Undergraduate Major

This interdisciplinary, interdepartmental major is directed toward students interested in ecosystem management, natural resources conservation, environmental assessment, and/or environmental interpretation. An overall objective is to provide broad training in biological, chemical, earth, and social sciences to foster a multi-faceted understanding of environmental problems.

Within the major, students may elect to concentrate their studies in either a broad Conservation and Natural Resources track or a water resources track. The broad track is available as a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts, though students who intend to go into a science-based career are advised to seek the Bachelor of Science. The water resources track is only available as a Bachelor of Science degree. See the College of Letters and Science Degree Requirements site for information on general requirements and how they differ between the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts.

Because of the breadth and flexibility of this major, students should consult with the Director and/or Coordinator to plan a course of study, preferably before the start of their sophomore year. It is particularly important to begin the introductory course sequences early, since they are prerequisites for advanced courses.

Declaration of Major

Students wishing to declare the major can obtain the necessary information and materials from the Biological Sciences Office (Lapham Hall, Room 181) or the CES Program Coordinator’s office (Lapham Hall, Room 393) or from their College of Letters and Science advisor.

In order to be accepted into the CES program, students should be in their sophomore year and have completed:

  • CES 210: Introduction to Conservation and Environmental Science
  • BioSci 150: Foundations of Biological Sciences I
  • either GeoSci 100: Introduction to the Earth
    Geog 120: Our Physical Environment

In addition to course work in the major, good communication skills are essential; students should take courses in public speaking and technical writing. Computer literacy and knowledge of statistics also are highly desirable. Additionally, introductory courses in economics, ethics, political science, and sociology are recommended. The coordinator or a Letters and Science advisor can provide a current list of recommended courses.

Field Work

It is recommended that students obtain at least one semester of practical work or internship experience, either as an employee or as a volunteer, with state or federal resource management agencies, consulting firms, conservation or environmental organizations, or with nature centers or local parks. Internships for credit must be arranged the semester prior to participation.