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


The environmental science program’s learning goals can be found HERE.


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.

Foundational courses: 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. The physics course requirement may be met by one of the gateway courses, as outlined below for the B.S. and B.A. options.

Core courses: Three environmental science core courses. All three courses are required.

Integrating experience: 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 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, 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. Students must satisfy this requirement during their junior or senior year.

  • 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
requirement (5)
MATH 107, 207, or 131a
PHYS 101L or 141L or one natural
science gateway courseb
MATH 107, 207, or 131a
PHYS 101 or 141L or one natural
science gatewayb or social sciencec course
requirement (4)
ENVS 401
Integrating experience
ENVS 401
Integrating experience
requirement (2)
Any two courses:
One course from the B.S.
concentration requirement list;
one course from the social
science/humanities course liste
Social sciences
Two courses from the social
science/humanities course liste
Two courses from the social
science/humanities course liste
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
  • ENVS 115. Natural Disasters
  • ENVS 141. Global Perspectives in Biodiversity and Conservation

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 123. Fundamentals of American Law
  • URST 101. Introduction to Urban Studies

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

  • BIOL 215L. Botany
  • BIOL 222L. Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIOL 233. Conservation Biology
  • BIOL 234. Global Change, Evolution, and Biodiversity
  • BIOL 302. Amphibian Ecology and Conservation
  • BIOL 304. Wildlife Biology and Management
  • CHEM 211L. Elementary Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 311L. Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 312L. Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis
  • CPSC 215L. Data Structures and Algorithms
  • ENGR 232L. Engineering Materials
  • ENGR 337. Thermodynamics
  • ENVS 286. Theory and Application of Geographic Information Systems*
  • ENVS 305. Soil Science
  • ENVS 310. Environmental Geophysics
  • ENVS 350. Field Study in Environmental Science (1/2 credit only)
  • MATH 252. Introduction to Mathematical Modeling I
  • PHYS 231L. Physics II: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves

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

  • ANTH 209. Are We in the Anthropocene?
  • ANTH 227. Introduction to Political Ecology
  • ANTH 253. Urban Anthropology
  • ECON 209 or 305. Urban Economics
  • ECON 217 or 307. Health Economics
  • ECON 225. Economics of Climate Change
  • ECON 301. Microeconomic Theory
  • ENGL 331. Literature of Native New England
  • ECON 336. The Market for Green Goods
  • ENGL 338. Beyond Nature Worship: New Theories of Environmentalism
  • ENGL 360. Walden
  • ENGL 448. Plants in Literature and Film
  • ENVS 203. Religion and Climate Change
  • HIST 219. Planet Earth
  • HIST 311. Sense of Place in the Native Northeast
  • HIST 326. Disaster Archipelago: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and the Japanese
  • HIST 335. Chinese Environmental History
  • HIST 367. Climate and History
  • HIST 395. History of the Alps
  • INTS/POLS 263. Global Environmental Politics
  • INTS 340. Climate and History
  • PBPL 220. Research and Evaluation
  • PBPL 302. Law and Environmental Policy
  • POLS 314. Comparative Urban Development
  • POLS 324. Environmental Issues in International Relations
  • PSYC 206. Environmental Psychology and Sustainability
  • PSYC 212. Landscape Planning and Environmental Education for Brain Health
  • SOCL 225. Climate Justice
  • RHET 226. Writing about Places
  • SOCL 227. From Hartford to World Cities
  • TNTB 216. Ridge-to-Reef: Conservation Policy and Practice in Northeast Tobago
  • URST 210. Sustainable Urban Development

The Writing Intensive Part II requirement is fulfilled by ENVS 375L. Methods in Environmental Science and ENVS 401. Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science.


Advanced placement: Students who have received an AP exam score of 4 or 5 in environmental science will be excused from ENVS 149L and receive one credit toward 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 catalog 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.