First Year Focus

ENVR SCI 390 Field Trip

What is Environmental Science?

The Environmental Sciences program prepares students to address one of society’s greatest challenges, namely preservation and stewardship of the natural world. The curriculum synthesizes courses in the natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences important for understanding the environment, the impact human activities have on it, and ways for mitigating and managing such impacts. Via an interdisciplinary curriculum, majors learn integrative and quantitative approaches for solving environmental problems spanning local to global scales, such as air and water pollution, biodiversity, climate change, energy, human health, and sustainability. 

Getting Started in the Major

You can examine the major requirements on our website. The major entails three successive levels: Foundation Courses, Core Courses, and Advanced Studies Courses. The Foundation Courses comprise introductory courses in science, mathematics, and social science. Many are prerequisites for courses in the two successive levels. For example, the Environmental Sciences Core courses (ENVR_SCI 201 and 202) require CHEM 103 or equivalent. ENVR_SCI 203 requires CHEM 103 or 171 or equivalent as well as MATH 224 or equivalent. Freshmen are strongly encouraged to take Foundation Courses as soon as possible.

The following provides a generic four-year course plan for the Environmental Sciences major:

  • YEAR 1
    • Fall: CHEM 101/121 + MATH 220 + 1 Foundation Course Elective
    • Winter: CHEM 102/122, MATH 224 + 1 Foundation Course Elective
    • Spring: CHEM 103/123 + 2 Foundation Course Electives
  • YEAR 2
    • Fall: ENVR_SCI 203 + 1 Foundation Course Elective
    • Winter: ENVR_SCI 202
    • Spring: ENVR_SCI 201
  • YEAR 3
    • Four Advanced Studies Courses
  • YEAR 4
    • Four Advanced Studies Courses

Other ways to get involved

There are several ways you can learn more about Environmental Sciences at Northwestern:

  • We invite students to attend environmental seminars occurring on campus and elsewhere in Chicago. Seminars offer and excellent opportunity to learn about the latest developments in the field, as well as to meet faculty and other students. 
  • Interested in conducting environmental research? Diverse options are available.
  • There are several environmentally oriented student groups on campus. 
  • If you wish to keep current about social functions, department activities, research opportunities, and job openings, please contact the program office about being added to the Environmental Sciences undergraduate email listserv.

Advising

Our Advising page contains more information about declaring the major and other useful links. If you have questions or need more information, please contact the program office at 847-467-2976.