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Requirements for Major
The Department of Environmental Sciences offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Sciences (B.S.) degrees. The B.A. degree is intended for students interested in environmental sciences, environmental regulation, environmental planning, or secondary school teaching positions. Additionally, this degree can provide a strong base for entry into graduate studies in any of the environmental sciences or in other areas such as medicine, law, or business. The B.S. degree is a more course-intensive experience, excellent for students planning for graduate school or especially for professional careers in the environmental sciences. Each program has an optional thesis program that is an excellent entry into research, and it is recommended for students planning on going to graduate school.
Distinguished Major’s options are available in both degree programs.
For all degree programs, students who score a 4 or a 5 on the Environmental Science Advanced Placement exam will receive 3 credits for EVSC 1010. Any three credits of non-core, lower division courses, or advanced placement credit on the Environmental Science exam, may be counted toward the major if taken prior to declaration of the major. (Note that only 3 credits of non-core courses below the 3000 level may count toward the major.)
Requirements for Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sciences
Students must complete 30 graded credits of departmental course work with a 2.000 cumulative grade point average in major’s courses. EVSC 2800, 3200, 3300, and 3600 with their laboratories are required core courses; the lectures and labs for any specific core class should (and in many cases must) be taken simultaneously. The interdisciplinary nature of the environmental science’s advanced courses is one of the program’s great strengths and unique features. To take maximum advantage of these courses, students should try to complete the four core courses by the beginning of their fourth year. Three credits of non-core 1000- or 2000-level course work, taken prior to declaring the major, may be counted toward the major. At least 11 credits of non-core courses at the 3000 level or higher must be taken. Once a student is enrolled at the University, transfer credits that count toward the major must be approved prior to taking the course and must be consistent with the curricular goals of the department. The department’s Director of Undergraduate Program is responsible for overseeing the pre-approval of transfer credits.
The department requires one semester of calculus and two semesters of college-level chemistry, biology, or physics with laboratories. Students should begin to fulfill this requirement in their first year by taking MATH 1190, MATH 1210 or MATH 1310 and any two of the following: CHEM 1410, CHEM 1420, BIOL 2100, BIOL 2200, PHYS 2010 or 1425, PHYS 2020 or 2415, all with their associated labs (BIOL courses have the labs included).
Although not required for the degree, to do serious research and compete effectively in graduate school and employment, additional math and science is generally needed. Work in any environmental sciences area necessitates developing an understanding of related fields. Thus, to encourage each student’s success in research and the competition for top graduate schools and jobs, the department suggests students take related work based on their primary areas of interest. Ecology depends on a basic knowledge of chemistry (CHEM 1410, 1420) and biology (BIOL 2100, 2200). Geoscience, hydrology, and atmospheric science depend on chemistry and physics (PHYS 2010, 2020 or 1425, 2415). All of these areas depend on calculus (MATH 1210, 1220, 1310, 1320) and the techniques of statistics (STAT 2120 or EVSC 5030). If the appropriate related work has been accomplished, students can begin the department’s core courses in the first or second year. Students are advised to obtain computer skills and an understanding of statistics as early as possible, and to take additional related sciences as their interests develop.
Requirements for Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences
Students must complete 40 graded credits of departmental course work with a 2.000 cumulative grade point average in major’s courses. The B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences is similar to the B.A., except that the course requirements are much more extensive. Because of the more ambitious structure of the B.S. degree, careful planning of course selection and scheduling is essential very early. Interested students should contact the department as soon as possible to get help with establishing a program quickly with appropriate adjustments for AP or transfer credits. AP credits in related science or math are especially helpful, as is a strong performance on the foreign language placement exam to remove some of the obligation for these proficiency requirements to be completed upon arrival at the university.
The department requires one semester each of each of the three basic sciences with their associated labs, viz., BIOL 2100, CHEM 1410/1411, and PHYS 1425/1429 (note that PHYS 2010/2020 is not acceptable for the B.S. degree), along with one year of Calculus, MATH 1310 and MATH 1220, or MATH 1310 and MATH 1320 (with the latter sequence required by the math department for students who plan to take higher-level mathematics courses). Students should discuss the calculus requirement with their advisor before deciding on the appropriate option. Additionally, two more semesters of related sciences or math are required (e.g. BIOL 2200, CHEM 1420/1421, PHYS 2415/2419, MATH 2310 or equivalent courses or STAT 2120 or EVSC 5030), one of which must be a science with a lab.
The lectures and labs for any specific core course—EVSC 2800, 3200, 3300, or 3600 and their associated labs EVSC 2801, 3201, 3301, and 3601 respectively, for a total of 16 core credits—should (and in many cases must) be taken simultaneously. An additional 24 credits of graded EVSC courses are required. Three of these credits may be taken below the 3000-level (i.e., 1000- or 2000-level), if they are completed prior to declaring the major. The remainder must be taken at or above the 3000-level, and at least one must be a laboratory course. Once a student is enrolled at the University, transfer credits that count toward the major must be approved prior to taking the course and must be consistent with the curricular goals of the department. The department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies is responsible for overseeing the pre-approval of transfer credits.
Requirements for Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation
The Department of Environmental Sciences, in conjunction with the Department of Biology, offers an opportunity for students to obtain the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Environmental Sciences with a Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation. Candidates for the Specialization must fulfill all the requirements for the Environmental Sciences major.
The requirements for the Specialization are as follows: (1) Related math and science courses are calculus (MATH 1210 or 1310), organismal biology (BIOL 2020 or BIOL 3010) with lab (BIOL 2040), and either chemistry with lab (CHEM 1410/1411) or physics with lab (PHYS 2010/2030 or PHYS 1425/1429); (2) Two courses in environmental conservation and biodiversity (EVSC 2220, BIOL 3450), population ecology (EVSC 4130) and a capstone seminar in environmental and biological conservation (EVSC 4142 or EVSC 4991); (3) an additional four upper-level courses in either Environmental Sciences or Biology. The courses must cover each of the following areas: Biological Diversity—a course focused on a particular group of organisms (e.g. plants, birds, mammals); Environmental Diversity—a course focused on a particular habitat (e.g. wetlands, oceans, forests, grasslands, tundra); Techniques in Conservation—a course focused on policy, related chemical or physical sciences, statistics, modeling, geospatial analysis or field methods; Field Experience—this can be fulfilled through any field-oriented class (e.g. Stream Watch Internship, Hydrological Field Methods), a field-based independent study or Supervised Research with faculty in Environmental Sciences or Biology, a course at a University of Virginia field station (Mountain Lake Biological Station, Blandy Experimental Farm, the Virginia Coast Reserve LTER), or an internship with a conservation agency.
Students who are interested in this Specialization should consult with an advisor who is a faculty of the Environmental Conservation Program, preferably when declaring their major.
Requirements for Minor
A minor consists of at least 16 graded credits of environmental sciences course work in a program of study proposed by the student and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Program. The program must include at least two core courses (EVSC 2800, 3200, 3300, 3600) with laboratories, and one non-core course at the 3000 level or higher, with no more than six credits of non-core courses below the 3000 level. To take advantage of advanced interdisciplinary courses, the core courses should be completed early.
Environmental Sciences Organization
The Environmental Sciences Organization, recognized by Student Council, presents an undergraduate professionalization seminar, field trips, career and job search activities, curriculum review and planning, and many social events. All University students are welcome to join.
Distinction and Prizes
The department participates in the College’s Distinguished Majors Program designed for highly qualified students. This program must be started early. Information can be obtained from an advisor.
Each year, the department gives the following awards to members of the graduating class who have distinguished themselves academically during their four years of study at the University:
- the Wallace-Poole Award to the most outstanding major;
- the Wilbur A. Nelson Award, the Mahlon G. Kelly Award, the Michael Garstang Award and the Hydrology Award to students who are outstanding in the areas of geoscience, ecology, atmospheric sciences, and hydrology, respectively;
- an Interdisciplinary Award to the student who has performed the most meritorious interdisciplinary research;
- the Joseph K. Roberts Award to the student who delivered the best paper at a national conference, and;
- the Trout Unlimited Award for excellence in aquatic ecology.
Each year, the department also offers the Bloomer and Mitchell Awards for geosciences-oriented students, and the Hart Family Award to support a student pursuing supervised research during their 4th year.
Blandy Experimental Farm and the Orland E. White Arboretum
The Blandy Experimental Farm and the Orland E. White Arboretum of the University of Virginia are located in Boyce, Virginia at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. At this facility, faculty and students conduct research on the ecology of plants, and animals. Field classes from the Departments of Environmental Sciences and Biology conduct laboratory exercises at the facility, and each year an extensive summer program of course work is presented. The research site contains a wide array of habitats including forest, successional fields, pasture, cropland, ponds, and marshes. The Orland E. White Arboretum, the State Arboretum of Virginia, contains a beautifully landscaped collection of 1,000 species and varieties of trees and shrubs. The facilities also include greenhouses, laboratories, computer facilities, and housing, laundry and dining facilities. Students may participate in supervised research or independent study at Blandy Farm primarily during the summer.
Research projects throughout the department provide a number of employment and experience opportunities for undergraduates.
Students in their third and fourth years are encouraged to gain research experience by participating in faculty research or initiating their own research projects with faculty supervision. These projects can be conducted for credit by arranging with a faculty member to oversee a Supervised Research project (EVSC 4995).
For more information, contact the Director of the Undergraduate Program, Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall, P.O. Box 400123, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4123; (434) 924-7761; www.evsc.virginia.edu.
- EVSC 1010 - Introduction to Environmental Sciences Credits: 3
- EVSC 1020 - Practical Concepts in Environmental Sciences Credits: 1
- EVSC 1040 - Virginia's Environments Credits: 3
- EVSC 1050 - Ethics, Protocols, and Practice of International Research Credits: 3
- EVSC 1080 - Resources and the Environment Credits: 3
- EVSC 1200 - Elements of Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 1300 - Earth's Weather and Climate Credits: 3
- EVSC 1600 - Water on Earth Credits: 3
- EVSC 2010 - Materials That Shape Civilizations Credits: 3
- EVSC 2030 - Politics, Science, and Values: An Introduction to Environmental Policy Credits: 3
- EVSC 2050 - Introduction to Oceanography Credits: 3
- EVSC 2070 - Earth Systems Technology & Management Credits: 3
- EVSC 2200 - Plants, People and Culture Credits: 3
- EVSC 2220 - Conservation Ecology: Biodiversity and Beyond Credits: 3
- EVSC 2221 - Conservation Ecology Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 2800 - Fundamentals of Geology Credits: 3
- EVSC 2801 - Fundamentals of Geology Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 2900 - Beaches, Coasts and Rivers Credits: 3
- EVSC 3020 - GIS Methods Credits: 4
- EVSC 3060 - Biomechanics of Organisms Credits: 3
- EVSC 3200 - Fundamentals of Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 3201 - Fundamentals of Ecology Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 3300 - Atmosphere and Weather Credits: 3
- EVSC 3301 - Atmosphere and Weather Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 3600 - Physical Hydrology Credits: 3
- EVSC 3601 - Physical Hydrology Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 3660 - Tropical Field Ecology Credits: 4
- EVSC 3665 - Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Belize Credits: 3
- EVSC 3810 - Earth Processes as Natural Hazards Credits: 3
- EVSC 3840 - Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Credits: 3
- EVSC 3841 - Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Lab Credits: 1
- EVSC 3850 - Geodynamics Credits: 3
- EVSC 3860 - Introduction to Geochemistry Credits: 3
- EVSC 3880 - Watersheds of Lewis and Clark Credits: 3
- EVSC 3881 - Watersheds of Lewis and Clark Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 4002 - Undergraduate Seminar Credits: 1
- EVSC 4010 - Introduction to Remote Sensing Credits: 4
- EVSC 4020 - Dryland Ecohydrology Credits: 2
- EVSC 4030 - Environmental Policymaking in the United States Credits: 3
- EVSC 4040 - Climate Change: Science, Markets & Policy Credits: 3
- EVSC 4050 - Topics in Oceanography Credits: 3
- EVSC 4060 - People, Culture, and Environment of Southern Africa Credits: 3
- EVSC 4070 - Advanced GIS Credits: 3
- EVSC 4082 - Geology and Ecology of U.S. National Parks Credits: 2
- EVSC 4090 - Analytical Chemistry Credits: 3
- EVSC 4100 - Management of Forest Ecosystems Credits: 4
- EVSC 4110 - Estuarine Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4122 - Coastal Ecology Seminar Credits: 1
- EVSC 4140 - Global Coastal Change Credits: 3
- EVSC 4142 - Seminar in Environmental and Biological Conservation Credits: 2
- EVSC 4150 - Terrestrial Plant Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4200 - The Ecology of Coastal Wetlands Credits: 3
- EVSC 4210 - Methods in Aquatic Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4220 - Aquatic Plant Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4230 - Marine Environments and Organisms Credits: 3
- EVSC 4240 - Restoration Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4250 - Ecosystem Ecology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4260 - Ecology of Grasslands and Tundra Credits: 3
- EVSC 4270 - Soil Science Credits: 4
- EVSC 4280 - Environmental Microbiology Credits: 4
- EVSC 4290 - Limnology: Inland Water Ecosystems Credits: 3
- EVSC 4320 - Mountain Meteorology Credits: 4
- EVSC 4332 - Mountain Meteorology Seminar Credits: 2
- EVSC 4340 - Human Biometeorology: Weather, Climate and Human Health Credits: 3
- EVSC 4350 - Synoptic Climatology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4360 - Weather Forecasting Credits: 3
- EVSC 4370 - Microclimatology Credits: 2
- EVSC 4440 - Climate Change Credits: 3
- EVSC 4470 - Introduction to Climatological Analysis Credits: 3
- EVSC 4490 - Air Pollution Credits: 4
- EVSC 4630 - Land-Atmosphere Interaction Credits: 3
- EVSC 4640 - Applied Hydrology Credits: 4
- EVSC 4650 - Water Sustainability Credits: 1
- EVSC 4660 - Hydrological Field Methods and Data Analysis Credits: 3
- EVSC 4710 - Environmental Geochemistry Credits: 3
- EVSC 4810 - Petrology Credits: 4
- EVSC 4820 - Geology and Ecology of U.S. Ore Deposits Credits: 3
- EVSC 4830 - Geological Field Methods in Environmental Sciences Credits: 4
- EVSC 4832 - Water-Rock Interactions Seminar Credits: 1
- EVSC 4850 - Coastal Processes Credits: 3
- EVSC 4851 - Coastal Processes Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVSC 4860 - Geology of Virginia Credits: 3
- EVSC 4870 - Global Biogeochemical Cycles Credits: 3
- EVSC 4880 - Groundwater Geology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4890 - Planetary Geology Credits: 3
- EVSC 4891 - Planetary Geology Lab Credits: 1
- EVSC 4993 - Independent Study Credits: 1 to 6
- EVSC 4995 - Supervised Research Credits: 1 to 6
- EVSC 4999 - Thesis Research Credits: 3
- EVSC 5020 – Introduction to GIS Credits: 4
- EVSC 5030 – Applied Statistics for Environmental Scientists Credits: 4
- EVSC 5050 – Advanced Oceanography Credits: 3
- EVSC 5060 – Coastal Oceanography Credits / Units: 3
- EVSC 5440 – Physical Oceanography Credits: 3
- EVAT 5300 – Environmental Climatology Credits: 3
- EVAT 5410 – Atmospheric Dynamics Credits: 4
- EVAT 5500 – Boundary Layer Meteorology Credits: 4
- EVEC 5220 – Terrestrial Ecology Credits: 4
- EVEC 5230 – Microbial Ecology Credits: 3
- EVEC 5231 – Microbial Ecology Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVEC 5250 – Ecological Issues in Global Change Credits: 4
- EVGE 5820 – Geomorphology Credits: 4
- EVGE 5840 – Sediment Processes and Environments Credits: 3
- EVGE 5841 – Sediment Processes Laboratory Credits: 1
- EVGE 5850 – Geochemistry Credits: 4
- EVGE 5860 – Isotope Geochemistry Credits: 4
- EVGE 5870 – Aqueous Geochemistry Credits: 4
- EVHY 5640 – Catchment Hydrology: Process and Theory Credits: 4
- EVHY 5650 – Hydrological Transport Processes Credits: 4
- EVHY 5670 – Environmental Fluid Mechanics Credits: 4
- EVHY 5700 – Forest Hydrology Credits: 4