The major in Environmental Sciences has two tracks focusing on either science or policy. Both tracks share common foundation courses in science, mathematics, and social science and the same core curriculum. Advanced course work differs with track. The major entails three successive levels:
I. Foundation Courses in science, mathematics, and social science support an understanding of environmental issues.
II. Core Courses represent the first step toward focusing on the environment. These are specialized courses drawing from the earth and biological sciences and engineering.
III. Advanced Studies Courses are upper-level courses in science, social science, and engineering that develop the theory and methods of environmental analysis. Students may also conduct optional independent study research projects. At this stage, students typically choose a Science or Policy Track.
Soon after identifying an interest in Environmental Sciences, students should consult with the Environmental Sciences Program Director to plan their academic path through the major. Foundation courses should be completed as soon as possible because many are prerequisites for advanced studies courses. Although the major does not explicitly require MATH 230 or PHYSICS 135-1,2,3, students with time and space in their schedules are encouraged to consider taking these courses, especially if they are generally scientifically inclined and envision graduate training in their future. Premedical students and students interested in advanced study in environmental biology are advised to take the full 200-level sequence in biological sciences and two additional quarters of organic chemistry. Optional independent study projects offer students the opportunity to think critically and gain more knowledge of the paradigms and methods of environmental research while forging a personal relationship with a faculty advisor.
I. Foundations in Science and Mathematics:
All of the following:
- MATH 220, 224; or 212, 213, 214
- CHEM 101, 102, 103 with lab courses 121, 122, 123 or 171, 172 with lab courses 181, 182
Five courses from the following, with at least two from the same group (i.e. BIOL_SCI, CHEM, ECON, PHYSICS, or STAT/MATH). Nine or eleven courses are required. Labs do not count toward 5-course total.
- BIOL_SCI 215, 216, 217 or 218; 215, 216, 217 must be paired with 1 lab course from BIOL_SCI 220, 221 or 222
- CHEM 210-1,2 , with lab course 230-2
- ECON 201, 202
- MATH 230, 250; STAT 210
- PHYSICS 135–1,2,3
II. Core Courses:
Three courses are required.
- ENVR_SCI 201: Earth, A Habitable Planet
- ENVR_SCI 202: The Health of the Biosphere
- ENVR_SCI 203: Energy and the Environment
III. Advanced Studies:
Eight courses are required, with at least six taken at the 300 level. Students may choose which advanced courses to take according to the track pursued.
Six courses from the Science list, two from the Environment and Society list.
ECON 281, 310-1, 370; plus five additional courses, four of which must be from the Science list.
Advanced Studies Course Lists
- Science List:
ANTHRO 306, 312, 314, 390; BIOL_SCI 301, 313, 316, 330, 332, 334, 335, 341, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350; CHEM 306, 329, 342-1,2; 393; CHEM_ENG 364, 365; CIV_ENV 260, 340, 358, 361-1, 361-2, 363, 364, 365, 367, 371, 376, 398; EARTH 201, 300, 301, 310, 312, 313, 314, 316, 317, 326, 329, 330, 331, 342, 351; 360; ENVR_SCI 390; GEOG 211, 235, 341, 343; ISEN 210, 220; MECH_ENG 241, 395.
- Environment and Society List:
ANTHRO 310, 383; CIV_ENV 303, 349, 360, 368, 395; ECON 270, 370; ENVR_POL 390, 394, 395; GEOG 328; GLB HLTH 302; HIST 215, 395; ISEN 230. 390; JOUR 382; PHIL 254, 268, 269, 270; POLI_SCI 329, 349, 367 (cross-listed with Environmental Policy and Culture); REL 261; SOCIOL 212, 276, 305, 311, 312.
- Optional research course:
ENVR_SCI 399 (Students may substitute up to 2, 399 courses for
courses from the Science list).
Environmental Sciences Second Major for ISP Students
The Integrated Science Program is a highly selective BA program in Weinberg College. Students majoring in ISP who wish to complete a second major in Environmental Sciences should fulfill the following requirements instead of those listed above. They may not substitute ENVR_SCI 399 or ISP 398 for the ISP-required course MATH 383 and must take the following additional courses:
- ENVR_SCI 201, 202, 203
- 4 advanced studies courses at the 300-level (3 from the science list and 1 from the environment and society list)
- 1 quarter of 399 may be substituted for 1 course from the science list
Visit Northwestern University's Environmental Portal for an Entryway to Environmental Exploration...
The Environmental Sciences curriculum combines courses in natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences to help students understand the environment from a range of perspectives and tackle the current environmental issues facing our world. Learn more