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First Year Focus

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 132 or equivalent. ENVR_SCI 203 requires CHEM 132 or 171 or equivalent as well as MATH 220-2 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:

Other ways to get involved

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


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.

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