Requirements for the Major and Minor in Environmental Studies (ENS)

Environmental Studies (BA)

The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies major is designed to provide students with the analytical and communication skills and the broad background necessary to understand and address complex environmental issues. Environmental issues are not resolved in the scientific, technological, social, or political arenas alone. The curriculum is, therefore, interdisciplinary and integrates principles and methodologies from the social sciences, the natural sciences, and humanities. The goal is to address the complex scientific, legal, political, socio­economic and ethical issues that define and surround environmental issues. The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies prepares the student for further education and for entry-level employment in areas such as public interest science and advocacy, environmental conservation, law, journalism, management, television documentary production, ecotourism, population studies, and public service including public health.

To demonstrate depth of learning, an area of concentration is required of all students in the major. Additionally, a research course, an internship, or field study is an essential part of the curriculum to provide real-world experience in an appropriate subject area.

The Environmental Studies major (BA) is administered by the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. An Environmental Studies Academy and a minor, with a residential component, are also available. The Environmental Studies Academy, which is part of the Science and Society College, offers special programs, such as a seminar series showcasing faculty research and selected courses in the major and minor. Students may not pursue the ENS or COS minor in conjunction with the major.

Completion of the major requires approximately 62 credits. Of these, no more than one course (4 credits) with a grade lower than C can be credited to the major.  

Requirements for the Major in Environmental Studies 

Completion of the major requires approx­imately 62 credits.

A. Foundation Courses 

  • AMS 102 Statistics or equivalent (see Note 5)
  • ANP 120 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • BIO 201 Fundamentals of Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems
  • BIO 204 Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry in the Biological Sciences I
  • CHE 131, CHE 133 General Chemistry and Lab (See Note 4)
  • ECO 108 Introduction to Economics
  • ENS 119 Physics for Environmental Studies or equivalent (see Note 1)
  • MAT 125 or MAT 131 or MAT 141 or MAT 171 Calculus. If students do not place into MAT 125 or 131 or 141 or MAT 171 on the basis of the math placement examination, MAT 123 is a required course for the major.
  • PHI 104 Moral Reasoning
  • POL 102 Introduction to American Government

One of the following:

B. Core Courses (17 credits)

  • ATM 305 Global Atmospheric Change
  • CSK 302 Technical Writing and Communication
  • ENS 311 Ecosystem Ecology and Global Environment
  • One of the following: MAR 340 Environmental Problems and Solutions OR Population, Technology, and Environment
  • One of the following: ENS 301 Contemporary Environmental Issues and Policies OR CSK 305 Collective Action and Advocacy
  • At least two credits from one of the following courses: ENS 443 Environmental Problem Solving, ENS 487 Independent Research, or ENS 488 Internship

C. Concentration (12 credits) 
Students should select four upper division courses in a thematic area in consultation with the undergraduate director. Some sample concentrations are listed below, but other possibilities may be approved if discussed in advance with the departmental advisor. For all concentrations, appropriate substitutions will be permitted with approval of the undergraduate director.

1. Conservation Biology/Physical Anthropology
Four courses from the following:

2. Marine Science, Marine or Terrestrial Ecology
Four courses from the following:

Ecology themed:

Marine Science themed:

3. Environmental Law, Waste Management, and Public Policy
Four courses from the following:

  • EHM 325 Environmental Film, Media, Arts
  • ENS/POL 333 Environ. Law
  • GEO 313 Understanding Water Resources
  • HIS 302 Environ. History in Global Perspective
  • AAS/HIS 352 Environ. History of China
  • HIS 365 Environ. History of N. America*
  • MAR 392 Waste Management Issues
  • MAR 393 Waste Management Treatment Tech.
  • MAR/BCP 394 Environ. Toxicology and Public Health
  • PHI 364 Philosophy of Technology
  • SUS 366 Philosophy of the Environ.
  • PHI 375 Philosophy of Law
  • POL 320 Constitutional Law and Politics: US
  • POL 351 Social Surveys in Contemporary Society
  • POL 359 Public Policy Analysis
  • SBC 307 American Environmental History
  • SBC 308 American Environmental Politics
  • SBC 309 Global Environmental Politics
  • SBC 321 Ecology and Evolution in American Literature
  • SBC 325 Environmental Writing and the Media
  • SBC 330 Extreme Events in Literature

*These courses have additional prerequisites outside the major 

D. Communications

Proficiency in writing, oral communication, and computer literacy will be encouraged in all students. These skills will be developed within the context of formal coursework and no additional credits are required.

E. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

The advanced writing component of the major in ENS  requires registration in the 0-credit  MAR 459  and approval of either a term paper or a laboratory report written for an advanced course in  ​the ENS major   at Stony Brook (including Readings and Research courses).  ENS 311/BIO 386 or ENS 443 are preapproved for use with MAR 459 (or BIO 459 for BIO 386).  For students in the Ecology or marine science track of the ENS major, successful completion of MAR 459 or BIO 459 in association with a marine science or ecology course will also be accepted.  Students who wish to use material from a participating course should obtain the necessary form and present it to the course director prior to submission of the material. For MAR 459 the course director will grade the material and assign a grade for the appropriate section of MAR 459.  For BIO 459 instructions from the biology department should be followed.   For students in other concentrations, consult with the undergraduate director about the appropriate approach to fulfilling the WRTD requirement.

Completion of MAR 459 with a grade of S will result in approval of the WRTD requirement. 
 
Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with university graduation requirements for General Education. Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate. The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.

Notes:
1. PHY 121/PHY 123, PHY 122/PHY 124 or PHY 125, PHY 126, PHY 127 or PHY 131/PHY 133, PHY 132/PHY 134 or PHY 141, PHY 142 may be substituted for PHY 119/ENS 119.
2. Two credits of any course numbered 487 or equivalent with one of the following designators: ANP, ANT, ATM, BCP, BIO, CHE, ECO, ENS, EST, GEO, MAR, PHY, POL. In addition to other prerequisites, credit toward the major requires approval of the research topic by the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the Marine Sciences Research Center.
3. Two credits of any course numbered 488 or equivalent with one of the following designators: ANP, ANT, ATM, BCP, BIO, CHE, ECO, ENS, EST, GEO, MAR, PHY, POL. In addition to other prerequisites, credit toward the major requires approval of the internship by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
4. CHE 129/130 may be substituted for CHE 131.
5. AMS 110, AMS 310, ECO 320, POL 201, PSY 201, or SOC 202 may be substituted for AMS 102.

Honors Program in Environmental Studies

Graduation with departmental honors in Environmental Studies requires the following:

1. Students are eligible to participate in the Honors Program if they have a 3.50 GPA in all courses for the major by the end of the junior year. Students should apply to the SoMAS undergraduate director for permission to participate.
2. Students must prepare an honors thesis based on a research project written in the form of a paper for a scientific journal. A student interested in becoming a candidate for honors should submit an outline of the proposed thesis research project to the SoMAS undergraduate director as early as possible, but no later than the second week of classes in the last semester. The student will be given an oral examination in May on his or her research by his or her research supervisor and the undergraduate research committee. The awarding of honors requires the recommendation of this committee and recognizes superior performance in research and scholarly endeavors. The written thesis must be submitted before the end of the semester in which the student is graduating.
3. If the student maintains a GPA of 3.5 in all courses in their major through senior year and receives a recommendation by the undergraduate research committee, he or she will receive departmental honors. 

Study Abroad

Stony Brook University offers study abroad experiences that are focused on issues of sustainability in Costa Rica, Madagascar, and the Turkana Basin (Kenya). While issues of climate change, water and energy security, sustainable agriculture, environmental justice, sustainable economic development, conservation of unique and threatened ecosystems, population growth, and human health are important everywhere, viewing these issues through the lens of a different place and a different culture provides a valuable perspective. Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad experiences and to talk with their major director to determine how study abroad coursework can be used to fulfill some requirements for their major.

Undergraduate College Academy Minor in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Undergraduate College Academy, housed in the Science and Society College, offers a minor in Environmental Studies as well as activities that emphasize both scientific and social issues encompassed by the broad field of environmental studies. Through this program, motivated natural science and social science students are able to apply their other coursework specifically to the study of the environment. In addition, participation in the program adds a rewarding  academic component to each student's residential experience. The minor in Environ­mental Studies provides enhanced exposure to one subfield of environmental studies, the natural science of the environment. 

Requirements for the Minor

All core courses must be taken at Stony Brook University. No more than two courses applied to the minor can count toward the student’s major or other minor. No more than one elective course in the minor may be taken under the Pass/No Credit option; all other courses required for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. (Note: The P/NC option carries financial implications. All students should check with their financial aid advisor before choosing this option.)

Declaration of the Minor

Each ENS minor is open to all undergraduate students and takes approximately 4 semesters (fall/spring) to complete and students are encouraged to declare before the start of their sophomore year but no later than the first semester of their junior year depending on target date of graduation. Students should consult with the Faculty Director as soon as possible and plan their course of study for fulfillment of their degree requirements.

Completion of the minor requires 18 credits.

1. One introductory course chosen from the following:

2. ENS 101 Prospects for Planet Earth
3. ENS 301 Contemporary Environmental Issues and Policies
4. ENS 443 Environmental Problem-Solving OR at least 3 credits of (i) ENS 487: Independent Research in Environmental Studies; or (ii) research in any SBU department; or (iii) ENS 488: Internship in Environmental Studies, approved by the faculty director.
5. Two advanced courses chosen from the following:

  • ANP 360 Primate Conservation
  • ANT 420 Environmental Analysis Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems
  • ATM 397 Air Pollution and Its Control
  • BIO 351 Ecology
  • BIO/GEO 353 Marine Ecology
  • BIO 353/GEO 353 Marine Ecology
  • CHE 310 Chemistry in Technology and the Environment
  • EHM 315 Ethnographic Field Methods
  • EHM 320 Artists and Designers of the Environment and Ecosystems
  • GEO 304 Energy, Mineral Resources, and the Environment
  • GEO 315 Groundwater Hydrology
  • GSS 355 Remote Sensing GIS Data
  • SBC 308 American Environmental Politics
  • SBC 311 Disasters and Society: A Global Perspective
  • SBC 312 Environment, Society, and Health
  • SBC 325 Environmental Writing and the Media
  • SUS 301 Environmental Ethics
  • Any upper division ENS or MAR course