UMass Boston

Environmental Sciences BA

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Gain the background and skills to succeed as an environmental policymaker or management professional.

Preparing environmental policy and management professionals, our nationally recognized BA in Environmental Science program integrates policy, management, and law with the natural sciences. Students gain practical experiences at the intersection of science and policy through coursework and real-world problem solving in our senior capstone course, internships, research, and cooperative education programs. Majors may focus their studies on policy and management (Policy and Management Track), policy-earth systems (Earth and Hydrologic Science Track), and policy-marine systems (Marine Science Track).

Students interested in a career in the sciences or pursuing a graduate degree in the sciences should pursue a BS in environmental science.

What the School Offers to Ensure Your Success

Our Academic Achievement Services Center (AASC@SFE) offers a breadth of programs and activities designed to support you in your journey. Whether you seek additional support for your classes, want to explore internships or research, or merely want to more deeply engage with our alumni or fellow students, AASC@SFE is always here for you.  AASC@SFE offers support and connections for advising, student support (academic, financial, health), career services and opportunities, access to Living-Learning Community programs, and Student Clubs and Organizations.

What You Can Take

The BA in environmental science provides students the opportunity to focus their studies, through degree tracks, in marine science, policy & management, and earth & hydrologic science. Students may also pursue a general track allowing them to take a breath of courses across the environmental disciplines.
Current students in all track programs should refer to the undergraduate catalog for program requirements.

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Apply for Admission

Please review the first-year and transfer apply pages for important information about application requirements, deadlines, and application status check.

Apply as a First-Year Student

Apply as a Transfer Student

Tuition & Financial Aid

Financing Your Education

Become a Beacon and pursue your passion in UMass Boston’s diverse, supportive environment. Many students across our 200+ undergraduate and graduate programs receive financial aid—providing access to an education that’s exceptional and affordable. Click below to learn more about financial aid opportunities and deadlines.

Financial Aid Deadlines & Application Process

Scholarships for First-Year & Transfer Students

Curriculum

Course Requirements


Introductory Courses (7 Credits)


  • ENVSCI 120 - Introduction to Environmental Science 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 121 - Introduction to Environmental Science Lab 1 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 122 - Introduction to Environmental Policy & Management 3 Credit(s)

Designated Skills Courses (7 Credits)


Complete two from below.

  • ENVSCI 261 - Statistics for Environmental Science 3 Credit(s)
  • or

  • MATH 125 - Introductory Statistics 3 Credit(s)
  •  

  • ENVSCI 281 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 4 Credit(s)

200-Level Natural Science Electives (6 to 8 Credits)


Complete two from below.

  • ENVSCI 210 - Earth’s Dynamic Systems 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 226 - Introduction to Oceanography 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 260 - Global Environmental Change 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 267L - Introduction to Coastal Biological Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 290 - Population Biology 3 Credit(s)

200-Level Social Science Elective (3 Credits)


Complete one from below.

  • ENVSCI 270 - Cities and the Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 280 - Global Society and the Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • HIST 276 - This Land is Your Land: A Survey of American Environmental History 3 Credit(s)

Major Track (9 Credits)


Complete three courses from one of the tracks below.

  • Earth and Hydrologic Sciences Track
  • Environmental Policy and Management Track
  • Environmental Science (General) Track
  • Marine Science Track

Capstone (3 Credits)


Complete one from below.

  • ENVSCI 445 - Cooperative Education II 3-9 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 476 - Environmental Science Capstone 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 481 - Capstone Independent Study 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 498 - Honors in Environmental Science 3 Credit(s)

Curriculum: Earth and Hydrologic Sciences Track

Earth and Hydrologic Sciences Track   


Program Declaration


Completion of an Undergraduate Program Add/Change form.

Track Requirements


Complete nine credits from three upper-level electives.

Course Requirements


Upper-Level Electives (9 Credits)


Complete three courses from below.

  • ENVSCI 305 - Hydrology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 315L - Introduction to Environmental Health 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 327 - Coastal Geology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 341 - The Geochemistry of a Habitable Planet 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 346 - Global Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 357 - Coastal Watershed Ecology and Conservation 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 387 - Climate Change Adaptation Planning 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 395L - Immersive Field Trip: Exploring Individuals, Societies, and Natural Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 440 - Chemistry of Natural Waters 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 450 - Physical Oceanography 3 Credit(s)

Curriculum: Environmental Policy and Management Track

Environmental Policy and Management Track   


Program Declaration


Completion of an Undergraduate Program Add/Change form.

Track Requirements


Complete at least nine credits from three upper-level electives.

Course Requirements


Upper-Level Electives (9 Credits)


Complete three courses from below.

  • ENVSCI 315L - Introduction to Environmental Health 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 316 - Coastal and Marine Pollution 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 324 - Coastal Zone Management 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 340L - Planning and Land Use Law 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 345L - Natural Resources & Sustainable Development 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 349L - Economic Approaches to Environmental Problems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 364 - Environmental Management and Sustainability 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 368 - Social-Ecological Systems Dynamics 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 375L - Urban Planning 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 383 - Water Resources Management: Principles, practices, and problems. 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 384 - Climate and Energy: Law, Policy, and Management 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 387 - Climate Change Adaptation Planning 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 395L - Immersive Field Trip: Exploring Individuals, Societies, and Natural Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 331 - Feeding the Next Two Billion: Solutions for Food Security 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 350L - Green Germany: Environmental Thought and Policy 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 351L - Architecture and Human Built Environment Interactions 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 364L - Environmental Justice 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 440 - Chemistry of Natural Waters 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 450 - Physical Oceanography 3 Credit(s)

Curriculum: Environmental Science (General) Track   

Environmental Science Track   


Program Declaration


Completion of an Undergraduate Program Add/Change form.

Track Requirements


Complete at least nine credits from three upper-level electives.

Course Requirements


Upper-Level Electives (9 Credits)


Complete three courses from below.

  • BIOL 306 - Marine & Coastal Ecological Research 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 332 - Biology of Marine Invertebrates Laboratory 1 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 333 - Biology of Marine Invertebrates (Lecture) 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 336L - Ecosystems Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 340 - Marine Mammal Biology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 305 - Hydrology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 315L - Introduction to Environmental Health 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 316 - Coastal and Marine Pollution 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 318 - Environmental Toxicology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 324 - Coastal Zone Management 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 325 - Introduction to Biological Oceanography 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 327 - Coastal Geology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 336L - Ecosystems Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 340L - Planning and Land Use Law 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 341 - The Geochemistry of a Habitable Planet 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 345L - Natural Resources & Sustainable Development 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 349L - Economic Approaches to Environmental Problems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 357 - Coastal Watershed Ecology and Conservation 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 359 - Wildlife Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 364 - Environmental Management and Sustainability 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 372 - Introduction to Remote Sensing 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 375L - Urban Planning 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 381 - GIS Applications and Spatial Databases 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 383 - Water Resources Management: Principles, practices, and problems. 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 384 - Climate and Energy: Law, Policy, and Management 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 387 - Climate Change Adaptation Planning 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 391 - Biology of Whales 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 395L - Immersive Field Trip: Exploring Individuals, Societies, and Natural Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 406 - GIT Data Collection and Field Methods 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 421 - Wildlife Conservation and Management 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 422 - Zooplankton Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 440 - Chemistry of Natural Waters 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 450 - Physical Oceanography 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 331 - Feeding the Next Two Billion: Solutions for Food Security 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 350L - Green Germany: Environmental Thought and Policy 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 351L - Architecture and Human Built Environment Interactions 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 364L - Environmental Justice 3 Credit(s)

Curriculum: Marine Science Track   

Marine Science Track   


Program Declaration


Completion of an Undergraduate Program Add/Change form.

Track Requirements


Complete at least nine credits from three upper-level electives.

Course Requirements


Upper-Level Electives (9 Credits)


Complete three courses from below.

  • BIOL 306 - Marine & Coastal Ecological Research 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 332 - Biology of Marine Invertebrates Laboratory 1 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 333 - Biology of Marine Invertebrates (Lecture) 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 340 - Marine Mammal Biology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 315L - Introduction to Environmental Health 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 316 - Coastal and Marine Pollution 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 318 - Environmental Toxicology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 324 - Coastal Zone Management 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 325 - Introduction to Biological Oceanography 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 327 - Coastal Geology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 336L - Ecosystems Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 341 - The Geochemistry of a Habitable Planet 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 357 - Coastal Watershed Ecology and Conservation 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 359 - Wildlife Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 391 - Biology of Whales 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 395L - Immersive Field Trip: Exploring Individuals, Societies, and Natural Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 421 - Wildlife Conservation and Management 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 422 - Zooplankton Ecology 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 440 - Chemistry of Natural Waters 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 450 - Physical Oceanography 3 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Degree Requirements


If this is the student’s only or primary major, the degree requirements below must be completed for graduation. See graduation requirements for more information.

University Requirements   


Complete a minimum of 120 credits from:

  • General education requirements set by the college of your primary major. These include courses in critical analysis; verbal and quantitative reasoning; human diversity; and principle approaches to knowledge in mathematics, technology, natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, arts, humanities, world languages, and world cultures.
  • Requirements for at least one declared major.
  • Elective courses needed to meet 120 credits and/or requirements from optional additional programs of study.


Residency: At least 30 credits for the degree must be completed at UMass Boston.
GPA: A minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher from all UMass Boston courses.
Pass/fail: No more than eight courses taken pass/fail may be applied toward the degree. Only one course may be taken pass/fail each semester.

School for the Environment Requirements for Bachelor of Arts   


Course reuse:

Students must fulfill the course requirements for all declared programs. Courses may be reused between programs with the following restrictions:

  • For students who elect a double major in or outside of the School for the Environment, no more than two courses at the 300-level or above may be used toward the fulfillment of both majors.
  • For students who elect a minor in or outside of the School for the Environment, no more than one course at the 300-level or above may be used toward the fulfillment of both the major and the minor.

General Education


See General Education for an overview for the curriculum including how to search for courses that meet general education categories.

Verbal Reasoning and Expression


  • ENGL 101 - Composition I 
  • ENGL 102 - Composition II 

Composition I is waived if a student transfers in Composition II.
Both courses are waived for students matriculating with 90 or more transfer credits.

Students in the Honors College will fulfill this requirement with Honors English 101 or 102.

Critical Analysis


  • First Year Seminar
  • Intermediate Seminar

Students matriculating with 30 or more transfer credits do not have to complete a first year seminar.
Students matriculating with 90 or more transfer credits do not have to complete either requirement.

Students in the Honors College will fulfill the first year seminar requirement with HONORS 101 - Honors First-year Seminar and HONORS 210G - Honors Intermediate Seminar.

Writing Proficiency


Students must complete either a portfolio or a timed written exam. This requirement should be completed when a student has earned between 60 and 75 credits.

See Writing Proficiency for more information.

Quantitative Reasoning


Quantitative Reasoning will be met by satisfying one of the following:

  • Successful completion of either MATH 114QR or MATH 115 or any other Mathematics course with a course number higher than 115.
  • Successful completion of any Mathematics Distribution course with MATH 114QR or MATH 115 as a prerequisite.
  • Demonstration of proficiency at the level of MATH 114QR or MATH 115 through Advanced Placement or CLEP tests. [AP and CLEP give college credit.]
  • Placement into MATH 125 or higher through a University-approved Math Placement Test taken in a proctored setting.

Distribution Areas


  • One Arts (AR)
  • One Humanities (HU)
  • One Arts (AR) or Humanities (HU)
  • Three Social and Behavioral Science (SB)
  • One Natural Sciences (NS)
  • Two Natural Sciences (NS) or Math/Technology (MT)
  • Two World Languages (WL) or World Cultures (WC) or one intensive language course

Elementary Language Proficiency


The elementary language proficiency requirement can be fulfilled by meeting one of the following:

  • Completing or transferring in a college foreign language course at the 102 level or higher. If a student completes or transfers in two semesters of the same language (such as 101 and 102), the student will also meet the two-course World Culture (WC)/World Language (WL) requirement.
  • Completing up to level three of the same foreign language in high school.
  • Completing at least one year of secondary or post-secondary education in a non-English-speaking school or university.
  • Scoring three or higher on an AP exam in a foreign language, or scoring 50 or higher on a CLEP exam in a foreign language.
  • Demonstrating proficiency to the appropriate language department or, if the language is not taught at UMass Boston, to the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Diversity Areas


  • One United States Diversity
  • One International Diversity

Students matriculating with 60 or more transfer credits may complete this requirement with one diversity course in either area.

Major Requirements


Complete at least 35 credits from twelve courses including three introductory courses, two designated skills courses, two 200-level natural science electives, one 200-level social science elective, three track courses, and one capstone.

Track: Students must choose from one of five major tracks: Earth and hydrological sciences, environmental policy and management, environmental science (general), and marine science.

Pass/fail: No courses taken pass/fail may be applied toward the major.
Residency: At least five environmental science courses used for the major must be completed at UMass Boston.

Contact

Elizabeth Boyle
Director Academic Achievement Service Center, School for Environment
elizabeth.boyle [ at ] @umb.edu
( 617) 287-4756 

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