Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies

The BA in Environmental Studies will provide students with the necessary skills to engage in the many processes that are necessary to confront the challenges citizens, businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations, among others, face in light of rapidly changing modern global environmental issues. The BA will equip students with the analytical tools for understanding and engaging in concerns related to the natural and social world. The program will offer multi-disciplinary curriculum with interdisciplinary learning goals, incorporating the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities, to ensure that graduates will gain a holistic understanding of complex environmental concerns and their natural, social, and ethical implications.

Graduates from the ENS BA program will find career opportunities in a variety of fields. As discussed above, environmental concerns are of growing importance in both the private and public sectors. The environmental studies major will prepare graduates for advanced studies in environmental science, policy, law, management, and related fields, and for careers such as environmental educators, environmental managers, environmental field or lab technicians, environmental health scientists, and positions in the fields of waste management, pollution control, environmental law, and environmental administration among others.


Any UIS undergraduate can declare a major in Environmental Studies. Visit the Admissions website for more information.  If you are a current student interested in switching to the BA in Environmental Studies by completing a Change of Curriculum form and choosing the new degree code – BA:Env Studies – 40PF1237BA.  (Note: If you are a current UIS undergraduate who entered under the Summer 2013 or earlier catalog, before the Change of Curriculum form you will need to change to the most recent catalog year with a Student Petition signed by your old, not ENS, advisor and chair.)


To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, students must complete a minimum of 34 credit hours, which includes four core courses and seven elective courses with a minimum of two courses from each thematic area. Of the elective courses, a minimum of four must be at the 400 level; two of the remaining electives must be either 300 or 400 level. Students must earn at least a C in the four required courses and a C average in the elective courses. Students are expected to meet with an ENS advisor before beginning the major.

Required Core Courses

  • ENS 251 Introduction to Environmental Sciences 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 271 Introduction to Sustainability 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 451 Undergraduate Capstone 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 476 Environmental Ethics 3 Hrs.

List of thematic areas and appropriate electives:

Environmental Policy/Law/Planning

  • ENS 301 Environmental Justice in America 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 304 Mapping our Physical & Social World 3 Hrs.
  • ESN 401 Environmental Justice: Science, Policy, & Activism 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 403 Transportation: Problems and Planning Procedures 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 404 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 419 Environmental Law 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 446 ECCE: Population and Public Policy 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 449 Agricultural Politics and Policy 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 485 Environmental Policies: Water Quality 4 Hrs.
  • MPH 486 Solid and Hazardous Waste Policy 4 Hrs.

Environmental Social Sciences/Humanities

  • ENS 101 Women and the Environment 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 201 Literature and the Environment 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 311 ECCE: Global Change in Local Places 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 331 ECCE: Evolution and Creationism 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 411 ECCE: Introduction to Environmental Education 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 412/HIS 459 World Environmental Thought 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 418/HIS 438 American Environmental History 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 421 Environmental Economics 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 422/SOA 422 Environmental Sociology 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 448 Sustainable Food Systems 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 461 ECCE: Geopolitics: Geographic Aspects of International Affairs 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 471 Culture and Conservation 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 475 Global Political Ecology 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 479 Writing and the Environment 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 481 Forest Policy & Management 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 488 ECCE: China’s Environment and the World 3 Hrs.

Environmental Sciences

  • ENS 151 Earth Science 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 262 Environmental Physical Geography 3 Hrs.
  • CHE 361 ECCE: Global Greening for a Sustainable Future 4 Hrs.
  • CHE 363 ECCE: Energy and the Environment 3 Hrs.
  • BIO 371 Principles of Ecology 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 405 Fundamentals in Remote Sensing 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 425 Ecological Issues 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 444/BIO 444 Aquatic Ecology 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 445/BIO 445 Biology of Water Pollution 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 447/CHE 431 Environmental Chemistry 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 463 Our Changing Climate 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 464 Paleoecology 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 465 Water Resources and Society 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 468 Environmental Geology 4 Hrs.
  • ENS 472 Urban Environments 3 Hrs.
  • ENS 477 Renewable Energy 3 Hrs.

Additionally, all UIS undergraduates must complete the campus general education and ECCE requirements.  We are constantly adding new courses; ask your advisor about which section a new course will be in.