Environmental studies is an interdisciplinary program, drawing on courses and expertise from over sixteen departments. The program is designed to equip you with the disciplinary rigor required to gain employment in the field, while at the same time providing you the broad perspective afforded by an interdisciplinary education.

As a major, you will learn the integration of science, policy, and values as applied to environmental issues, and acquire an awareness of the complexity of factors relating to human interaction with the environment. Environmental problems have both human and biophysical components, and you will come to understand the general principles of human-environmental interaction, global habitability, environmental change, and sustainable human societies.

You’ll take courses in sciences, policy, ethics, economics, writing and math and an internship or field course, and a capstone course. In addition, you will choose among three specializations: Climate and Energy, Natural Resources, or Sustainable Development.

The purpose of the major is to train students in the causes, scale, and remediation strategies of the major environmental problems in the United States and world. As a major you will acquire an awareness of the complexity of factors relating to human interaction with the environment. In addition, you’ll gain knowledge of the general principles of human-environmental interaction, global habitability and environmental change, and sustainable human societies.

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. The program leads to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.

With training in the principles of environmental studies and in environmentally-related disciplines such as geography, biology, and economics, you will find employment opportunities in numerous sectors of the government, private research firms, and industrial companies. 

Graduate study in environmental science is another option for the environmental studies major, and is recommended for those planning a career in environmental education or research. Also, a significant number of environmental studies graduates go on to law school. 

Career Services (www.colorado.edu/career) helps students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work.

Career Services offers free services for all CU-Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation. Meet individually the staff to discuss major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.

Field work opportunities and research activities are enhanced by departmental affiliation with various research facilities, including the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) and its Mountain Research Station, and the Institute for Behavioral Science (IBS). All of these institutes are involved in interdisciplinary research and activities related to the environment.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers students a chance to work alongside a faculty sponsor on original research. Learn to write proposals, conduct research, pursue creative work, analyze data and present the results. For more information, call UROP at 303-492-2596, http://enrichment.colorado.edu/urop/.

You may want to enrich your undergraduate years with study abroad. Your first-hand experience abroad can provide you with new insights into regional and international environmental issues. The university offers more than 100 programs throughout the world that offer credit - in some cases fulfilling major and core requirements. You may spend a few weeks to a full academic year abroad, depending on the program you select. 

Prior language study or other prerequisites are necessary for some programs, so early planning for study abroad is essential. Further information about study abroad is available from the Office of International Education which is located in the Center for Community. Reach them by phone at 303-492-7741, or: http://studyabroad.colorado.edu/.

Environmental Studies Major
4-year Plan

NOTE: This example will outline the major requirements, but the order of some of your classes can vary greatly.  It is important to check your Degree Audit and work with your major advisor each semester to make sure you are aware of your requirements and graduation timeline.  This is especially true of students with added majors, minors, or certificates.

 

First Year – Fall Semester
ENVS 1000
Intro to Environmental Studies (4)
EBIO Biology sequence Part 1 with lab (4) (See Degree Audit for choices.  Also fulfills CORE: Content Area of Study Natural Science with lab)

*OR*

Earth Science sequence Part 1 (3-4) (See Degree Audit for choices)
ENVS 1150 (3): (Also fulfills CORE: Skills Area Lower-Division Written Communication)
Elective or MAPS (3)

First Year – Spring Semester
EBIO
Biology sequence Part 2 with lab (4) (See Degree Audit for choices.  Also fulfills CORE: Content Area of Study Natural Science with lab)

*OR*

Earth Science sequence Part 2 (3-4) (See Degree Audit for choices)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (Quantitative Reasoning & Mathematical Skills) to prepare for Statistics or Calculus
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: US Context)
Elective or MAPS (3)
Elective or MAPS (3)


Second Year – Fall Semester
EBIO
Biology sequence Part 1 with lab (4) (See Degree Audit for choices.  Also fulfills CORE: Content Area of Study Natural Science with lab)

*OR*

(Take whichever one not taken in first year)
Earth Science
sequence Part 1 (3-4) (See Degree Audit for choices)
Chemistry or Physics with lab (3-5) (See Degree Audit for choices)
PSCI 2106, 2116, or 3206 (3) Intermediate Policy course
Intermediate Natural Science course (3-4) (See Degree Audit for choices. May not fulfill CORE: Content Area of Study Natural Science)
CORE: Content Area of Study (3) (example: Human Diversity)

Second Year – Spring Semester
EBIO
Biology sequence Part 2 with lab (4) (See Degree Audit for choices.  Also fulfills CORE: Content Area of Study Natural Science with lab)

*OR*

(Take whichever one not taken in first year)
Earth Science
sequence Part 2 (3-4) (See Degree Audit for choices)
ECON 2010 (4) Principles of Microeconomics (Also fulfills CORE: Content Area of Study Contemporary Societies)
Statistics or Calculus course (3-5) (See Degree Audit for choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Lower-Division Literature & the Arts)


Third Year – Fall Semester
ENVS 3520, 3521, 3525, or 3621
(3) Cornerstone requirement
ECON 3535 or 3545 (3) Natural Resources or Environmental Economics
ENVS 3140, PHIL 3140, or PSCI 3064 (3) Ethics course
ENVS 3030, 3031 or 3032 (3) Intermediate Social Science
Elective or MAPS (3)

Third Year – Spring Semester
ENVS 3020 or EBIO 3940
(3) Advanced Writing (Also fulfills CORE: Skills Area of Study Upper-Division Written Communication)
Application course (3) (See Degree Audit for choices)
Specialization course (3) (12 credits required, see course lists for ENVS major for choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Upper-Division Literature and the Arts)
Elective or MAPS (3)


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
ENVS 4800, 4990, or ENST 4150
(3) Capstone requirement
Specialization course (3) (12 credits required, see course lists for ENVS major for choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Ideals & Values)
Elective or MAPS (3)
Elective or MAPS (3)

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
Specialization course
(3) (12 credits required, see course lists for ENVS major for choices)
Specialization course (3) (12 credits required, see course lists for ENVS major for choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Historical Context)
Elective or MAPS (3)
Elective or MAPS (3)
Elective if necessary to reach 120 credits (1-2)