (4) 
  • SISU-240 International Development (3) (if not taken for core requirement) 
  • SOCY-389 Society and the Global Environment (3) (if not taken for core requirement) 

Other courses may be substituted with approval of the Environmental Studies coordinator. 

Experiential Learning ( 3 credit hours) 

A maximum of 3 credit hours from:

  • ENVS-490 Independent Study Project (1–6) 
  • ENVS-491 Internship (1–6) 

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major. For more information, go to the University Honors Program.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.  The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements. 

Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and  maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.