Major Requirements

Environmental Science

Goals—Study within the major can be structured to meet any of the following objectives:

  • Preparation for further graduate study within the sciences

  • Development of a rigorous science background from which to pursue graduate-level training in a professional program such as law, planning, medicine, business, public policy, or environmental engineering

  • A thorough grounding in environmental science as the principal component of a liberal arts education

Environmental science major (bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees)—Fourteen courses and an integrating experience are required for the major. Only courses with a grade of C- or better may be counted toward the major.

  • Five foundational courses are required. It is recommended that students take these courses by the end of the sophomore year. Students are encouraged to take a full year of each science, including physics and a full year of mathematics. Students who plan on attending graduate school are especially encouraged to take one full year of calculus as well as additional classes in mathematics in consultation with their adviser. One foundational course requirement may be met by one of the gateway courses, as outlined below for the B.S. and B.A. options.
  • Three environmental science core courses. All three courses are required.
  • One integrating experience involving research or an internship. This half-credit requirement is designed to provide students with environmental problem-solving experience and can be met through library, field, or laboratory research or through an approved integrated internship or independent study. Students must have their plans for completing this requirement approved by their adviser and the program director before they begin their work. To fulfill the requirement, during the spring semester of their senior year, students submit the following to their environmental science faculty adviser: a journal of their activities and experiences, a letter from their supervisor (if work is completed outside the College), and a reflection paper. Students will also give a final, public presentation about their experience during the spring semester of their senior year as part of fulfilling this requirement. Normally, students must complete ENVS 275L before meeting this requirement.
    • ENVS 399. Independent Study
    • ENVS 405. Internship in Environmental Science
    • ENVS 419. Research in Environmental Science (Library)
    • ENVS 425. Research in Environmental Science (Laboratory)
    • ENVS 497. Honors Research
  • Two concentration courses as outlined in table below.
  • Two courses from the social sciences/humanities electives list. New courses may be offered as electives.
  • Two other elective courses from the natural sciences or social science/humanities electives lists as outlined below for the B.S. and B.A. degree options. New courses may be offered as electives.
Bachelor of science in
environmental science
Bachelor of arts in
environmental science
Foundational
requirement (5)
BIOL 182L
CHEM 111L
ENVS 112L
MATH 107 or 126 or 131a
PHYS 101 or 131 or one natural
science gateway courseb
BIOL 182L
CHEM 111L
ENVS 112L
MATH 107 or 126 or 131
PHYS 101 or 131 or one natural
science gatewayb or social sciencec course
Core
requirement (4)
ENVS 149L
ENVS 275L
ENVS 401
Integrating experience
ENVS 149L
ENVS 275L
ENVS 401
Integrating experience
Concentration
requirement (2)
Any two courses:
ENVS 204L
ENVS 230L
BIOL 333L
One course from the B.S.
concentration requirement list;
one course from the social
science/humanities course liste
Social sciences
requirement(2)
Two courses from the social
science/humanities course liste
Two courses from the social
science/humanities course liste
Other
electives (2)
A minimum of two credits from the
natural science electives course listd
A minimum of two credits in any
combination from the natural science or
social science/humanities course listsd,e
Total number
of courses
15 15

a Or any course in mathematics with a prerequisite of MATH 131.

b Natural science gateway courses:

  • ENVS 110. The Earth's Climate
  • BIOL 131. Urban Wildlife Ecology
  • BIOL 141. Global Perspectives in Biodiversity and Conservation
  • CHEM 141. Chemistry in Context
  • ENGR 108. Science and Policies: Energy and Sustainability

c Students pursuing a bachelor of arts in environmental science can also fulfill one foundation course requirement through one of the following social sciences gateway courses:

  • PBPL 113. Introduction to Law
  • URST 101. Introduction to Urban Studies

d Natural sciences electives (list may change as new courses become available):

  • BIOL 204. Plant Diversity
  • BIOL 215L. Botany
  • BIOL 222L. Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIOL 228L. Microbiology
  • BIOL 233. Conservation Biology
  • BIOL 336L. Marine and Freshwater Botany
  • BIOL 430. Avian Ecology and Conservation
  • BIOL 463L. Ecological Concepts and Methods
  • CHEM 205. Atmospheric Chemistry
  • CHEM 311L. Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 211L. Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 312L. Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis
  • CHEM 430. Environmental Toxicology
  • CPSC 215L. Data Structures and Algorithms
  • ENGR 232L. Engineering Materials
  • ENGR 337. Thermodynamics
  • ENVS 286. Theory and Application of Geographic Information Systems*
  • ENVS 205. Soil Science
  • ENVS 350. Field Trip (1/2 credit only)
  • MATH 207. Statistical Data Analysis (see catalogue for description)
  • MATH 252. Introduction to Mathematical Modeling I
  • MATH 254. Introduction to Mathematical Modeling II
  • PHYS 231L. Electricity, Magnetism and Waves

e Social science/humanities electives (list may change as new courses become available):

  • ANTH 227. Introduction to Political Ecology
  • ANTH 253. Urban Anthropology
  • ANTH 258. Environmental and Cultural Sustainability in Asia
  • ECON 209. Urban Economics
  • ECON 247. Introduction to Policy Analysis
  • ECON 301. Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 311. Environmental Economics
  • HIST 208. North American Environmental History
  • HIST 308. Food and Power in the Americas
  • HIST 326. Disaster Archipelago: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and the Japanese
  • INTS 234. Political Geography
  • INTS 238. Contemporary Africa: Resource Wars and Human Rights
  • INTS 312. Global Political Ecology
  • PPBL 220. Research and Evaluation
  • PBPL 302. Law and Environmental Policy
  • PBPL 303. Real World Policy Implementation
  • PHIL 227. Environmental Philosophy
  • SOCL 227. From Hartford to World Cities
  • URST 210. Sustainable Development

The Writing Intensive Part II requirement is fulfilled by ENVS 275L. Methods in Environmental Science and ENVS 401. Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science.

Advanced placement—Students who have received an Advanced Placement exam score of 4 or 5 in environmental science will be excused from ENVS 149L and receive one credit towards the major. However, it is highly recommended that students take ENVS 149L as the course covers many specific local environmental issues.

Teaching assistantship—Students may be asked by ENVS instructors to be a teaching assistant for various courses. Students who accept this offer must register for ENVS 466. College credit, but not major credit, is given for teaching assistants and grading is on a pass/low pass/fail basis.

Courses at other institutions—Students who wish major credit for coursework at other institutions should: (1) receive approval from the registrar for college credit, and (2) submit to the director of the Environmental Science Program the name of the institution, the number, title, and catalogue description of the course and, if possible, the syllabus. This information must be submitted in writing before the work is initiated and formal permission must be obtained before the course can be credited toward the major at Trinity. Some students may also wish to participate in semester programs that focus on serious study of environmental science. Among the suitable programs in which Trinity students pursuing an Environmental Science major participate regularly are:

  • School for Field Studies

  • Marine Biological Laboratory Semester in Environmental Science, Woods Hole

  • Duke University Marine Laboratory

  • Sea Education Association, Woods Hole

  • EcoQuest, New Zealand

  • Danish Institute for Study Abroad

  • Curtin University

Upon approval by the environmental science program director, up to three courses (plus a .5 credit research experience) taken away from Trinity may be counted toward the environmental science major. Under special circumstances, students may petition the program for permission to transfer additional courses; transfer students wishing to transfer more than three courses should petition at the time of admission.

Honors—Students seeking admission to the honors program in environmental science must submit a written application to the director before the sixth week of classes of their sixth semester. The Environmental Science Coordinating Committee will act on each application. Students seeking honors must have completed a minimum of five courses for the major by their fifth semester and their grade point average in these courses must be at least a B+ (3.3). Students not qualifying for the honors program after five semesters may be invited by the faculty to enter the program at a later time.

After acceptance into the honors program, students must maintain a GPA of B+ in their environmental science courses. In addition, they must perform research in environmental science (ENVS 419 or 425) for two semesters. The honors program culminates in an honors thesis (ENVS 497) and a public presentation. Upon completion of these requirements, the Environmental Science Coordinating Committee will vote to award honors to those candidates it deems qualified. Under exceptional circumstances, the coordinating committee may consider for honors research students who are not enrolled in the honors program but who produce particularly distinguished work.

Field studies in environmental science—Each year, environmental science faculty members conduct a 10- to 12-day field trip to a particular region of the U.S. or abroad. This trip introduces Trinity students to field methods in the environmental sciences. Students study the geology, ecology, and history of human impact on the region visited, which varies from year to year. Students also gain experience in basic field sampling techniques, observational skills, field note-taking, and methods for data analysis and interpretation. The trip occurs in either spring or late summer, depending on the destination; registration for ENVS 350 thus occurs in spring or fall semester, respectively.