First Year Focus
What is Environmental Science?
The environmental sciences program prepares students to address one of society’s greatest challenges: preservation and stewardship of the natural world. The curriculum synthesizes the natural sciences, engineering, and the social sciences, all of which are important for understanding the environment, the impact human activities have on it, and ways to mitigate and manage such impacts. In the interdisciplinary curriculum, majors learn integrative and quantitative approaches to local and global environmental issues, such as climate change, energy, air and water pollution, biodiversity, human health, and sustainability.
Getting Started in the Major
The major entails three successive levels: Foundation Courses, Core Courses, and Advanced Studies Courses. The Foundation Courses comprise introductory courses in science, mathematics, and social science. Many are prerequisites for courses in the two successive levels. First year students are strongly encouraged to take Foundation Courses as soon as possible.
The following provides a general four-year course plan for the Environmental Sciences major:
- YEAR 1
- Fall: CHEM 1XX+lab + MATH 2XX + 1 Foundation Elective
- Winter: CHEM 1XX+lab + MATH 2XX + 1 Foundation Elective
- Spring: CHEM 1XX+lab + 1 Foundation Electives + ENVR SCI 20X
- YEAR 2
- Fall: ENVR_SCI 20X + 1 Foundation Course Elective
- Winter: ENVR_SCI 20X
- Spring: ENVR SCI 20X if not done in first year.
- 3+ Advanced Studies Courses
- YEAR 3
- Four+ Advanced Studies Courses
- If undertaking Study Abroad, or an domestic program away in the US, this is often ideally competed in Year 3.
- YEAR 4
- All remaining Advanced Studies Courses.
Other ways to get involved
There are several ways you can learn more about Environmental Sciences at Northwestern:
- We invite students to attend environmental seminars occurring on campus and elsewhere in Chicago. Seminars offer an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest developments in the field, as well as to meet faculty and other students.
- Interested in conducting environmental research? Diverse options are possible on campus with a wide number of faculty across many departments. Northwestern provides extensive support to get started, such as through Undergraduate Research Assistantships and once you have a clear direction through competitive funding for your specific project through Undergraduate Research Grants. Both the URAP and URG may be held during the academic year or over the summer.
- There are several environmentally-oriented student groups on campus.
- In order to stay informed social functions, program activities, research opportunities, and job openings, please email email@example.com asking to be added to the Environmental Sciences email listserv.
Our Advising page contains more information about declaring the major and other useful links. To book an advising meeting, complete the online booking form, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.