University Catalog 2024-2025

Environmental Sciences (BS)

This area of study uses interdisciplinary approaches that link natural science and social science disciplines, and a knowledge of environmental systems and earth processes​. Such interdisciplinary approaches are essential for understanding changes in a rapidly changing world, and for understanding our past, present, and future.  Environmental scientists will help ensure human prospects by improving both socio-economic development and environmental quality through innovation in new technologies and policies.

Public interest about environmental issues is increasing. Protecting and improving the environment involves knowledge and systematic problem-solving skills that are essential for environmental sciences. North Carolina State University's environmental sciences degree program provides sound, individualized academic programs for students who can develop a wide range of careers. For information on entrance requirements, contact the program coordinator:

Erin Champion
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NCSU
Box 8008
Raleigh, NC 27695-8008

Plan Requirements

English & Communication
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 14
Communication Skills 6
Mathematics and Science
MA 131Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A3
or MA 141 Calculus I
MA 231Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B3
or MA 241 Calculus II
CH 101
CH 102
Chemistry - A Molecular Science
and General Chemistry Laboratory
Select one of the following:4
Introductory Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
Select one of the following:4
Conceptual Physics
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory
College Physics I
Science Electives4
Natural Sciences
BIO 181Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity4
AEC/PB 360Ecology4
or BIO 183 Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology
Natural Sciences Electives4
Departmental Requirements
ENV 100Student Success in Environmental First Year1
ENV 101Exploring the Environment2
ES 100Introduction to Environmental Sciences 13
ES 111Applications of Environmental Sciences 11
ES 200Climate Change and Sustainability 13
ES 300Energy and Environment 13
ES 400Analysis of Environmental Issues 13
ST 311Introduction to Statistics3
Analytical Skills Electives3
Economics Electives3
Environmental Law and Policy Electives3
External Learning Experience3
Focal Area
ES Focal Area (See Advisor) 215
Advised Electives (See Advisor) 29
General Education Program (GEP) Courses
GEP Humanities6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies2
GEP US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion3
GEP Global Knowledge (Verify Requirements)
World Language Proficiency GEP Global Knowledge (Verify Requirements)
Free Electives
Free Electives (12 Hr S/U Lmt) 310
Total Hours120

A grade of C- or better is required.


Students should consult their academic advisors to determine how to complete this requirement.


Students should consult their academic advisors to determine which courses fill this requirement.

Communication Skills Electives

Written Communication Skills
Maximum of 3 credits
COM 336Newsletter Writing and Production3
ENG 210Introduction to Language and Linguistics3
ENG 214Introduction to Editing3
ENG 216Technologies for Texts3
ENG 281Introduction to Creative Nonfiction3
ENG 287Explorations in Creative Writing3
ENG 288Fiction Writing3
ENG 289Poetry Writing3
ENG 292Writing About Film3
ENG 316Introduction to News and Article Writing3
ENG 317Designing Networked Communications3
ENG 323Writing in Rhetorical Traditions3
ENG 324Modern English Syntax3
ENG 331Communication for Engineering and Technology3
ENG 332Communication for Business and Management3
ENG 333Communication for Science and Research3
ENG 422Writing Theory and the Writing Process3
ENG 425Analysis of Scientific and Technical Writing3
ENG 426Analyzing Style3
FLE 402Advanced Written Communication in English for International Students3
Verbal/Oral Communication Skills
Maximum of 3 credits
AEE 311Communication Methods and Media3
COM 110Public Speaking3
COM 112Interpersonal Communication3
COM 202Small Group Communication3
COM 211Argumentation and Advocacy3
COM 226Introduction to Public Relations3
COM 289Science Communication and Public Engagement3
COM 292Language, Communication, and Culture3
COM 392International and Crosscultural Communication3
COM 395Studies in Rhetoric and Digital Media3
COM 411Rhetorical Criticism3
COM 436Environmental Communication3
COM 479Climate Change Communication3
ENG 321Survey of Rhetorical Theory3
ENG 325Spoken and Written Traditions of American English Dialects3
ENG 326History of the English Language3
ENG 327Language and Gender3
ENG 328Language and Writing3
ENG 329Language in Globalization 3
ENG 335Language Development3
ENG 395Studies in Rhetoric and Digital Media3
ENG 411Rhetorical Criticism3
ENG 494Special Topics in Linguistics1-3
HSS 392International and Crosscultural Communication3
PRT 4423
THE 103Introduction to the Theatre3
THE 203Theory and Practice of Acting3
THE 293Theater Practicum1-6
WGS 327Language and Gender3

Science Electives

CH 201
CH 202
Chemistry - A Quantitative Science
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory
GN 311Principles of Genetics4
MB 351
MB 352
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
PY 208
PY 209
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
PY 212College Physics II4

Natural Sciences Electives

AEC 419Freshwater Ecology4
AEC 460Field Ecology and Methods4
FOR 260Forest Ecology4
FOR 3394
MEA 200
MEA 210
Introduction to Oceanography
and Oceanography Lab
PB 250Plant Biology4
PB 345
PB 346
Economic Botany
and Economic Botany Lab
SSC 200
SSC 201
Soil Science
and Soil Science Laboratory
ZO 250Animal Anatomy and Physiology4
ZO 350Animal Phylogeny and Diversity4
ZO 402Invertebrate Biology4

Analytical Skills Electives

GIS 280Introduction to GIS3
ST 312Introduction to Statistics II3
FOR 353GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Analysis and Assessment3
PS 371Research Methodology of Political Science3

Economics Electives 

ARE 201Introduction to Agricultural & Resource Economics3
ARE 201AIntroduction to Agricultural & Resource Economics3
EC 201Principles of Microeconomics3
EC 205Fundamentals of Economics3
NR 219Natural Resource Markets3

  Environmental Law and Policy Electives

ARE 309Environmental Law & Economic Policy3
PS 320U.S. Environmental Law and Politics3
PS 336Global Environmental Politics3
NR 460Renewable Natural Resource Management and Policy3

  External Learning Experience Electives

ES 496Environmental Science Internship1-3
ES 497Professional Development in Environmental Science1-3
ES 498Research in Environmental Science1-3
ES 499Thesis in Environmental Science3

Semester Sequence

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
ENV 100 Student Success in Environmental First Year 1
ENV 101 Exploring the Environment 2
BIO 181 Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity 4
MA 131 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
Spring Semester
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 1
ES 111 Applications of Environmental Sciences 1 1
MA 231 Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 3
ES 100 Introduction to Environmental Sciences 1 3
GEP Humanities 3
Second Year
Fall Semester
PY 211 College Physics I 4
CH 220
CH 222
Introductory Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
Communications Requirement 3
Free Elective 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
Spring Semester
PY 212 College Physics II 4
ES 200 Climate Change and Sustainability 1 3
ST 311 Introduction to Statistics 3
AEC/PB 360
or Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology
Free Elective 3
Third Year
Fall Semester
ES 300 Energy and Environment 1 3
Economics Requirement 3
Advised Elective I 3 3
Communications Requirement 3
Focal Area I 2 3
Spring Semester
Focal Area II 2 3
Advised Elective II 3 3
SSC 200
SSC 201
Soil Science
and Soil Science Laboratory
GEP US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 3
Free Elective 3
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Environmental Law and Policy Requirement 3
External Learning Experience 3
Focal Area III 2 3
Advised Elective III 3 3
GEP Humanities 3
Spring Semester
ES 400 Analysis of Environmental Issues 1 3
Analytical Skills Requirement 3
Focal Area IV 2 3
Focal Area V 2 3
Free Elective 2 1
 Total Hours120

Must be completed with a grade of C- or higher.


See adviser to determine a relevant focal area and related course selections.


Advised Electives (9 credit hours) are to be selected in consultation with your adviser and need to focus on Environmental Science. At least 6 hours must be at the 400-level or above.

Career Opportunities

The Environmental Sciences program provides opportunities for students to rigorously explore complex, interdisciplinary environmental issues by combining courses from a number of NC State colleges to create a thorough interdisciplinary grounding. All degree options encourage students to pursue original research and gain field experience tackling real-world challenges — leaving them well prepared to take advantage of career opportunities once they graduate.​  ​Some graduates find jobs in the environmental industry, including careers as environmental consultants, working in large corporations, or starting their own businesses. Others find careers working in federal, state, and local agencies with environmental mandates. Still others continue their educations in professional and graduate schools.​  

Career Titles

  • Agricultural Technician
  • Atmospheric and Space Scientist
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Chemist
  • Chief Sustainability Officers
  • Climate Change Policy Analysts
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Compliance Inspector
  • Environmental Disease Analyst
  • Environmental Economists
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Planner
  • Environmental Research Analyst
  • Environmental Restoration Planners
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technician
  • Environmental Science Professor
  • Environmental Technician
  • Forest and Conservation Technician
  • Forest and Conservation Workers
  • Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialist
  • Forester
  • Geographer
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hazardous Waste Management Analyst
  • Hydrographer
  • Hydrologist
  • Industrial Air Pollution Analyst
  • Industrial Ecologists
  • Industrial Waste Inspector
  • Landfill Inspectors
  • Medical Equipment Technician
  • Microbiologist
  • Park Naturalist
  • Seismologist
  • Soil Conservation Technician
  • Soil Scientist
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Water Pollution Control Inspector
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Zoologist

Learn More About Careers
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Occupational Outlook Handbook
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Focus 2 Career Assessment (NC State student email address required)
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National Association of Environmental Professionals