Environmental Studies Major Curriculum

The environmental studies major provides students with an academically rigorous course sequence that encompasses introductory through advanced understandings of the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies.

This major includes courses from across campus that expose students to the perspectives and methods used by the physical, biological, social sciences and humanities to tackle environmental questions and solutions.

The environmental studies major requires students to complete an additional major at UW-Madison. As a result, environmental studies major students graduate with both a deep understanding of their disciplinary major and broad interdisciplinary skills.

Requirements

Declare and Complete an Additional Major

  • Students must have a primary major declared before reaching senior standing (86 credits). Otherwise, the environmental studies major may be canceled.
  • At a minimum students must show 15 credits that do not overlap between the environmental studies major and each of the students other major(s). Students outside of the College of Letters & Science may have to meet additional overlap requirements.
  • Spring 2020 and Spring 2021 grading policies apply

Foundation Courses (12-Credit Minimum)

  • Students are required to take one course from each of the following areas
  • Courses taken in the foundation section cannot also be used in the thematic area

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Environmental Humanities (Take One Course)

Environmental Social Science (Take One Course)

Physical Science (Take One Course)

Ecological Science (Take one course)

Environmental Theme Courses (15-Credit Minimum)

  • Students are required to take five courses (15 credits) from the thematic areas listed below
  • Courses may be concentrated in one area or taken from multiple areas
  • Courses taken in the thematic areas cannot also be used in the foundation section

Note: Nelson Institute topic numbers (ENVIR ST 400,401,402,404) all count in the theme portion of the curriculum. Due to the changing nature and title of topic courses, they are not listed individually under the section headings.

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Biodiversity

Climate

Energy

Food and Agriculture

Health

History, Culture, Society

Land Use

Policy

Spatial Analysis

Water

Field Experience

The field experience in the environmental studies major can be met in one the following ways:

  • A designated field course from the courses listed above, indicated by an asterisk (*)
  • Participation in an environmental study abroad where 50 percent or more of the contact hours are in an out-of-doors situation (see forms page)
  • Participation in an environmental internship where 50 percent or more of the contact hours are in an out-of-doors situation (see forms page)

Capstone Experience

  • ENVIR ST / SOIL SCI 575, Assessment of Environmental Impact
  • ENVIR ST 600, Environmental Studies Major Capstone
  • A A E / ENVIR ST / F&W ECOL 652, Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers
  • In some cases a senior research project, for a minimum of 3 credits, that meets the specific criteria of an environmental studies capstone course may be substituted for this requirement. If you and a faculty member believe you have a suitable project please contact undergrad@nelson.wisc.edu for more information.

Pass/Fail Courses

Courses in the environmental studies major can not be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Double Counting / Course Overlap

With the exception of the field experience, courses listed under more than one category in the curriculum may be used to satisfy only one category. For example, a student who selects ENVIR ST / SOIL SCI 575 as the capstone course cannot also use it to satisfy the thematic area requirement.

School/College Requirements

The Environmental Studies major is always paired with another major. Please refer to the School/College degree requirements of the other major to learn about degree requirements or consult an advisor.

geBLC Information

View information on the symbols in the geBLC column of the course listings