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Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Major (BS, CRED, HBS) Major/Option offered thru Ecampus - Distance Ed

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences | Interdisciplinary Program Detail


Alternative Energy
Applied Ecology  eCampus
Aquatic Biology  eCampus
Conservation, Resources, and Sustainability  eCampus
Earth Systems  eCampus
Environmental Agriculture  eCampus
Environmental Policy and Economics  eCampus
Environmental Science Education
Environmental Water Resources  eCampus

Also available via Ecampus.


See below for all approved specialization areas.

Larry C. Becker, Director
Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Program
104 CEOAS Administration Building
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331

Undergraduate Major

Environmental Sciences (BS, CRED, HBS)

Alternative Energy
Applied Ecology
Aquatic Biology
Conservation, Resources, and Sustainability
Earth Systems
Environmental Agriculture
Environmental Policy and Economics 
Environmental Science Education
Environmental Water Resources


Environmental Sciences

Graduate Major

Environmental Sciences (MA, MS, PhD, PSM)
(This interdisciplinary program is hosted by the Graduate School.)

An Environmental Sciences undergraduate degree provides a rigorous education that can lead to helping to understand and resolve some of today's most challenging scientific and policy issues—including global climate change, pollution, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, and balancing resource use and preservation. To help reach these objectives, the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences offers an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problem solving. As an Environmental Sciences major, a student completes course work in four general areas:

  1. OSU's general education courses (the baccalaureate core)
  2. Basic science and math
  3. Environmental sciences and humanities core
  4. A specialization area

In addition, each student completes a minimum of 3 credits of experiential learning as an internship, research, study abroad, or field course. The BS degree in Environmental Sciences provides excellent training for a variety of careers—including work with federal, state, and local agencies, industry, non-profits, and education—or for graduate school. Students can pursue the BS degree either at the Corvallis campus or online through OSU Ecampus.

Major Curriculum

The Environmental Sciences major requires credits in seven categories: 48 credits of baccalaureate core; 51–53 credits of basic science and math; 27–36 credits of environmental sciences and humanities; 27–31 credits of specialization; 3 credits writing intensive course; 3 credits minimum of experiential learning; and 4–53 credits of elective courses (depends on the number of baccalaureate core electives that will also meet requirements of the major).

Baccalaureate Core (48)

The university baccalaureate core course (BCC) requirement is met with 48 credits and a writing intensive course (WIC). The environmental sciences student satisfies the general education requirement by selecting 27 unrestricted credits from the general list of approved courses and 21 credits from a restrictive list of BCC courses, which simultaneously satisfy requirements for the Environmental Sciences major. The WIC and Synthesis requirements are satisfied by courses taken as part of the environmental sciences core curriculum.


ENSC 101. Environmental Sciences Orientation (1)

Basic Science and Math Courses (51–53 credits)

BI 211, BI 212, BI 213. *Principles of Biology (4,4,4)
   or BI 204, BI 205, BI 206. *Introductory Biology I, II, III (4,4,4)
CH 121. General Chemistry (5) and CH 122, CH 123. *General Chemistry (5,5)
   or CH 231, CH 232, CH 233. *General Chemistry (4,4,4) and CH 261, CH 262, CH 263. *Laboratory for Chemistry 231, 232, 233 (1,1,1)
MTH 251. *Differential Calculus (4)
MTH 268. Mathematical Ideas in Biology (4)
   or MTH 252. Integral Calculus (4)
PH 201, PH 202. *General Physics (5,5)
  or PH 211, PH 212. *General Physics with Calculus (4,4)
ST 351, ST 352. Introduction to Statistical Methods (4,4)

Environmental Sciences and Humanities Core (28–38 credits)

Natural Environmental Systems (minimum of 12 credits)

One course in atmosphere:
ATS 201. *Climate Science (4)
ATS 310. Meteorology (4)
ATS 420. Principles of Climate: Physics of Climate and Climate Change (4)
GEOG 323. ^Climatology (4)

One course in biosphere:
BI 370. Ecology (3)

One course in geosphere:
CSS 205. *Soil Science (4)
GEO 202. *Earth Systems Science (4)
GEO 221. *Environmental Geology (4)
GEO 322. Surface Processes (4)
GEOG 102. *Physical Geography (4)
GEOG 350. *Geography of Natural Hazards (3) 
SOIL 205. *Soil Science (3)
  and SOIL 206. *Soil Science Laboratory for SOIL 205 (1)
SOIL 395. *World Soil Resources (3)

One course in hydrosphere:
FW 456. Freshwater Ecology and Conservation (5)
GEOG 340. *Introduction to Water Science and Policy (3)
GEO 487. Hydrogeology (4)
OC 201. *Oceanography (4)

Humans and the Environment (15–20 credits)

One course in economics, selected from the following:
AEC 250. *Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy (3)
ECON 201. *Introduction to Microeconomics (4)
ECON 202. *Introduction to Macroeconomics (4)
FW 462. Ecosystem Services (3)

One course in ethics and environmental ethics, selected from the following:
ANTH 481. *Natural Resources and Community Values (3)
CH 374. *Technology, Energy, and Risk (3)
ES 353. *Environmental Racism (4)
ES/PHL/REL 448. Native American Philosophies (4)
FES/TOX 435. *Genes and Chemicals in Agriculture: Value and Risk (3)
FES 485. *Consensus and Natural Resources (3)
   or ANS 485. *Consensus and Natural Resources (3) [Terminated 201801]
   or FW 485. *Consensus and Natural Resources (3) [Terminated 201803]
   or SOC 485. *Consensus and Natural Resources (3) [Terminated 201802]
FW 340. *Multicultural Perspectives in Natural Resources (3)
GEO 309. *Environmental Justice (3)
PHL 325. *Scientific Reasoning (4)
PHL 439. Philosophy of Nature (3)
PHL 440. Environmental Ethics (3)
PHL/REL 443. *World Views and Environmental Values (3)
PS 461. Environmental Political Theory (4)
SOC 456. *Science and Technology in Social Context (4)
SOC 480. *Environmental Sociology (4)
SOC 481. *Society and Natural Resources (4)
WGSS 440. *Women and Natural Resources (3)

One course in the human environment, selected from the following:
AG 301. *Ecosystem Science of Pacific NW Indians (3)
ATS 320. *The Changing Climate (3) [Terminated fall 2017]
BI 301. *Human Impacts on Ecosystems (3)
BI 348. *Human Ecology (3)
ENSC 479. *^Environmental Case Studies (3)
FW 325. *Global Crises in Resource Ecology (3)
FW 470. *Ecology and History: Landscapes of the Columbia Basin (3)
   or HSTS 470. *Ecology and History: Landscapes of the Columbia Basin (3) [Terminated 201801]
GEO 308. *Global Change and Earth Sciences (3)
GEOG 203. *Human-Environment Geography (3)
GEOG 300. *Sustainability for the Common Good (3)
GEOG 431. Global Resources and Development (3)
GEOG 450. Land Use in the American West (3)
HST 481. *Environmental History of the United States (4)
SUS 102. *Introduction to Environmental Science and Sustainability (4)
SUS 330. Ecological Dimensions of Sustainability (3) [Terminated 201701]
SUS 350. *Sustainable Communities (4)
WGSS 440. *Women and Natural Resources (3)
Z 349. *Biodiversity: Causes, Consequences, and Conservation (3)

One course in environmental law and policy, selected from the following:
AEC 253. *Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics (4)
AEC 351. *Natural Resource Economics and Policy (3)
AEC/ECON 352. *Environmental Economics and Policy (3)
AEC 432. Environmental Law (4)
FOR 462. Natural Resource Policy and Law (3)
FW 415. Fisheries and Wildlife Law and Policy (3)
FW 422. Introduction to Ocean Law (3)
GEOG 340. *Introduction to Water Science and Policy (3)
PS 475. Environmental Politics and Policy (4)
PS 476. *Science and Politics (4)
PS 477. International Environmental Politics and Policy (4)
SOC 360. *Population Trends and Policy (4)
WGSS 440. *Women and Natural Resources (3)

One course in environmental management, selected from the following:
BI/FW 464. Marine Conservation Biology (3) [Terminated 201703]
BOT/FOR 413. Forest Pathology (3)
FES/HORT 350. Urban Forestry (3)
FES 352. Wilderness Management (3) [Terminated 201802]
FES 355. Management for Multiple Resource Values (3)
FES 365. *Issues in Natural Resources Conservation (3)
FES 412. Forest Entomology (3)
FES/FW 445. Ecological Restoration (4)
FOR 346. Topics in Wildland Fire (3) 
FW 251. Principles of Fish and Wildlife Conservation (3)
FW 323. Management Principles of Pacific Salmon in the Northwest (3)
FW 326. Integrated Watershed Management (3)
FW 431. Dynamics of Marine Biological Resources (4)
FW 435. ^Wildlife in Agricultural Ecosystems (3)
GEO 306. *Minerals, Energy, Water and the Environment (3)
GEOG 430. Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management (3)
GEOG 441. International Water Resources Management (3)
GEOG 440. Water Resources Management in the United States (3)
GEOG 452. Sustainable Site Planning (3)
NR 455. Natural Resource Decision Making (4)
RNG 341. Rangeland Ecology and Management (3)
RNG 355. Desert Watershed Management (4)
RNG 421. Wildland Restoration and Ecology (4)
RNG 455. Riparian Ecohydrology and Management (4) 
RNG 490. Rangeland Management Planning (4)

Experiential Learning (3 credits)

The program must contain at least one course, internship, or research experience that provides opportunities for hands-on experience in design and collection of observations in the physical, biological or social environment. Students are urged to work with advisors at an early stage in their study to identify courses or experiences that are appropriate.

Specialization Area (27+ credits)

This requirement can be met by completing an approved certificate, option, or minor from a participating program in the environmental or closely related sciences, or working with advisors to develop an innovative course cluster to analyze environmental systems.

Approved Certificates:

Approved Options (All options under the Environmental Sciences major):


* Baccalaureate Core Course (BCC)
^ Writing Intensive Course (WIC)
EC Available via Ecampus

Major/Option offered thru Ecampus - Distance Ed - Signifies that the Major/Option can be completed thru Ecampus - Distance Ed

Major Code: 657

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