The environmental studies major is administered through the Office of Environmental Studies and draws from curricula in the earth and natural sciences and the social sciences. See the program website at envs.colorado.edu/undergrad_program/C31/curriculum for details of the program requirements and current courses.
The bachelor’s degree program is composed of a required common curriculum that exposes all students to the basics of physical and social environmental sciences, as well as a choice among three specializations: climate and energy, natural resources and the environment, or sustainable development.
The undergraduate degree in environmental studies emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:
Environmental studies is an interdisciplinary program, drawing on courses and expertise from over a dozen departments. Students who also wish to pursue a traditional, discipline-based education are encouraged to double major or complete a minor in one of the participating departments. An internship program is offered to provide the upper-level student with practical experience working in the field.
Students interested in environmental studies may want to consider the Baker Residential Academic Program. See Residential Academic Programs for more information.
Course code for this program is ENVS.
Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below.
Students are expected to complete the following common curriculum:
Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours
Biology Sequence (7-8 hours)
Chemistry or Physics (3-5 hours)
Earth Science Sequence (7-8 hours)
Intermediate Natural Science (3-4 hours)
Intermediate Social Science (3 hours)
Introductory and Intermediate Values (9 hours)
Intermediate Policy (3 hours)
One statistics or calculus course for 3-5 hours:
Advanced Writing (3-5 hours)
Application (minimum of 3 hours)
Capstone Course (3 hours)
Choose one and complete 15 credits within it. Additional course options may be available.
Climate and Energy
Natural Resources and the Environment
Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in environmental studies, students should meet the following requirements:
Opportunities for interdisciplinary graduate studies and original research, leading to the MS and PhD degrees, are available with a variety of emphases, including water sciences, environmental policy and sustainability, energy, environmental social sciences, and biogeosciences. Particular programs of study are limited only by course offerings and faculty expertise.
Candidates for the master’s degree in environmental studies must complete at least 36 credit hours of graduate course work. Both thesis (Plan I) and non-thesis (Plan II) options are available. Plan I requires that the student write and successfully defend a thesis for 6 research credits. Students who opt for Plan II must complete a 2-credit internship as part of their program. Additional information can be found at envs.colorado.edu/grad_program/C22/Masters/.
The PhD degree is a research degree, involving the production of a major piece of original research (the dissertation). Candidates for the doctoral degree must complete at least 42 degree-hours from a list of approved ENVS core and elective courses. In addition, 30 semester hours of dissertation credit must be taken. Students are expected to form an advisory committee of five faculty members (including one from outside ENVS) soon after beginning their studies. This committee helps the student in designing a research program and in making choices concerning course work. The PhD comprehensive exam is administered by the student dissertation committee and must be taken within the first five semesters of degree work. It consists of a written research proposal on the dissertation topic, a formal presentation summarizing the student research progress, and an oral examination centered on the student research. Upon the student completion of the dissertation, a final examination is administered by the dissertation committee.
This is a dual degree program offered in conjunction with the Leeds School of Business. It requires 36 hours of graduate work in environmental studies and 43 hours of MBA course work (with 12 hours of environmental studies course work applying toward the required 55 credits for the MBA). The MBA program will be considered the student’s primary program. Additional information is available at envs.colorado.edu/grad_program/C55/ENVS-Business.
This is a dual degree program offered in conjunction with the Law School. The Law School will grant credit for acceptable performance in graduate-level environmental studies courses toward the JD degree for up to 9 (for MS students) or 12 (for PhD students) credit hours of the required 89 credits for the JD degree. Environmental studies will grant up to 9 (for MS students) or 12 (for PhD students) credit hours of acceptable performance in law courses. The JD program will be considered the student’s primary program. Additional information is available at envs.colorado.edu/grad_program/C54/ENVS-law.