Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Earth Science

Program Learning Outcomes for the BA Degree with a Major in Environmental Science

Upon completing the BA degree with a major in Environmental Science, students will be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate foundational knowledge in the natural sciences that is fundamental to the Environmental Sciences. This understanding should be adequate to support the incorporation of environmental science knowledge into the study and practice of a field other than environmental science. 
  2. Integrate knowledge of natural and applied sciences to understand complex natural systems and cycles. 
  3. Synthesize knowledge from natural sciences and engineering and understand how it applies to the study of the environment. 
  4. Understand environmental issues from a scientific perspective and be able to solve issues using a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., social sciences, economics, humanities, and/or architecture). 

Requirements for the BA Degree with a Major in Environmental Science

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Environmental Science must complete: 

  • A minimum of 22-24 courses (a minimum of 62-64 credit hours) depending on course selection to satisfy major requirements.  
  • A minimum of 122-124 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours outside of major requirements.
  • A minimum of 4-6 courses (a minimum of 12-18 credit hours, depending on declared major concentration) taken at the 300-level or above. 
  • The requirements of a major concentration. When students declare the major in Environmental Science, students must additionally identify and declare one of two major concentrations, either in:

Because of the common core requirements, it is possible for students to change their major concentration at any time, even after initially declaring the major. To do so, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary major that addresses environmental issues in the context of what we know about earth, ecology, and society. In addition to its science core, the major also seeks to provide students with some appreciation of social, cultural, and policy dimensions of environmental issues.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Environmental Science 62-64
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in Environmental Science 122-124

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Foundation Coursework
BIOC 201INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY3
EBIO 202INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY II3
CHEM 121
CHEM 123
GENERAL CHEMISTRY I
and GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY I 1
4
CHEM 122
CHEM 124
GENERAL CHEMISTRY II
and GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY II 1
4
MATH 101SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS I3
or MATH 111 CALCULUS: DIFFERENTIATION AND ITS APPLICATIONS
MATH 102SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS II3
or MATH 112 CALCULUS: INTEGRATION AND ITS APPLICATIONS
STAT 280ELEMENTARY APPLIED STATISTICS4
or STAT 305 INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS FOR BIOSCIENCES
Core Courses 2
ENST 100 / ARCH 105ENVIRONMENT, CULTURE AND SOCIETY3
ESCI 115INTRODUCTION TO THE EARTH4
Select 1 from the following:3
OCEANS AND GLOBAL CHANGE
OCEANOGRAPHY
THE SCIENCE BEHIND EARTH GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
EBIO 213INTRO EXPERIMENTAL ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY2
EBIO 325ECOLOGY3
ENST 4XXSEMINAR: Topics in Environmental Science3
Field Experience
Select 1-2 courses from the following:2-3
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH FOR ECOLOGY & EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY UNDERGRADUATES
LAB MODULE IN ECOLOGY
LAB MODULE IN BEHAVIOR
TROPICAL FIELD BIOLOGY
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF BRAZILIAN WETLANDS LABORATORY
CONSERVATION BIOLOGY LAB
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
INSECT BIOLOGY LAB
FIELD BIRD BIOLOGY LAB
LAB MODULE IN AQUATIC ECOLOGY WITH SCUBA
FIELD TRIPS FOR THE EARTH
GEOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
VISUALIZING NATURE
GEOLOGY FIELD CAMP
EARTH SCIENCE FIELD EXPERIENCE
EXPLORING THE SCIENCE AND HISTORY OF HOUSTON'S BAYOUS
Major Concentration
Select 1 from the following Major Concentrations (see below for Major Concentration requirements):9
Earth Science
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Advanced Electives 3
Social Sciences
Select 1 from the following:3
ANTHROPOLOGIES OF NATURE
MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: RICE INTO THE FUTURE
THE SOCIAL LIFE OF CLEAN ENERGY
ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY
ENERGY ECONOMICS
ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY ECONOMICS
ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS AND POLICY
URBAN POLITICS
COMPARATIVE URBAN POLITICS AND POLICY
DEMOGRAPHY
SOCIOLOGY OF FOOD
Humanities and Architecture
Select 1 from the following:3
CONSUMPTION AND CONSUMERISM
LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF THE US-MEXICO BORDERLANDS
CULTURE, ENERGY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO ENERGY HUMANITIES
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
CASE STUDIES IN SUSTAINABILITY: THE REGENERATIVE REPOSITIONING OF NEW OR EXISING RICE CAMPUS BU
LITERATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
TOPICS IN LITERATURE AND ECOLOGY
NATURAL DISASTERS IN THE CARIBBEAN
20TH CENTURY AMERICAN CONSERVATION MOVEMENT
Natural Sciences and Engineering 2
Select 1 from the following:3-4
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
INTRODUCTION TO AIR POLLUTION CONTROL
PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
CHEMISTRY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE LAB
ATMOSPHERIC PARTICULATE MATTER
ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES
HYDROLOGY AND WATER RESOURCES ENGINEERING
ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION RESTORATION
FATE AND TRANSPORT OF CONTAMINANTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL RISK ASSESSMENT & HUMAN HEALTH
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I
and ORGANIC CHEMISTRY DISCUSSION
ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
MECHANICS (WITH LAB)
and MECHANICS DISCUSSION
ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (WITH LAB)
and ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM DISCUSSION
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Environmental Science 62-64
University Graduation Requirements *60
Total Credit Hours122-124

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Major Concentration: Earth Science

Students must complete a total of 3 courses (minimum of 9 credit hours) as listed below to satisfy the requirements for the major concentration in Earth Science. 

Core Requirements
Select 2 from the following:6-7
EARTH SYSTEM EVOLUTION AND CYCLES
EARTH STRUCTURE AND DEFORMATION
GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES
Elective Requirements
Select at least 1 from the following: 13-4
EARTH SYSTEM EVOLUTION AND CYCLES
EARTH CHEMISTRY AND MATERIALS
EARTH STRUCTURE AND DEFORMATION
GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES
VISUALIZING NATURE
QUANTITATIVE HYDROGEOLOGY
PALEOCEANOGRAPHY
ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY
TRACE-ELEMENT AND ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY FOR EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
GEOMORPHOLOGY
MECHANICS OF SEDIMENT TRANSPORT
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
GEOMECHANICS
Total Credit Hours9-11
Footnotes and Additional Information 

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Earth Science

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: http://oaa.rice.edu. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Program Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the major in Environmental Science should be aware of the following program transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis. 

For additional information, please see the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences website, and specifically the Environmental Science major page, at: http://earthscience.rice.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/

Opportunities for the BA Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Earth Science

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Independent Research

Students are encouraged to undertake independent research on environmentally related topics as part of their degree programs, in cooperation with one or more faculty.  Course options for independent research, repeatable for credit, include: EBIO 403, EBIO 404, and ESCI 481.

Students also can enroll in senior honors thesis programs within their major concentrations, or by arrangement with other departments, and/or through the Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program.  Students completing a thesis will also be eligible for the Distinction in Research and Creative Work, a university honor. Details for each program can be found here: 

For additional information, please see the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences website, and specifically the Environmental Science major page, at: http://earthscience.rice.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/