Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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

Upon completing the BS 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 or application of the environmental sciences to other fields.
  2. Integrate knowledge of natural and applied sciences to understand complex natural systems and cycles. 
  3. Synthesize knowledge from natural sciences and engineering and apply it 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). 
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and skills suitable for doing research and/or field studies in environmental science. 

Requirements for the BS Degree with a Major in Environmental Science

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

  • A minimum of 26-29 courses (77-82 credit hours), depending on course selection, to satisfy major requirements.  
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.  
  • A minimum of 5-7 courses (15-24 credit hours), depending on declared major concentration, taken at the 300-level or above. 
  • An advanced field or research experience requirement. 
  • A capstone senior seminar requirement.
  • 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 where applicable, the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. (Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the major's 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 77-82
Total Credit Hours Required for the BS Degree with a Major in Environmental Science 120

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Foundation Coursework
BIOS 201INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I3
BIOS 202INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY II3
BIOS 332ECOLOGY3
CHEM 121GENERAL CHEMISTRY I 13
or CHEM 111 AP/OTH CREDIT IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY I
CHEM 123GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY I 11
or CHEM 113 AP/OTH CREDIT IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB I
CHEM 122GENERAL CHEMISTRY II 13
or CHEM 112 AP/OTH CREDIT IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY II
CHEM 124GENERAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY II 11
or CHEM 114 AP/OTH CREDIT IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB II
MATH 101SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS I3
or MATH 105 AP/OTH CREDIT IN CALCULUS I
MATH 102SINGLE VARIABLE CALCULUS II3
or MATH 106 AP/OTH CREDIT IN CALCULUS II
STAT 280ELEMENTARY APPLIED STATISTICS4
or STAT 305 INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS FOR BIOSCIENCES
Select 1 course from the following:4
MECHANICS (WITH LAB)
and MECHANICS DISCUSSION
HONORS MECHANICS (WITH LAB)
GENERAL PHYSICS (WITH LAB)
Select 1 course from the following:4
ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (WITH LAB)
and ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM DISCUSSION
HONORS ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM (WITH LAB)
GENERAL PHYSICS II (WITH LAB)
Core Courses 2
BIOS 213INTRODUCTORY LAB IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION2
ENST 100 / ARCH 105ENVIRONMENT, CULTURE AND SOCIETY3
Any course from Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences (ESCI) courses offerings at the 100-level (any course offerings between course numbers ESCI 100 and ESCI 199)3
ESCI 321EARTH AND PLANETARY SURFACE ENVIRONMENTS4
ESCI 325OCEANS, ATMOSPHERES AND CLIMATE4
Field Experience
Select 1-2 courses from the following:2-3
LAB MODULE IN ECOLOGY
LAB MODULE IN BEHAVIOR
TROPICAL FIELD BIOLOGY
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF BRAZILIAN WETLANDS LABORATORY
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
INSECT BIOLOGY LAB
FIELD BIRD BIOLOGY LAB
FIELD TRIPS FOR THE EARTH
THE EARTH LABORATORY
VISUALIZING NATURE
EXPLORING THE SCIENCE AND HISTORY OF HOUSTON'S BAYOUS
Major Concentration
Select 1 from the following Major Concentrations (see below for Major Concentration requirements):9-12
Earth Science
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Advanced Electives 3
Social Sciences
Select 1 course from the following:3
ANTHROPOLOGIES OF NATURE
MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: RICE INTO THE FUTURE
THE SOCIAL LIFE OF CLEAN ENERGY
ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY
ENERGY ECONOMICS
ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY ECONOMICS
URBAN POLITICS
COMPARATIVE URBAN POLITICS AND POLICY
DEMOGRAPHY
SOCIOLOGY OF DISASTER
SOCIOLOGY OF FOOD
Humanities and Architecture
Select 1 course from the folowing:3
SCIENCE FICTION AND THE ENVIRONMENT
NONFICTION NATURE WRITING
CONSUMPTION AND CONSUMERISM
STUDIES IN LITERATURE AND ECOLOGY
CULTURE, ENERGY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO ENERGY HUMANITIES
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
CASE STUDIES IN SUSTAINABILITY: THE REGENERATIVE REPOSITIONING OF NEW OR EXISTING RICE CAMPUS BLDGS
LITERATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
SEMINAR IN URBAN SUSTAINABILITY AND LIVABILITY RESEARCH METHODS AND APPLICATIONS
LAB IN ENGAGED URBAN SUSTAINABILITY AND LIVABILITY RESEARCH
FROM THE SUBLIME TO THE SUSTAINABLE: ART, ARCHITECTURE AND NATURE
US ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY
LITERATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN LATIN AMERICA
Natural Sciences and Engineering 4
Select 1 course from the following:3-4
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND REPORTING
SUSTAINABILITY IMPACT ASSESSMENTS
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
INTRODUCTION TO AIR POLLUTION CONTROL
PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
SUSTAINABLE WATER PURIFICATION FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD
CHEMISTRY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE
ATMOSPHERIC PARTICULATE MATTER
ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND CLIMATE
HYDROLOGY AND WATER RESOURCES ENGINEERING
ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION RESTORATION
FATE AND TRANSPORT OF CONTAMINANTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL RISK ASSESSMENT & HUMAN HEALTH
INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I
and ORGANIC CHEMISTRY DISCUSSION
UNDERSTANDING ENERGY: ENERGY LITERACY AND CIVICS
ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Advanced Field or Research Experience Requirement
Independent Research (see the Opportunities tab for additional information). 5
Select 1 course from the following:3
UNDERGRADUATE HONORS RESEARCH
GEOLOGY FIELD CAMP
EARTH SCIENCE FIELD EXPERIENCE
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN EARTH SCIENCE
Capstone Senior Seminar Requirement
ESCI 495SEMINAR: TOPICS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE3
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Environmental Science 77-82
Additional Credit Hours to Complete Degree Requirements *7-12
University Graduation Requirements *31
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Major Concentration: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Students must complete a total of 3 courses (9 credit hours) as listed below to satisfy the requirements for the major concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 

Core Requirements
Select 2 courses from the following:6
CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS
CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
Elective Requirement
Select at least 1 course from the following: 13
ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
INSECT BIOLOGY
EVOLUTION
PLANT DIVERSITY
ANALYSIS AND VISUALIZATION OF BIOLOGICAL DATA
CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS
CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
BIOLOGY OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES
Total Credit Hours9
Footnotes and Additional Information 

Policies for the BS Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Program Restrictions and Exclusions

Students pursuing the BS Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology should be aware of the following program restriction:

  • Students pursuing the major in Environmental Science may pursue only one major concentration within the major.

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: https://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. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the following websites:

Opportunities for the BS Degree with a Major in Environmental Science and a Major Concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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: BIOS 401, BIOS 402, 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: 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the following websites: