UMass Boston

Environmental Studies & Sustainability BA

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Apply the scientific method and design experiments to answer environmental science questions.

The School for the Environment's nationally recognized Environmental Studies and Sustainability program emphasizes solutions integrating the humanities and social sciences with economics and business. As environmental and sustainability advocates, students customize their course of study, drawing from such diverse fields as anthropology, law, history, management, economics, and the sciences. In addition to coursework, this hands-on degree incorporates internships, research, cooperative education, and capstone course experiences in which students work as members of a multi-disciplinary team partnered with agencies and organizations throughout the Boston metropolitan area.

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

Current students should refer to the catalog for the program requirements.

Course requirements for a BA in environmental studies and sustainability comprise a total of 120 academic credits, at least 30 of which must be taken at UMass Boston. In addition to UMass Boston general education requirements, students take introductory courses in environmental science and policy, a statistical analysis course, social science, humanities, environmental communication, and natural resource courses dealing with human interactions with the natural world, seminars on conflict resolution, professional development, and emerging environmental issues. All students complete a senior research capstone experience.

What You Will Learn

After completing your requirements in the BA in environmental studies and sustainability you will have a firm grounding in the multiple fields that contribute to advancing our understanding of the human-natural systems connections. You will have the critical thinking skills necessary to communicate complexity and the analytical skills required to advance new programs, policies, and communication strategies in support of a sustainable future.

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

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

Deadlines and Cost

Early action deadline: November 1; Regular Decision Deadline: June 15

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

For additional information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Bursar’s Office or send an email to


Major Requirements

Complete at least 46 credits from 18 courses including the core requirement courses (four natural sciences/math area courses, one natural resource area course, one social sciences area course, two humanities area courses, one interdisciplinary/sustainability course, one economics/economic development area course), four electives, three seminars, and a capstone.

GPA: A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required from all major courses.
Pass/fail: No courses taken pass/fail may be applied toward the major.
Residency: At least five courses from environmental science (except for ENVSCI 114, 124, 134 and first year seminars), ENVSTY (except for ENVSTY 210, 310, and 410), and CDVCTR must be completed at UMass Boston.

Course Requirements

Core Courses (28 Credits)

Natural Sciences/Mathematics Area (10 Credits)

  • ENVSCI 120 - Introduction to Environmental Science 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 121 - Introduction to Environmental Science Lab 1 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 260 - Global Environmental Change 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 261 - Statistics for Environmental Science 3 Credit(s)
  • or

  • MATH 125 - Introductory Statistics 3 Credit(s)

Natural Resources Area (3 Credits)

  • ENVSCI 122 - Introduction to Environmental Policy & Management 3 Credit(s)

Social Sciences Area (3 Credits)

  • POLSCI 203 - Public Policy (A) 3 Credit(s)

Humanities Area (6 Credits)

Complete two courses from below.

  • PHIL 220 - Environmental Ethics 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 263 - Environmental Anthropology 3 Credit(s)
  • or

  • HIST 276 - This Land is Your Land: A Survey of American Environmental History 3 Credit(s)
  • or

  • ENVSTY 222L - Religion and the Environment: Global Stewardship and Practices of Faith Communities 3 Credit(s)

Interdisciplinary/Sustainability Area (3 Credits)

  • ENVSTY 230 - Introduction to Sustainability 3 Credit(s)

Economics/Economic Development Area (3 Credits)

  • ECON 345L - Natural Resources & Sustainable Development 3 Credit(s)
  • or

  • ENVSCI 345L - Natural Resources & Sustainable Development 3 Credit(s)
  • or

  • ENVSCI 368 - Social-Ecological Systems Dynamics 3 Credit(s)

Electives (12 Credits)

Complete four electives by taking one course in each of the areas below. At least two of the electives must be at the 300-level or higher.

  • Natural Resources

  • ENVSCI 270 - Cities and the Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 280 - Global Society and the Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 281 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 4 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 324 - Coastal Zone Management 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 340L - Planning and Land Use Law 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSCI 364 - Environmental Management and Sustainability 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)

    Social Sciences

  • ANTH 317 - Human Epidemiology 3 Credit(s)
  • ANTH 346 - Culture, Globalization, and the Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • UPCD 201 - History and Theory of Community Development 3 Credit(s)
  • UPCD 210 - Community Health and Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • UPCD 301 - Introduction to Research Methods and Community Analysis 3 Credit(s)
  • UPCD 303 - Quantitative Methods for Community Development 3 Credit(s)
  • CONRES 621 Negotiation (M) 3 Credits (see graduate catalog)
  • CONRES 623 Introductory Theory 3 Credits (see graduate catalog)
  • ENVSTY 351L - Architecture and Human Built Environment Interactions 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 364L - Environmental Justice 3 Credit(s)


  • ASIAN 371 - Environmental Issues in China 3 Credit(s)
  • ENGL 343 - Literature, Culture and Environment 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 371 - Telling the Story: broadcast multi-media communications about natural, built, and human environments 3 Credit(s)
  • COMM 340 - Communication and Community Mobilization 3 Credit(s)
  • HIST 392 - American Women in Biography 3 Credit(s)
  • WGS 270 - Native American Women in North America 3 Credit(s)
  • WGS 295L - Introduction to Human Rights 3 Credit(s)

    Economics/Economic Development

  • UPCD 353L - Community Economic Development in the U.S.: Class, Race, Ethnicity 3 Credit(s)
  • UPCD 371 - Organizational Behavior for Public and Nonprofit Organizations 3 Credit(s)
  • ECON 349L - Economic Approaches to Environmental Problems 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 331 - Feeding the Next Two Billion: Solutions for Food Security 3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 481L - Introduction to Environmental Management and Clean Energy 3 Credit(s)
  • MGT 481L - Introduction to Environmental Management and Clean Energy 3 Credit(s)

Seminars (3 Credits)

  • ENVSTY 210 - Second-Year Seminar: Conflict and Resolution 1 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 310 - Third-Year Seminar: Professional Development 1 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 410 - Fourth-Year Seminar: Environmental Issues 1 Credit(s)

Capstone (3 Credits)

Complete one course from below. Course must be at least three credits.

  • ENVSCI 444 - Cooperative Education Field Experiences 3-6 Credit(s)
  • 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)
  • ENVSTY 301 - Internship in Environmental Studies 1-3 Credit(s)
  • ENVSTY 478 - Independent Study 1-3 Credit(s)


Program Contact

For more information contact the director of AASC Elizabeth Boyle (; 617.287.4756).


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