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Environment Major

The Environment major allows students the flexibility to explore and choose a path that interests them, while providing a strong foundation in the natural and social sciences as well as humanities.  Please see the current requirements for the Environment major below.  To learn more about the major or to declare this major, please click here.


The Environment major has four prerequisite courses. These courses provide necessary background to the upper level requirements in the core of the major. Students DO NOT have to take all four prerequisite courses in order to declare an Environment major. Students may use AP Credit toward several of the prerequisite courses as noted below.

1. Introductory Interdisciplinary Course (one of the following)

  • Environ/Bio 101: Energy, Food, and the Environment (NS)(BS)

  • Environ 110: Global Change I (NS)(BS)

  • Environ 111: Global Change II (ID)(BS)

  • Environ 201: Ecological Issues (NS)(BS) 

  • Environ 270: Our Common Future (ID)

  • Earth 219: Intro to Earth & Environmental Science (NS)(BS) - AP Accepted

  • Earth 202: Introductory Environmental Science in the Rockies (NS)(BS)

2. Introductory Biology Course (choose one of the following)

  • Bio 171: Introduction to Biology - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

  • Bio 195 - AP credit accepted

3. Introductory Geological Sciences (choose one of the following)

  • Earth 118 AND 119: Intro Geology lecture and lab (NS)(BS)

  • Earth 116: Intro Geology at Camp Davis (NS)(BS)

  • Environ/Earth 120: Geology of the National Parks (NS)(BS)

  • Earth 202: Introductory Environmental Science in the Rockies at Camp Davis (NS)(BS)

4. Environmental Social Sciences (choose one of the following)

  • Econ 101: Principles of Economics I (SS)(QR/2) - ECON 101X AP credit accepted

  • Environ/Orgstudy 208: Business and the Natural Environment (SS)

  • Environ/RCSSCI 211: Social Sciences and Environmental Problems (SS)

  • Environ 235: Environmental and Resources Economics (SS)

  • Environ 290: Food: The Ecology, Economics and Ethics of Growing and Eating (ID)

Core Requirements

Program in the Environment’s core requirements expand students' knowledge of environmental problems and solutions by exposing them to a wide range of natural, social science, and humanistic disciplines. Core courses must be taken for a letter grade, and cannot be graded on a pass/fail basis.  

Students select ONE course from each of these six areas (except where noted), at the 200 level or above:

1. General Ecology

  • EEB/Environ 281 and Environ/EEB 372

  • Biology 282 and EEB 373(In spring or summer at the UM Biological Station)

  • Environ/Earth 450
    (In spring or summer at UM Camp Davis)

2. Analytics

  • Stats 250

  • Stats 280

  • Soc 210

  • IOE 265

3. Culture and Environment

Choose one course from this list of pre-approved courses

4. Natural and Earth Systems Science

Any one 200-level or above Natural Science course or concentration advisor approved. Environ 201 does not meet this requirement.

5. Environmental Social Science (2)

Choose TWO courses from this list of approved courses, one must be at the 300-level or above.

6. Senior Capstone Course

This is advanced level interdisciplinary course.  Capstone courses are approved by term. Please see the course offerings by term to see which courses meet this capstone requirements. 


What is a Specialization?

A specialization is a collection of three courses, 300 level or above, that majors choose based on their particular interests. These courses, chosen in consultation with a PitE advisor, allow students to go from an interdisciplinary perspective to a more focused examination of a topic with an environmental focus.  Our most popular specializations are Conservation of Biological Diversity, Urban Planning, Environmental Politics and Policy, Natural Resource Management, Public Health, and Environmental Education

Here are several examples of approved specializations. These are merely illustrations and are not a comprehensive of possibilities. The range of Specialization options is as diverse as our students' interests.

Specialization courses are in addition to the core, they can not overlap.

Practical Experience

What is a Practical Experience?

The practical experience requirement is, at minimum, a three credit engaged learning opportunity that students complete outside of the traditional classroom setting. Students participate in skills development and learning experiences which are facilitated through interactions with a range of individuals and groups. Every practical experience opportunity includes a research component that pushes students to engage with the larger arena of environmental issues through question formulation, data collection, analysis, and discussion. 

Students can fulfill this requirement one of three ways:

  1. Taking a class at a residential field station
  2. Participating in the internship program, or
  3. Completing a study abroad course or program

Practical experience requirements must be approved by an advisor BEFORE before starting. 

While practical experience is a requirement of the Environment major, the five minors in PitE have the option of completing this opportunity as well. Both PitE majors and minors may be eligible for limited funding to help defray the costs of the practical experience. 

Current PitE Course Guides

Previous Course Offerings by Term