Course Planning

Students are strongly encouraged to work with the adviser on course planning. The Environmental Studies major is dynamic and flexible, and students have many curricular and co-curricular opportunities to customize their degree. Meeting with the adviser can help you make sure you know all your options so you can better plan your curriculum.

Core to Capstone

The order in which students take classes to meet the Environmental Studies degree requirements vary depending on student goals and course availability. The exception to this is that Core Courses serve as prerequisites for the Capstone sequence. Because the Environmental Studies major culminates in a 3-quarter Capstone, students must complete three of the 4 Core Courses prior to starting Capstone. ENVIR 300 can be completed concurrently with the first Capstone course when necessary.   ENVIR 200 and 250 can be taken in any order.  The Capstone courses should be taken in sequential order in contiguous quarters (AU-WI-SP or SP-SU-AU).

ENVIR 100Introduction to Environmental Studies. This survey course helps you understand the complexity and breadth of environmental problems, in a local and global context. This course is a prerequisite for all other Core Courses

ENVIR 200Communications for Environmental Studies. This course provides students with the framework to critically read and analyze material from different disciplines and navigate differing audiences. After this course, you become a stronger writer and thinker and are better prepared for your Capstone, as you’re able to dissect what your project and client needs and can connect the desires of the program to achieve solid outcomes. 

ENVIR 250 – Research Methods in Environmental Studies. Get experience with data collection, through an environmental lens. This class will help you navigate and assess the right qualitative and quantitative data methods needed to conduct research for your Capstone project.

ENVIR 300 – Analysis of Environmental Cases. Learn to use data from the social and natural sciences to inform how environmental decisions are made.

Foundation Courses

The eight Foundations requirement areas are 200 (and a few 300) level courses that help you understand natural science, economics, data analysis and social systems to give you a deeper understanding of the breadth and complexity of challenges that influence environmental outcomes. Most Foundations courses are suitable for sophomores but you don’t need to complete them prior to starting on your Perspectives & Experiences area requirements.

See the Course Checklist for the full list of Foundations courses. Requested substitutions must go through the adviser.

Perspectives & Experiences

Students choose from over 150 upper-division courses on campus to fulfill the three environmental perspective areas and three experience areas. Relevant study abroad experiences often transfer to fulfill P&E requirements. The six areas include: human and social dimensions, natural sciences, policy and decision making, bioregional, international and fieldwork.

Each quarter when the UW Time Schedule is published, students receive an email listing courses that can be used to fulfill P&E requirements being offered the next quarter. Check with the adviser for a complete list of pre-approved courses or view the current list. You are encouraged to explore courses of interest to you and ask the adviser if these courses can count for a P&E requirement even if they’re not on the pre-approved list.

An important note about DARS

The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), which you can access through MyPlan will show you how courses you’ve completed (and those you’re currently registered for) officially count toward your major. Sometimes your DARS needs to be manually updated by the adviser, so if you find it isn’t counting a course toward a requirement as you think it should, contact the adviser.