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Environmental Science | BS


  • Environmental Science
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BS in Environmental Science

The environmental science BS degree draws upon the natural sciences, which form the foundation of environmental science. Students are strongly encouraged to seek research experience either with faculty or at one of the many research institutions in the Washington, DC area.

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

  • 73 credit hours with grades C or better

Course Requirements

Environmental Science (19 credit hours)

  • ENVS-150 Sustainable Earth (4)
  • ENVS-300 Conservation (3) 
  • ENVS-350 Environmental Geology (3) 
  • ENVS-360 Environment and the Atmosphere (3) 
  • ENVS-470 Water Resources (3) 
  • ENVS-492 Senior Capstone in Environmental Science (3) 

Natural Sciences and Mathematics (39 credit hours)
  • CHEM-110 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHEM-210 General Chemistry II (4)
  • MATH-221 Calculus I (4) or MATH-222 Calculus II
  • STAT-202 Basic Statistics (4)
  • STAT-302 Intermediate Statistics (3) 
  • BIO-110 General Biology (4) and BIO-210 General Biology II (4) or PHYS-110 Principles of Physics (4) and PHYS-210 Principles of Physics II (4)
  • 12 credit hours from BIO, ENVS, CHEM, MATH/STAT, PHYS at 300 Level or higher. Substitutions possible with departmental approval.

Social Sciences (9 credit hours)

  • ECON-100 Macroeconomics (3)
  • ECON-200 Microeconomics (3) 
  • COMM-200 Writing for Communication (3)

Skills (3 credit hours)
  • CSC-310 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3) 

Experiential Learning (3 credit hours)
  • ENVS-490 Independent Study Project (1-6)
  • ENVS-491 Internship (1-6)


Combined Bachelor’s Degree and MS in Environmental Science

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 

This program enables qualified students to earn both an undergraduate degree in any field and an MS in Environmental Science. 


  • Undergraduates should apply for admission to the combined program by the end of the junior year. At a minimum, students must have an overall grade point average of 3.00 or higher, and have taken a year of laboratory science (BIO-110/210 General Biology I/II, CHEM-110/210 General Chemistry I/II, PHYS-105/205 College Physics I/II or PHYS-110/210 University Physics I/II) and a year of calculus (MATH-211 or MATH-211, and MATH-222). Applications must be accompanied by two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores may be required for admission to the combined program. Students should discuss their interest in the program with the Environmental Studies coordinator before submitting an application. 
  • All requirements for a BA or BS in any major) at American University  
  • Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level course work to satisfy the requirements of both degrees; ENVS-580 Environmental Science I and ENVS-581 Environmental Science II are recommended. 
  • All requirements for the MS in Environmental Science, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.