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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:

Other ways to get involved

There are several ways you can learn more about Environmental Sciences at Northwestern:


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