Academic Catalog

Environmental Science (B.S.)

Environmental Science investigates the many interconnected systems and processes that formed our world, continuously change it, and, ultimately, sustain life on it. The Environmental Science Program at Wayne State offers an interdisciplinary approach combining a strong foundation from both geological and ecological perspectives, and a broad choice of electives in its course work. This interdisciplinary program addresses human impacts on the environment, earth surface processes, and ecosystem science with an emphasis on the urban environments. It will prepare students for graduate study, or for careers in various areas of environmental science including conservation, restoration, watershed management, environmental impact assessment, air and water quality monitoring, regulatory compliance, and environmental remediation. 

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University.

Program Requirements

Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the departmental major  requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees. Students must receive a grade of 'C-minus' or better in all Major and Cognate required courses. An overall grade point average of 2.0 ('C') in all coursework is required for graduation.

Major Requirements

B.S. candidates in Environmental Science must complete the following:

ESG 1500Introduction to Environmental Science3
ESG 3000Introduction to Environmental Analysis Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)3
ESG 3100Air and Water in Environmental Systems3
ESG 1010Geology: The Science of the Earth3
ESG 1011Geology: The Science of the Earth Laboratory1
ESG 5150Soils and Soil Pollution4
ESG 5510Environmental Fate and Transport of Pollutants4
BIO 1500
BIO 1501
Basic Life Diversity
and Basic Life Diversity Laboratory
BIO 3500Ecology and the Environment3
BIO 5100Aquatic Ecology4
or BIO 5440 Terrestrial Ecology
PHI 1130Environmental Ethics3
PS 3450Environmental Policy and Politics4
Environmental Humanities Course (Choose One):3-4
Biology and Culture
Environmental Economics
World Environmental History since 1900
Sociology of the Environment
Sustainable Cities
Cities and Food

Elective Courses

Students must complete a minimum of 15 approved elective credits for the major; one course must be from the Department of Biology or the Department of Environmental Science and Geology. 

Biology Options
BIO 4130General Ecology4
BIO 4420Biogeography3
BIO 5040Biometry4
BIO 5100Aquatic Ecology4
BIO 5180Field Investigations in Biological Sciences12
BIO 5440Terrestrial Ecology4
BIO 5490Population and Community Ecology3
BIO 5540Landscape Ecology3
BIO 6190Advanced Special Topics6
BIO 6420 Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment3
Environmental Science and Geology Options
ESG 2130Mineralogy4
ESG 3300Structural Geology4
ESG 3160Petrology4
ESG 3800Team Research2
ESG 3650Field Geology1-6
ESG 4200Geomorphology4
GEL 440040-Hour HAZWOPER Training2
ESG 4900Internship in Environmental Science2
ESG 5000Geological Site Assessment4
ESG 5120Environmental Geochemistry4
ESG 5210Environmental and Applied Geophysics4
ESG 5360Hydrology and Water Resources4
ESG 5420Mathematical Methods in Earth Science4
ESG 5450Hydrogeology4
ESG 5600Special Topics in Environmental Science and Geology4
ESG 5610Special Topics in Environmental Science and Geology1
ESG 5650Applied Geologic Mapping4
ESG 6400Isotopes: Applications in Geological and Environmental Sciences4
GEL 6500Earth Resources and the Environment3
Anthropology Options
ANT 5140Biology and Culture (Anthropology Course Options)3
Civil Engineering Options
CE 3250Applied Fluid Mechanics4
CE 4210Introduction to Environmental Engineering3
CE 5230Water Supply and Wastewater Engineering3
CE 6190Groundwater3
CE 6160Principles of Atmospheric Chemistry and Applications3
CE 6270Sustainability Assessment and Management3
Economics Options
ECO 5230Environmental Economics4
Geography Options
GPH 3600Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
GPH 4600Advanced Geographic Information Systems4
Honors Options
HON 4220Seminar in Life Science3
History Options
HIS 5540World Environmental History since 19004
Public Health Options
PH 3500Environmental Health3
Sociology Options
SOC 2205Sociology of the Environment3
Urban Studies and Planning Options
UP 4460Sustainable Cities3
UP 5430Cities and Food3

Cognate Requirements

B.S. candidates in Environmental Science must take:

STA 1020Elementary Statistics3
or STA 2210 Probability and Statistics
MAT 2010Calculus I4
CHM 1100
CHM 1130
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory (or CHM 1220/1230 if taken before Fall 2020)
Select one of the following Physics options:5
Physics for the Life Sciences I
and Physics for the Life Sciences Laboratory
University Physics for Scientists I
and University Physics Laboratory

Majors should take the Placement Examination of the Department of Mathematics as soon as possible upon entry into the freshman year, although freshmen students may be placed by ACT/SAT scores (valid for 2 years).

Student's Responsibility: It is each student's responsibility to learn the requirements, policies, and procedures governing the program they are following and to act accordingly. Students should consult the Environmental Science Program Advisor regularly in order to verify that Environmental Science requirements are being met in a timely fashion. Although the advisor will provide assistance, the responsibility for fulfilling degree requirements remains with the student.

Environmental Science Honors

To be recommended for an honors degree from this program, a student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30 and complete a minimum of twelve honors course credits including two Geology or Biological Science Honors or Honors Option courses (6 credits) and:

ESG 4998Honors Thesis3
BIO 6999Honors Undergraduate Research Thesis 2
One 4200-level Honors Seminar3
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