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B.S. in Environmental Science/Studies

Earth matters. A changing environment needs highly educated people who can address both scientific and societal challenges. But how? How do we improve society while living within the limits of natural resources?

What you'll study
In addition to interdisciplinary courses, you will choose either the science track or the environmental studies track. Core courses ground you in Everglades ecology, chemistry, and environmental law. Electives expand into cell biology, biodiversity, and ecotourism. A theme of sustainability unites a diversity of fields.

How you'll learn more
Field studies. Internships. Visits to local ecosystems. You will be living in an epicenter of extreme biodiversity and extreme development. Biology and sociology come alive as you struggle to find solutions to local and global problems.

Where it can take you
Understanding complexity gives you a framework to find meaningful work. The sciences open doors to technical fields and graduate study, and the environmental studies track prepares you for policy and service jobs, often with government or nonprofit agencies. The Earth remains your lifelong laboratory.

Review the approximate annual cost of tuition, housing, studying part-time, and other options.

Tuition and Fees

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The environmental science/studies major provides a comprehensive knowledge of Earth's physical, chemical, and biotic systems. The program emphasizes the practical application of science, sociology, and ethics to solve problems created by the impact of human activity on the environment. This major incorporates the following areas of study: wetlands ecology, ecotourism, geographic spatial analysis, sustainability issues, public health, and marine biology. The program is designed so students will share a common set of courses in their freshman year to ensure that all students gain an overview of the subject. Upon entering their sophomore year, students are required to select major electives. The program is designed to be completed within a four-year period. An internship is required of all students in this program.


A successful environmental sciences/studies graduate is expected to:

  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the scientific method so as to identify, evaluate, and recommend solutions to environmental problems;
  2. Communicate concisely and clearly through public speaking, the publishing of written articles, the construction and maintenance of a Web site, and photographic documentation either through photography or videography;
  3. Formulate strategies to maximize the responsible use of technology as it applies to issues within environmental science;
  4. Identify legal issues relating to environmental science;
  5. Apply concepts of environmental science to lifetime vocational aspirations;
  6. Demonstrate a behavior of environmental awareness and interest in environmental issues of South Florida;
  7. Apply knowledge from the fields of biology, botany, and physical sciences to environmental science;
  8. Identify the principles of environmental ethics;
  9. Identify concepts relating to the future of environmentalism.


General Education Requirements (30 credits)

Students are required to complete 30 credit hours as part of the General Education Program.

Environmental Science/Studies Major Requirements (58 or 59 credits)

Core Courses (43 or 44 credits)

  • CHEM 1500 Introduction to Environmental Chemistry (3 credits) OR CHEM 3150 Environmental Chemistry (3 credits)
  • ENVS 1100 Environmental Science I (3 credits)
  • ENVS 1200 Environmental Science II (3 credits)
  • ENVS 2100 Environmental Science Laboratory (3 credits)
  • ENVS 3000 Environmental Geology/Lab (4 credits)
  • ENVS 3100 Environmental Issues (3 credits)
  • ENVS 3170 Everglades Ecology and Conversation (3 credits)
  • ENVS 4300 Industrial Ecology (3 credits)
  • ENVS 4950 Internship in Environmental Science and Study (3 credits)
  • GEOG 2050 Survey of Geography (3 credits)
  • GEOG 2260 Geography of Natural Resources (3 credits)
  • GEOG 3010 Amazonian Cloud Forest Biogeography (3 credits) OR ENVS 1500 Natural History of South Florida (4 credits)
  • LGST 3350 Environmental Law and Policy (3 credits)
  • PHIL 3360 Environmental Ethics (3 credits)

Major Electives (15 credits)
Select 15 credits from the following courses:

  • BIOL 1100 Concepts and Connections in Biology (3 credits) OR BIOL 1400 Introductory Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • BIOL 3200 General Ecology/Lab (4 credits)
  • BIOL 3400 Microbiology/Lab (4 credits)
  • CHEM 1300 General Chemistry I/Lab (4 credits) OR CHEM 1300H General Chemistry I/Lab Honors (4 credits)
  • CHEM 1310 General Chemistry II/Lab (4 credits) OR CHEM 1310H General Chemistry II/Lab Honors (4 credits)
  • CHEM 2200 Essentials of Organic Chemistry (4 credits)
  • ENVS 2000 Biodiversity of Alaskan Ecosystems (3 credits)
  • ENVS 2001 Biodiversity of Alaskan Ecosystems Field Course (1 credit)
  • ENVS 4990 Independent Study in Environmental Science/Study (1–3 credits)
  • GEOG 2075 Geographical Information Systems (3 credits)
  • GEOG 3000 Geography of Ecotourism (3 credits)
  • MBIO 2410 Marine Biology and Lab (4 credits)
  • SOCL 3600 Environmental Sociology (3 credits)

The academic program and curriculum requirements listed on this page are from the 2014-2015 edition of the NSU Undergraduate Student Catalog. Students are bound by policies and curricula published in the catalog in effect the semester they enter the university, unless an agreement is made with appropriate NSU administration officials allowing them to abide by policies published in a later catalog.

View sample 4-Year Academic Plan

Internships in the environmental science/studies program are designed to be capstone educational experiences matched to students' interests. They are also opportunities for students to network with environmental science professionals in Florida and around the world.

Internships include, but are not limited to:

  • Local, state, and federal parks and wildlife agencies
  • Local, state, and federal environmental laboratories
  • Wildlife/nature/travel photography organizations
  • Ecotourism organizations
  • Environmental law offices
  • The United Nations
  • Ministries of tourism in Latin American/Caribbean countries
  • Non-profit environmental organizations
  • Urban/regional planning groups
  • Amusement/recreation/wildlife parks
  • Cruise ships
  • Oceanography/marine biology organizations
  • Travel/tour operators

Three things make the program at the College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography unique:

  1. Choice of Tracks - A clear choice to concentrate in analytical sciences to become an environmental technician or the qualitative aspects to focus on ecotourism and sustainability.
  2. Field Studies - The Earth is our laboratory. All majors are encouraged to learn how to travel, cope in different cultures, and use foreign experiences as a basis of learning.
  3. Internships - Internships allow students to develop career strategies, gain practical field experience, and create networks for employment opportunities.

Choice of Tracks

The philosophy of a modern environmental science curriculum must be to broadly educate students in the relevant environmental sciences of biology, chemistry, ecology, geology and physics and put this information into a general context through the examination of ethical, legal, cultural, historical, and other social questions. The program's first year introduces the wide range of disciplines. During the rest of the program's second through fourth years, students will specialize in either environmental science or environmental studies:

  • The environmental science track teaches students how the natural sciences influence the human environment. Students take coursework in environmental science, as well as laboratory courses in biology, physical chemistry, microbiology, and organic chemistry.
  • The environmental studies track focuses on the role of society and culture in shaping the human environment. Students take course work in ecotourism, public health, environmental chemistry, and field biology.

Field Studies

The environmental science/studies major offers students local and international opportunities to engage in field studies that promote environmental awareness and build skills that will be useful in future professional and graduate studies. Field studies include:

Pursuing a minor can deepen your knowledge in a discipline related to your major or enable you to explore a field outside your major area of study and diversify your skills. Speak with a faculty member in your program to determine which minor(s) can support your academic, professional, and personal goals.

See the entire program at a glance. The four-year plan of study will assist you in planning your future at NSU. It presents an overall idea of the order in which courses might be taken in a four-year plan during a student's college career.

4-Year Plan of Study
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