Environmental Science Major Requirements (B.S)

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.)

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary major that introduces students to the ways in which human activities impact Earth systems and vice versa. It equips students to use a variety of tools, such as science, policy, communication, and individual and societal behavior change, to solve environmental and sustainability problems, with an emphasis on the perspectives and tools of the natural sciences. Environmental Science majors must complete a set of core courses common to both ENVS majors, including a research-focused senior capstone course and an applied experience involving an internship, plus several additional natural science core courses and a suite of electives in the student's area of interest.

The ENVS senior capstone experience involves both the completion of a research project or comparable scholarly endeavor under the supervision of a JHU faculty member and participation in a 1-credit senior seminar that explores career development and current events to support seniors as they transition to post-graduate life and work. A 1-credit research design course taken in the junior year guides students in the development of their senior research project proposal. All ENVS majors must enroll in the capstone and senior seminar courses in the fall semester of their senior year.

The applied experience can be completed during any semester including summers and involves at least 80 hours of supervised, hands-on experience working with an organization on environmental or sustainability issues through an internship or similar work or volunteer experience. Synthesizing assignments reflecting on the experience are also required. The goal of the applied experience requirement is to ensure that students have practical experience in a workplace or community setting that will help prepare them for the next step in their education and career.

The Environmental Science major requires a total of 75 or more credits to complete. All courses must be taken for a letter grade, and students must earn a grade of C- or better to apply the course to the major. All ENVS majors are encouraged to consider studying abroad at some point during their undergraduate years to develop a more global, culturally sensitive perspective on environmental and sustainability issues. Students are not permitted to double-major in both Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. Consult the ENVS program's website for additional information: http://krieger.jhu.edu/envs/requirements/major/


Common ENVS Core
AS.270.103Introduction to Global Environmental Change3
AS.271.107Introduction to Sustainability3
AS.270.202Introduction to Ecology3
AS.270.205Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial Analysis3
AS.270.336Freshwater Systems3
AS.271.399Research Design1
AS.271.401Environmental Ethics3
AS.271.403Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis3
AS.271.496Senior Capstone Experience3
AS.271.499Senior Seminar1
AS.271.509Applied Experience1
AS.030.101Introductory Chemistry I3
AS.110.106Calculus I (Biology and Social Sciences)4
or AS.110.108 Calculus I (Physical Sciences & Engineering)
AS.180.102Elements of Microeconomics3
AS.190.102Introduction To Comparative Politics3
or AS.190.111 Introduction to Global Studies
or AS.190.108 Contemporary International Politics
or AS.190.226 Global Governance
AS.230.205Introduction to Social Statistics4
or AS.280.345 Public Health Biostatistics
or EN.553.111 Statistical Analysis I
or EN.553.211 Probability and Statistics for the Life Sciences
or EN.553.310 Probability & Statistics for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
or EN.553.311 Probability and Statistics for the Biological Sciences and Engineering
Natural Sciences Core
AS.110.107Calculus II (For Biological and Social Science)4
or AS.110.109 Calculus II (For Physical Sciences and Engineering)
AS.030.102Introductory Chemistry II3
or AS.030.103 Applied Chemical Equilibrium and Reactivity w/lab
Select two of the following science courses:6-8
General Biology I
General Biology II
General Physics: Physical Science Major I
General Physics I for Biological Science Majors
Classical Mechanics I
General Physics for Physical Sciences Majors (AL)
General Physics: Physical Science Major II
General Physics/Biology Majors II
Electricity and Magnetism I
General Physics for Physical Science Majors (AL)
Lab Experiences
3 approved science lab courses are required. Lab courses waived due to Advanced Placement Exam credit cannot count toward this requirement. Approved labs include but are not limited to:3-6
General Biology Laboratory I
General Biology Lab II
Introductory Chemistry Laboratory I
Introductory Chemistry Laboratory II
General Physics Laboratory I
General Physics Laboratory II
Classical Mechanics Laboratory
Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory
The Dynamic Earth Laboratory
Freshwater Systems Lab
Field Methods in Ecology (If used to satisfy the lab requirement, this course cannot count as an elective.)
Choose 15 credits of approved courses related to the student's area of interest, at least 12 credits of which are at the 300-level or above.15
Total Credits75-80


Each student should work with their advisor to choose a coherent suite of elective courses totaling at least 15 credits, 12 of which are at the 300-level or above. These courses should be relevant to the student's individual interests and career plans and may center around one or more environmental/sustainability issues or environmental science disciplines, such as earth science or ecology. Appropriate elective courses are those that concentrate directly on environmental or sustainability issues. The ENVS Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) distributes a list of pre-approved elective courses each semester, and approval for other courses can be sought by emailing the major advisor and DUS.

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
 13 10
Second Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
 11 10
Third Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Elective course3AS.271.5091
Elective course3Elective course3
 10 8
Fourth Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
AS.271.4991Elective course3
Elective course3 
 7 6
Total Credits 75

Honors in the Environmental Science Major

To qualify for honors in the major, a student must:

  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in the courses taken to fulfill the major requirements.
  • Successfully complete 3 credits of senior thesis, AS.271.511 Senior Thesis, beyond the senior capstone experience involving an environmental or sustainability-related research project or other comparable scholarly endeavor.
  • Earn a rating of good or excellent on the final product of the thesis, as determined by the faculty research advisor.
  • Present the results of the thesis orally in an appropriate JHU department.

B.A./M.S. Option

Undergraduates majoring in Environmental Science may apply for accelerated status toward an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Policy (ESP) or an M.S. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) through the JHU Krieger School of Arts & Sciences' Advanced Academic Programs. Interested students should speak with their advisor and the Director of the ESP and GIS Programs, Jerry Burgess (jerry.burgess@jhu.edu), in their senior year. Students may apply up to three courses taken as undergraduates toward the M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy and up to two courses toward the M.S. in GIS, thereby leaving only seven to eight more courses to complete the M.S. following receipt of their bachelor's degree. Students will receive two separate degrees, so the requirements of both degrees must be fulfilled. Students cannot earn the M.S. degree without completion of the B.A. or B.S., however, students who do not complete the M.S. retain their B.A. or B.S.