Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies

Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies.

The Environmental Studies major introduces students to environmental processes, contemporary environmental issues and policies, geospatial technologies including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and qualitative and quantitative social science research methods. The Environmental Studies gateway courses are designed to develop the theoretical and methodological frameworks and tools necessary to understand the relationships between people and their environment as they interact through local and global connections. In required courses and electives, students examine environmental policy and the role of political institutions; the geography of natural resources; environmental decision-making; natural hazards and risk assessment; environmental ethics and legal issues; health and the environment; environmental justice; food access; etc. The electives give students the opportunity to develop an area of emphasis around their particular interests. Students focus on an individualized research project in their Senior Research Seminar. Each student's program is developed with a departmental advisor to suit individual interests and is designed to maximize educational and career opportunities. We encourage Environmental Studies students to incorporate a semester abroad and/or an internship into their plan of study.

The objective of the Bachelor of Arts program in Environmental Studies is to provide students with an understanding of:

  • How space, place, and scale shape the interaction between environment and society;
  • Critical thinking skills developed through examining a range of analytical approaches to investigate geographic, urban, and environmental processes;
  • Contemporary explanatory frameworks in Geography and Urban Studies such as political ecology, feminist and poststructuralist theory, and development theory;
  • The application of information technology skills to analyze spatial and temporal information, processes, and patterns through integrative research experiences;
  • Practical considerations of community and environmental organizational settings at the local and regional scales.

Summary of Degree Requirements

University Requirements:

  • MATH 0701 (4 s.h.) and/or ENG 0701 (4 s.h.), if required by placement testing.
  • All Temple students must take a minimum of two writing-intensive courses as part of the major. The specific courses required for this major are ENST 2097 and ENST 4198.
  • Students must complete requirements of the General Education (GenEd) Program. See the General Education section of the Undergraduate Bulletin for more details.

College of Liberal Arts Requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 123 credits, including:
    • 90 credits in CLA/CST courses;
    • 45 credits of which must be at the upper level (numbered 2000-4999).
      • For Social Science majors, 6 upper level credits (numbered 2000-4999) must be taken in Humanities Subject Areas: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek (Ancient), Greek and Roman Classics, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Philosophy, Religion, Russian, and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts, Art History in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, or any department in the College of Science and Technology.
    • A minimum GPA of 2.0, cumulatively, in CLA/CST coursework, and in the major.
    • Only courses in which a student receives a grade of at least C- can satisfy GenEd, major, minor, or CLA Foreign Language and Global Studies requirements.
  • Professional Development Requirement
    • All students in the College of Liberal Arts are required to take a 1 credit seminar in professional development. CLA 1002 Professional Development for Liberal Arts Majors is the appropriate course option for this major. Other courses that fulfill this requirement may be found on the CLA College Requirements page. Only one course in this category may count towards graduation.
  • Foreign Language/Global Studies Requirements:
    • All students must complete or test out of the first and second levels of a foreign language - these courses are numbered 1001 and 1002;
    • All students must complete at least one course from the GenEd Global/World Society category; and
    • All Bachelor of Arts students must complete one of the following options:
      • Third semester of a foreign language;
      • Demonstrated proficiency beyond the third semester in a foreign language (placement exam or certification from the language department);
      • Take one Global Studies course from the list on the CLA College Requirements page;
      • Study Abroad at an approved program; or
      • Take a second General Education Global/World Society course.
    • Notes on Foreign Language Study
      • The third level of language is numbered 1003 in French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese and numbered 2001 in all other foreign language subjects.
      • Students are strongly encouraged to take the third level of a foreign language as it is the minimum required for election to the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa. (Taking the course does not guarantee admission but not taking it guarantees exclusion.)
      • See the College of Liberal Arts Policies section of this Bulletin for more information on the Foreign Language Placement, Regression in Coursework, and guidelines for students' other experiences with language.

General Electives are typically one-third of a student's program of study and can be focused on a second major, a minor, or towards some other personal enrichment or professional goals. See an academic advisor for assistance in developing an academic plan for these courses.

Major Requirements (40-41 credits in Environmental Studies and related coursework):

Gateway courses
ENST 2001Environment and Society3
ENST 2002Physical Geography4
Research Methods courses
ENST 2097Research Design in Environmental Studies3
ENST 3062Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems3
ENST 3161Spatial Statistics3
Research Methods elective
Select one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Cartography
Environmental Remote Sensing
Qualitative Methods
Environmental Impact Assessment
Environmental GIS
Advanced Environmental Studies courses:
ENST 3004Geography of Natural Resources3
ENST 4198Senior Research Seminar3
Select three upper-level courses in ENST numbered 2003-4999. 19
Select one ENST course numbered 0800-4999 23
Select one course numbered 2003-4999 in ENST or from the approved electives list below.3-4
Total Credit Hours40-41

Double-Counting Across Curricula

Many students elect to take a combination of the Environmental Studies major or minor and the Geography and Urban Studies major or minor as they are complementary programs.

The ONLY courses that can double-count between the Geography and Urban Studies and Environmental Studies majors are: GUS 3161/ENST 3161, GUS 2197/ENST 2097, and ENST 3062/GUS 3062. When used for the major in either program, these courses may not be used to fulfill the minor elective requirements of the other program. 

Note GUS 4198 and ENST 4198 are NOT cross-listed seminars. Anyone pursuing a double major in Geography & Urban Studies and Environmental Studies must take both capstone courses.

Students may not combine a major or minor in Environmental Studies and a major or minor in Environmental Science in the College of Science and Technology.

Environmental Studies Approved (non-ENST) Electives List

Students may use one elective from the list below toward the Environmental Studies Major to fulfill the Approved Elective requirement. This requirement can also be fulfilled with any ENST elective numbered 2003+.

Note: Upper-level Science and Liberal Arts courses from this list can be used to satisfy the CLA 45 credit upper-level distribution requirement, but not all courses below are offered within the College of Liberal Arts or College of Science and Technology. Please consult with a CLA Academic Advisor.

ANTH 2705Introduction to Evolutionary Anthropology4
ANTH 3774Environmental Physiology and Health3
BIOL 2227Principles of Ecology3
BIOL 3244Experimental Marine Biology4
BIOL 3245Marine Ecology4
BIOL 3316Tropical Marine Biology4
BIOL 3336Freshwater Ecology4
BIOL 4327Biological Impacts of Global Climate Change3
BOT 1112Plant Ecology 13
CEE 4531Life Cycle Assessment and Carbon Footprinting3
CTRP 2114Urban Form and Design3
CTRP 2213Environmental Planning3
CTRP 3256Sustainable Community Design and Development3
ECON 3513Economics of State and Local Governments3
ECON 3512Public Finance3
EES 2096Climate Change: Oceans To Atmosphere4
EES 2021Sedimentary Environments4
EES 2061Introduction to Geochemistry4
EES 3011Remote Sensing and GIS4
EES 3021Groundwater Hydrology4
ENVH 2102Environmental Health3
ENVT 4761Environmental Regulations3
HORT 2114Soils3
HORT 2334Food Crops I3
HORT 2353Food Crops II3
HORT 2552Trees in the Urban Landscape2
HORT 2575Introduction to Public Horticulture3
HORT 3514Landscape Restoration3
JRN 3253Health and Environmental Writing3
LARC 2144Landscape Architecture Design Studio II6
LARC 2496Landscape Traditions3
LARC 2758Summer Field Ecology3

Distinction in Major

Environmental Studies majors may graduate with distinction in major with a 3.5 in Environmental Studies coursework and a 3.0 GPA overall.

Suggested Academic Plan

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies

Requirements for New Students starting in the 2022-2023 Academic Year

Year 1
FallCredit Hours
ENG 0802, 0812, or 0902Analytical Reading and Writing [GW]4
GenEd Quantitative Literacy Course [GQ]4
Foreign Language 1001 - first level4
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours15
IH 0851 or 0951Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life [GY]3
Foreign Language 1002 - second level4
GenEd Breadth Course3
GenEd Breadth Course3
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 2
IH 0852 or 0952Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good [GZ]3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective3
ENST 2001Environment and Society3
GenEd Breadth Course3
Select one of the following:3
Foreign Language - third level
GenEd World Society Course
Internationally Focused Course From Approved List
 Term Credit Hours15
ENST 2002Physical Geography4
ENST 2097Research Design in Environmental Studies [WI]3
CLA 1002Professional Development for Liberal Arts Majors1
GenEd Breadth Course3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective4
 Term Credit Hours15
Year 3
ENST 3062Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems3
ENST 3004Geography of Natural Resources3
ENST Major Elective 0800-49993
GenEd Breadth3
CLA/CST 2000+ Humanities/CST Course3
One 0800-4999 Elective in Any School or College2
 Term Credit Hours17
ENST 3161Spatial Statistics3
ENST Research Methods Course (from list)3
ENST Major Elective 2003-49993
CLA/CST 2000+ Humanities/CST Course3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Elective3
 Term Credit Hours15
Year 4
CLA/CST 2000+ Electives5
ENST Major Electives 2003-49996
ENST Major Elective 2003-4999 or Elective from Approved List (see major description)3
 Term Credit Hours14
ENST 4198Senior Research Seminar [WI]3
CLA/CST 0800-4999 Electives13
 Term Credit Hours16
 Total Credit Hours: 123