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Environmental studies, University of Colorado at Boulder

Information for this profile was provided by Jason Neff, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a bachelors degree.

Program Design & Assessment


Environmental studies is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the science, values, and policy components of environmental problems. Students take core courses including science and economics and specialize into several upper level tracks.


Undergraduate demand for a interdisciplinary environmental program at CU Boulder.

Program Goals

We have detailed competency goals that have recently been developed. These goals are split into several sections including those related to natural science, social science, values, and policy. There are also associated skills-based learning objectives (e.g. writing). I will bring these goals with me to the workshop.

Alumni Careers

Our program is designed to prepare graduates for a variety of careers including continued graduate study in the sciences or social sciences, policy positions, consulting, and law school.

Program Assessment

We have not done much assessment in the past but are currently redesigning the undergraduate curriculum with learning objectives and outcomes in mind. We have also redesigned our introductory course with specific objectives and outcomes assessments (for spring 2012).

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

Core courses

We have a very complicated program because it is filled out from so many different departments. Our core courses are drawn from menus of multiple options under different subheadings.

Introductory and Intermediate Sciences
Biology Sequence
  • EBIO 1030/EBIO 1040 and EBIO 1050-7 Biology: A Human Approach and lab or
  • EBIO 1210 /EBIO 1220 and 1230/1240-8 General Biology and labs
Chemistry or Physics Course
  • CHEM 1011-3 Environmental Chemistry or
  • CHEM 1113/1114-5 General Chemistry 1 and lab or
  • PHYS 2010-5 General Physics with lab or
  • PHYS 1110 General Physics
Earth Science Sequence
  • GEOG 1001/GEOG 1011-8 Environmental Systems with labs or
  • GEOL 1010 / GEOL 1060 (or /GEOL 1020 or /GEOL 1040) and GEOL 1030-7 Introduction to Geology/ Global Change-An Earth Science Perspective (or /Introduction to Earth History or/Geology of Colorado) and lab or
  • ATOC 1050/ATOC 1060 and ATOC 1070-7 Weather and the Atmosphere/ Our Changing Environment: El Nino, Ozone, and Climate and lab
Intermediate Natural Science
  • EBIO 2040-4 Principles of Ecology with lab or
  • CVEN/ENVS 3434-3 Applied Ecology or
  • ATOC 3600/ENVS 3600/GEOG 3601-3 Principles of Climate or
  • GEOG 3511-4 Hydrology with lab
Intermediate Social Science
  • BAKR 1600-3 Creating a Sustainable Future or
  • SOCY 2077-3 Environment and Society or
  • SOCY 4007-3 Global Human Ecology or
  • ENVS/SOCY 4027-3 Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment
Introductory and Intermediate Values Intermediate Policy Skills
Statistics or Calculus 1
  • EBIO 4410-4 Biometry or
  • ECON 3818-3 Introduction to Statistics with Computer Applications or
  • GEOG/GEOL 3023-4 Statistics for Earth Sciences or
  • MATH 2510-3 Introduction to Statistics or
  • MATH 2520-3 Introduction to Biometry or
  • PSCI 2075-3 Quantitative Research Methods or
  • PSCI 3105 Designing Social Inquiry: An Introduction to Analyzing Political Phenomena
  • PSYC 3101-4 Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology or
  • SOCY 2061-3 Introduction to Social Statistics or
Calculus 1:
  • MATH 1300-5 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 or
  • MATH 1310-5 Calculus, Stochastics and Modeling
  • APPM 1350-4 Calculus 1 for Engineers
Advanced Writing
  • EBIO 3940-3 Argument in Scientific Writing or
  • ENVS 3020-3 Advanced Writing in ENVS
Application (3 credits minimum)
Advanced and Intermediate Science/Policy/Values
Specialization (chose one and complete 15 credits within it):
Total Credits 64-75


Students are required to take 15 credits (5 courses) of electives, chosen from within the specializations listed below.

Climate and Energy:

Natural Resources & the Environment:

Sustainable Development:


Students choose one:

Other requirements or key features

Believe it or not, this is the recently 'simplified' version of the ENVS degree...

Supporting Materials

Actual CU Boulder ENVS Undergrad requriements (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 39kB Apr26 12)

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