Program Information

The Environmental Science program encourages students to develop an appreciation of the importance to life and society of the natural and humanized environment in the past, present and future; an understanding of nature's integrity, including both natural and human processes affecting environmental change; insight into basic causes of and possible solutions to important environmental problems; and skills for defining and furthering environmentally sound action. Attaining these goals requires grounding in several disciplines as well as integrative study of environmental systems and environmental ethics and institutions. To accomplish these interdisciplinary objectives, the Environmental Science program has a two-tiered structure: a core set of courses, and upper level electives from which the student can choose to emphasize the natural or social sciences. At Willamette, the Environmental and Earth Science departmental offerings are concentrated in the fields of geography and geology. Geography is primarily concerned with explaining the spatial distribution of and relations among various features of the earth -- human and cultural as well as biological and physical features. Geology is the study of the Earth -- its chemical and mineralogical composition, the structure of its materials and the current and past processes that have acted upon it. Both disciplines are deeply concerned with the ties between the nature of our physical environment and the quality of human life. Four departments contribute additional faculty and courses to our program.

Education in environmental science may provide career opportunities in government service or business (e.g., resource management, environmental impact assessment) and in public interest work. It is useful preparation, especially in combination with a second major, for possible careers in teaching, journalism, politics, and business, or for those who plan to enter graduate or professional school in fields such as environmental science, biology, geography, public policy, law, public health or other sciences. For Environmental Science majors considering graduate study, a minor or second major in one of the contributing disciplines is strongly recommended.

The student in Environmental Science at Willamette is well situated to pursue his or her studies. For field study, a great diversity of environments and land-use practices can be found within a short distance -- everything from the Pacific Ocean to the Cascades, from wilderness to cities. As a state, Oregon has pioneered in many aspects of environmental management. The University's location, just across the street from the Capitol and other government offices, facilitates practical learning and involvement.

Requirements for the Environmental Science Major (14 Credits)

Common Core (9 credits)

  • BIOL 110 (NW) Principles of Biology (1) or
  • BIOL 125 (NW) Ecology, Evolution and Diversity (1) or
  • BIOL 210W (NW) Biodiversity: Discovering Life (1)
  • CHEM 115 (NW) Introductory Chemistry I (1)
  • ECON 132 (US) Introduction to Economic Inquiry (1)
  • ENVR 105 Introduction to Environmental Science (1)
  • ERTH 110 (NW) Physical Geology (1)
  • ERTH 112 (NW) Physical Geography (1)
  • ERTH 333 (QA) Geographic Information Systems (1)
  • POLI 210 (US) American Politics (1)
  • POLI 304W (AR) Politics of Environmental Ethics (1)

Senior Year Experience (1 credits)

  • ENVR 495W Senior Seminar in Environmental Science: Part I (.5)
  • ENVR 496W Senior Seminar in Environmental Science: Part II (.5)

Emphasis (4 credits)

Students will take 3 from one group and 1 from the other, depending on their emphasis.

Social Science Emphasis

  • ECON 345 Environmental Economics (1)
  • HIST 315 (TH) Western Civilization and Sustainability; Origin to 1600 or
  • ENVR 326 (TH) Environmental History (1)
  • ENVR 327W Water Resources (1)
  • ENVR 332W Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century (1)
  • ENVR 445 Forest Ecology and Policy (1)
  • POLI 341 Environmental Policymaking: Politics and Process (1)

Natural Science Emphasis

Requirements for the Environmental Science Minor (6 Credits)

  • BIOL 110 (NW) Principles of Biology (1) or
  • BIOL 125 (NW) Ecology, Evolution and Diversity (1) or
  • BIOL 210W (NW) Biodiversity: Discovering Life (1) or
  • CHEM 115 (NW) Introductory Chemistry I (1)
  • ENVR 105 Introduction to Environmental Science (1)
  • POLI 210 (US) American Politics (1) or
  • ECON 132 (US) Introduction to Economic Inquiry (1)
  • POLI 304W (AR) Politics of Environmental Ethics (1)
  • 2 electives from the social science and/or natural science groups