Environmental Studies at UVM

Information for Prospective Students

Choose one of these links:
Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Sciences
Guidance for Transfer Students
or continue reading below for:

  • Guidance for Prospective and new ENVS Students
  • I am thinking about becoming an ENVS major. What should I do? With whom should I speak?
  • What UVM college or school should I go through as an ENVS major? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each one?
  • I am transferring in AP Environmental Science credits. Do I need to take ENVS 001?
  • I took ENSC 001 here at UVM (or elsewhere). Do I need to take ENVS 001?
  • In additon to ENVS 001 and 002, what courses should I be taking if I'm majoring in ENVS?
  • What are the other major/minor choices at UVM for students with environmental interests?
  • I am thinking about becoming an ENVS major. What should I do? With whom should I speak?

First, learn all you can from the Environmental Program web site, especially the “Academics” section and the information about ENVS in the UVM school or college you are in. Then call Sue Bean, (802)656-4055, at Bitttersweet House, our administrative building, and make an appointment with an advisor. Elizabeth (Ibit) Getchell is our Student Services Coordinator and does much of the prospective student advising, but you may talk with any of our faculty members.

What college or school should I go through as an ENVS major? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each one?

The Environmental Studies (ENVS) major can be pursued in four units on campus:
- the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- the College of Arts and Sciences
- the College of Education and Social Services.
- the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
You can choose which college/school best suits their educational interests and goals and then pursue the ENVS major from within that college. The core curriculum requirements for ENVS are the same for all units. The number of total credits for the ENVS major is either 30, 38 or 50. See below.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)
- CALS has the broadest array of college requirements.
- All CALS students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.
- CALS Core Competencies in knowledge, skills and values is fulfilled by carefully choosing courses that meet these over your undergraduate years of study.
- The ENVS concentration in CALS, as in RSENR, is 30 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, minimum, rather than the 18 credits in CAS.
- Total for the ENVS major is 50 credits.
- A minor is not required, but you may choose to pursue one.
- There is no limit to the number of courses you can take outside of CALS.

Click here for a CALS ENVS major plan form.

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
- All ENVS students in CAS earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
- The CAS distribution requirements emphasize a broad range of knowledge in traditional fields and include courses in the diversity, arts, foreign language, literature, humanities, social science, and natural science.
- The ENVS concentration in CAS is 18 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, rather than the 30 credits in CALS and RSENR.
- Total for the ENVS major is 38 credits.
- An approved 15-18 credit CAS or cross-college minor in an area separate from their major is required of all CAS students. This minor can come�(from CAS or from one of the other schools or colleges)
- The College of Arts and Sciences offers a broad liberal arts education spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts.

Click here for a CAS ENVS major plan form.

The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR)
- All RSENR students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.
- ENVS majors take eight required Natural Resources core courses alongside majors in Forestry, Wildlife, Recreation Management, Environmental Science, and Natural Resources. These courses total 23 credits and include the 3 of the 6 UVM diversity requirement credits.
- The ENVS concentration in RSENR, as in CALS, is 30 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, minimum, rather than the 18 credits in CAS.
- Total for the ENVS major is 50 credits.
- A minor is not required, but students may choose to pursue one.
- Required “three-course sequence”- 9 credits, minimum, of related courses from [a] discipline/s outside of RSENR.
- The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources offers a curriculum emphasizing the natural and social sciences as they apply to environmental problem-solving.

Click here for a RSENR ENVS major plan form.

The College of Education and Social Services (CESS)
- All CESS students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.
- The College of Education and Social Services offers a curriculum emphasizing the education philosophy and practical teaching methods as they apply to environmental education.
- The ENVS concentration in CESS, is 19 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, minimum, rather than the 18 credits in CAS, or 30 in CALS and RSENR.
- Total for the ENVS major is 30 credits. Must include ENVS 001, 002, and 294.
- Students choosing an ENVS concentration to accompany their CESS major must meet the college distribution requirements, which provide a broad general education background useful for teaching all age levels.
- The College of Education and Social Services prepares students for professional work in education, social work, and human services, with the aim of creating a more humane and just society that fosters respect for ethnic and cultural diversity, and maximizes quality of life.

Click here for a CESS ENVS major plan form.

Click here for more information on the differences in the ENVS major in CALS / CALS / RSENR / CESS.

I am transferring in AP Environmental Science credits. Do I need to take ENVS 001?
Environmental Science is usually a different course from Environmental Studies in a number of respects. ENVS 001 Introduction to Environmental Studies is a required course for all ENVS majors. ENVS 001 offers students a broad overview of environmental concepts and issues, with an emphasis on local, regional, and national concerns.�This course introduces you to most of the members of the Environental Program faculty and other guest lecturers and ensures that all of our majors receive a similar foundation at the start of the ENVS major. The course involves local field trips on- and off-campus. ENVS 001 provides students with foundational knowledge about environmental studies from an interdisciplinary-natural science, social science, and humanities-perspective, rather than the primarily natural science perspective of an Environmental Science (ENSC) course.�If you want to petition to substitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

I took ENSC 001 here at UVM (or elsewhere). Do I need to take ENVS 001?
Generally, yes, we would like you to if you can. Although both environmentally related, ENVS 001 offers a different perspective on environmental issues the primarily natural science perspective in ENSC 001. See answer above. If you want to petition to substiitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

In additon to ENVS 001 and 002, what courses should I be taking if I'm majoring in ENVS...
�and I’m a first year student?

For all ENVS majors, the first two years are a time to explore your interests, start taking your college/school distribution requirements, and take introductory courses that will serve as prerequisites for higher-level courses. The path you choose will vary depending on the college/school you are a part of. Some courses to consider taking sooner rather than later are language, math, and science. CAS has a foreign language requirement. If you took a language in high school, consider continuing your study of that language at UVM as soon as you can.
Ultimately, take courses to explore your interests. There is a lot of choice in the ENVS major and the more you know about where your interests lie, the easier it will be for you to select a concentration and higher level courses later in your ENVS career.

�and I’m a sophomore or junior?
As a sophomore or junior ENVS student you have a variety options when it comes to course work. Generally, this is a time to continue exploring your interests and begin honing in on your passions in the environmental field. You should continue working on your colege/school distribution requirements and consider taking prerequisites for upper level courses that you may want to take your senior year. If you're very interested in a particular topic, consider adding a minor and take this time to fulfill your minor requirements. The sophomore and junior years are also the time to seek advising for future coursework, study abroad opportunities, and internships. For more detailed information on sophomore and junior year coursework, please view the Sophomore and Junior Students FAQ section.

What are the other major/minor choices at UVM for students with environmental interests?
Although your academic interests lie in the environmental realm, you may have additional interests that have led you to look for a major or minor other than Environmental Studies. There are many directions that you can take to pursue your varied interests. They include: a double major; a non-ENVS major with an environmentally-related minor; an ENVS major with a complementary environmentally related minor; or an ENVS major with a minor that is not directly relevant to the major. The Environmental Program encourages you to take a minor that is very different from the major to allow you pursue other interests and explore the perspectives of other disciplines.

What are some good ideas for minors and 2nd majors for students with environmental interests?
Some of the following options are not necessarily environmentally-related disciplines, but have served our students well as minors or as a second majors alongside their Environmental Studies major.

Click here for a link to the full list of UVM majors, minors and graduate programs.

Anthropology (B.A., minor)
Biology (B.A., minor)
Community Entrepreneurship (B.S., minor)
Community and International Development (B.S., minor)
Ecological Agriculture (B.S., minor)
Economics (minor)
English (minor)
Envirnmental Engineering (B.S.)
Environmental Sciences (B.S., minor)
Food Systems (minor)
Geography (B.A., minor)
Geology (B.A., B.S., minor)
Geospatial Technologies (minor)
Global Studies (B.A., minor)
Green Building and Community Design (minor)
History (B.A., minor)
Natural Resources (B.S.)
Nutrition and Food Sciences (B.S., minor)
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (B.S., minor)
Plant Biology (B.S., B.A., minor)
Political Science (B.A., minor)
Psychology (B.A., B.S., minor)
Public Communication (B.S.)
Sociology (B.A., minor)
Soil Science (minor)
Sustainable Landscape Horticulture (B.S., minor)
Vermont Studies (minor)
Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (B.S., minor in Wildlife Biology)

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Transfer Students
I would like to transfer to UVM from another institution. With whom do I talk?
Your first step should be to contact the Office of Transfer Affairs to find out more about transferring credits between institution, and to learn about some of the University requirements: http://www.uvm.edu/~rgweb/?Page=transferringcredit/t_transfermain.html&S....

If Environmental Studies is where your interests lie, thoroughly review our website, escpecially this FAQ document and “Academics.” Then contact the UVM Environmental Program, (802) 656-4055, to schedule an appointment to speak with the Student Services Coordinator, Ibit Getchell, or one of our other faculty members in person or over the phone. In summer, contact Ibit directly, egetchel@uvm.edu, 802-656-0176.

I am transferring in AP Environmental Science credits. Do I need to take ENVS 001?
This course introduces you to most of the members of the Environental Program faculty and other guest lecturers and ensures that all of our majors receive a similar foundation at the start of the ENVS major. The course involves local field trips on- and off-campus. ENVS 001 provides students with foundational knowledge about environmental studies from an interdisciplinary-natural science, social science, and humanities-perspective, rather than the primarily natural science perspective of an Environmental Science (ENSC) course.  If you want to petition to substiitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

Can I still take ENVS 001 and 002 if I am a junior and changed majors late? How do I get in if the courses are restricted to first years and sophomores?
Yes, you can and should take ENVS 001 and 002 even if you have changed majors late. To enroll in the course you will likely need to obtain an override from the course instructor.

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Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Sciences
What's the difference between majoring in Environmental Studies (ENVS) and Environmental Science (ENSC)? What are the benefits of each?

Environmental Studies majors earn a B.A or a B.S., depending on in which UVM college or school they are enrolled. The major is interdisciplinary. All students take 3 core ENVS course (11 credits total), 3 100-200-level credits of each of the 4 environmentlaly-related breadth requirements: natural science, humanities, social science, and international studies; 2 (CAS) or 6 (CAS and RSENR) additional courses in their ENVS concentration; and a 9 credit senior capstone. (See above) ENVS majors must all complete the requirements for their UVM school or college. This major is best for students who want a broadly interdisciplinary environmental education and who want a great deal of choice in their course work. The ENVS major plan is developed in ENVS 151, taken either sophomore or early junior year. Students must be willing to study some natural science. Students need to be willing to work with advisors, make important decisions about their individual program, and keep track of requirements as their plan evolves. Students are highly encouraged to pursue high impact learning experiences.

Students may choose one of the following ENVS concentrations, or they may develop an individually-designed concentration with the help of advisors.

  •     Ecology and Conservation
  •     Food, Land and Community
  •     Environmental Policy and Development
  •     Nature, Culture and Justice
  •     Sustainability Studies
  •     Environment and Health

All Environmental Science majors earn a B.S. degree. Students take a common set of courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and geology or plant and soil science. A common set of environmental science core courses is followed by 14-16 credits of specialized courses in one of the chosen nine focus tracks. These include:

  •     Agriculture and the Environment: Impacts of agriculture on the environment and strategies for minimizing environmental degradation
  •     Conservation Biology and Biodiversity: Endangered species and ecosystems,and strategies for conserving the diversity of Earth's life forms
  •     Ecological Design: Use of ecological systems to improve environmental quality
  •     Environmental Analysis and Assessment: Techniques for measuring environmental impacts and managing environmental data
  •     Environmental Biology: Ecological and molecular analysis of endangered populations, phenomena affecting biological diversity, the interrelationship of organisms and their environments, and conservation genetics
  •     Environmental Chemistry: Analytical methods for measuring and monitoring air, ground, and water pollutants
  •     Environmental Geology: Earth science, geomorphology, and the analysis of ground water
  •     Environmental Resources: Environmental processes in air, soil, and water
  •     Water Resources: Global water supply and human impacts on surface waters

ENSC majors ought to be capable in and committed to the study of science and two semesters of calculus. Students must keep track of thier many requirements. Students are highly encouraged to pursue high impact learning experiences.

Students may major in Environmental Science through the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The distinctions between the major offered through these three schools is subtle, and a student can usually shift between the three with little difficulty. In an attempt to demystify the differences between the programs, consider these principles:

  • In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, all Rubenstein School students take 8 required courses (23 credits total)-the RSENR core curriculum-that incorporate a body of knowledge, skills, and values that the faculty believe is central to the study of natural resources and the environment. Courses integrate the natural and social sciences in an effort to approach full understanding and resolution of natural resource and environmental issues. In addition all RSENR students take speech, writing and a 9 credit self-design sequence of courses outside of RSENR.

Learn more about the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

  • The College of Arts and Sciences provides a degree with a traditional liberal arts orientation, so the major in environmental sciences is pursued within the context of a liberal arts education. In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, A student must complete the Distribution Requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree by: completing FIVE of the following SIX categories: (i) fine arts and literature (2 courses-one course in each area), (ii) foreign language (2 courses in the same language at the appropriate level), (iii) humanities (2 courses), (iv) natural sciences (2 courses with lab as defined by the major requirements), (v) mathematical sciences (2 courses as defined by the major requirements), or (vi) social sciences (2 courses).
  •     A minor is optional for ENSC minors.

    
Learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences.

  •     Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences develop a set of knowledge, skills, and values through satisfactory completion of an integrated series of courses and academic experiences such as internships and research apprenticeships. CALS believes these competencies are essential to effectively function in society and that they foster an attitude that promotes lifelong learning and responsible citizenship. In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, students take 2 social science courses, 2 courses in fine arts/humanities/foreign language, and 1 course, each, in writing, speech, and information technology.  

Learn more about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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