Environmental scientists use their interdisciplinary knowledge to investigate environmental systems and explore their relationship to our everyday lives. While studying environmental science at CMU you will learn to sample, analyze, model, interpret and predict earth system properties and address environmental problems. At CMU you will gain the knowledge and skills to understand and make a difference in the world around you.
Points of Pride
- CMU's location in the heart of the Great Lakes provides the perfect setting to study the environment, with state-of-the art facilities in Mount Pleasant and at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island.
- Fieldwork is a key part of the program’s courses, with multiple field trips to CMU-owned Veit's Woods and Neithercut Woodland to assess properties such as soil and water chemistry, streamflow, and erosion.
- Students in the program have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art software, field instruments and laboratory equipment that are used in industry, government and academic settings.
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Environmental Science Major
Students pursuing an Environmental Science major are encouraged to meet with an advisor during the first semester of attendance at CMU.
A minor is recommended but not required.
Total: 67-74 semester hours
Of Earth and Us: Introduction to Environmental Science
Explore environmental systems through examination of major issues facing humanity today. Topics include water availability and quality, climate change, sustainable resource management, pollution, and biodiversity. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Quantitative Reasoning. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Introduction to Professional Development in Environmental Science
Introduction to the requirements and opportunities of an Environmental Science career and preparation for success in CMU’s program. Prerequisites: MTH 130 or placement. Pre/Co-requisite: ENS 101QR.
Environmental Field Sampling and Laboratory Analytics
Covers methods used for sample collection and preservation (including water, sediment, and soils) and explores the analytical techniques used to characterize these environmental samples. Prerequisites: ENS 223 with a C- or better; GEL 308 or EGR 408; PHY 145QR.
Biogeochemical Cycling in the Environment
Earth systems approach to studying biogeochemical cycles from molecular to global scales. Topics include: climate, energy, water cycling, ecology, biosphere, carbon and nutrient cycles. Prerequisites: ENS 101QR and CHM 131 or EGR 203 and GEL 130QR; one of MTH 130 or 132 or 133.
Quantitative Environmental Data Analysis
In-depth application of quantitative, statistical, and computational methods used in visualization and interpretation of environmental datasets. Emphasis on field and laboratory data analysis. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: ENS 307 or EGR 306 or MET 312, all with a C- or better; MTH 133; STA 382QR or 392.
ENS 409/GEL 409
Professional Development in the Fields of Environmental Science and Geoscience
Preparation for entry into the fields of Environmental Science and Geoscience. Identical to GEL 409. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. Pre/Co-requisite: ENS 401 or GEL 370.
Required Courses I
Select one of the following options:
Required Courses II
Introduction to Environmental Studies
An overview of society and the environment. Topics include human population and resources, markets and commodities, institutions, ethics, risks and hazards, political economy, and constructions of nature. This course may be offered as Writing Intensive. This course may be offered in an online format. Recommended: ENG 101. (University Program Group III-B: Social Structures)
Water Resources and Hydrologic Processes
Study of water on Earth; includes atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. Explore interactions between the hydrosphere, biosphere, earth system, and human processes. Prerequisites: GEL 101 or 105 or 100 or 130 or MET 140 or MET 260 or ENS 101; MTH 105 or higher; Recommended: GEL 280; familiarity with spreadsheet software (i.e., Microsoft Excel or similar) is expected.
Introduction to the study of groundwater: groundwater occurrence and flow, groundwater in the hydrological cycle, groundwater quality and pollution, groundwater exploration, evaluation, and management. Field trip fee required. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: One of: GEL 100; or GEL 101, 102; or GEL 130; or ENS 101; MTH 132 with a C- or better. Recommended: GEL 280.
Climatology & Climate Change
A study of major climate types, their controls, distribution patterns and significance. Examination of the causes and implications of climatic change. Prerequisites: ENS 101 or MET 101 or MET 140 or MET 260 or GEL 201 or GEO 201.
Limits, continuity, interpretations of the derivative, differentiation of elementary functions, applications of derivatives, antiderivatives, Riemann sums, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus. Satisfies Mathematics Competency. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: MTH 107, 109; or MTH 130; or placement. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Techniques of integration, applications of definite integrals, improper integrals, elementary differential equations, infinite series, Taylor series, and polar coordinates. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisite: MTH 132 or placement.
University Physics I
Normally the first physics course for majors and minors. Mechanics of single and many-particle systems, conservation laws, statistical concepts, and gravitational interaction. Quantitative Reasoning. Pre/Co- Requisite: MTH 132.
Elementary Statistical Analysis
An introduction to statistical analysis. Topics will include descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, statistical inference, and regression. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses: STA 282, STA 382, STA 392. Satisfies Mathematics Competency. Quantitative Reasoning. Recommended: MTH 130 or 132 or 133. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Required Courses III
Select one of the following:
Basic economic understanding of environmental/ecological problems arising from a free enterprise system. Economists' solutions presented without advanced economic theory or mathematical computation. Recommended: ECO 202 or 203.
Environmental Justice: Race, Gender, Poverty
An examination of how environmental issues interact with inequalities in society including race, gender, and poverty within the United States and internationally. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Recommended: One of: ENS 101QR, ENV 101, GEO 120QR, SEP 300. (University Program Group IV-A: Studies in Discrimination)
Environmental Issues Management
Review of regulatory requirements and application of scientific studies to managing environmental risk. Case studies of risk management by the targeted community and regulatory agencies. Prerequisite: One of: ENV 101, GEO 120QR, ENS 101QR.
Water Resources Management
This course integrates social and natural science frameworks to examine water resource governance, allocation, and demand. Prerequisite: ENS 101QR or ENV 101 or GEO 120QR.
Energy and the Environment
Broad understanding of current energy system and its challenges, its interaction with the environment, and paths towards sustainable energy. Basic tools for energy-related policy questions. Prerequisite: One of the following: ECO 301, ENV 310, GEO 330, GEO 317, GEL 385.
Environmental Politics and Policy
Analysis of relationships between politics and public policy in the environmental arena. Emphasis upon policy making process, political strategies, and alternative decision modes. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisite: Completion of 56 credit hours or graduate standing.
Required Courses IV
Select one of the following:
Analyze biological data by appropriately selecting, assessing, and interpreting results of statistical tests including chi-squared analyses, t-tests, one-way ANOVA and correlation/regression. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 with a C- or better; or BIO 211 and a signed major in Neuroscience or Biochemistry; or graduate standing. Recommended: MTH 130.
Environmental models used to understand behaviors and interactions in complex systems. Includes design and building of environmental models, calibration, verification, and validation. Prerequisites: ENS 401 with a C- or better; or graduate standing in a CSE program; or STA 392 and Pre/Co-requisite EGR 306.
Geochemistry of Natural Waters
Geochemical processes governing the chemistry of water, with a focus on the distribution of natural and anthropogenic chemical species. Prerequisite: BIO 132 or 141; or graduate standing. Pre/Co-requisite: BIO 320 or CHM 351 or GEL 340 or ENS 323 or EGR 305; or graduate standing.
Applied Hydrologic Modeling
Design, construction, calibration, history matching, and verification of hydrologic models including rivers and watersheds, groundwater, and lakes. Prerequisites: GEL 380WI and 308 with a C or better; or EGR 408 with a C or better; or Graduate Standing in a CSE program.
Applications of Remote Sensing
Applications of active and passive remote sensing to investigate patterns and processes of the environment. Prerequisites: GEO 303, 308; or GEO 501. Prerequisites/Co-requisites: STA 282 or 382 or BIO 500.
Environmental Modeling with GIS
GIS model design and implementation as directed towards environmental issues. Raster data models, concepts, structure, functions, examples, and modeling capabilities are explored. Prerequisites: GEO 203, 303 and 305; or GEO 501. Recommended: GEO 503.
Select from the following:
Foundations of Evolution and Diversity
Basic principles of evolution and the application of these principles to the history and diversity of life. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Foundations of Cell Biology
Structure and function of bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotic cells including biological molecules, bioenergetics, membrane transport, respiration, photosynthesis, cell communication, and cell division. Prerequisite: BIO 111 with a C- or better. Prerequisite/Co-requisite: CHM 131.
Foundations of Ecology
Study of the relationship between organisms and their environment. Prerequisite: BIO 112 with C- or better.
Analysis and interpretation of quantitative chemical information from volumetric, electrochemical, spectroscopic, and chromatographic techniques. This course may be offered in an online/hybrid format. Quantitative Reasoning. Prerequisite: CHM 132. Recommended: MTH 107.
Descriptive chemistry of selected main group and transition elements, coordination complexes, structures and properties of solids. Synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. Prerequisite: CHM 132.
Environmental Chemistry of the Great Lakes
This hands-on field and laboratory course applies analytical chemistry to analyze air, water, and soil samples collected from Michigan freshwater ecosystems. Prerequisites: CHM 211; CHM 514 or ENS 223 or BIO 213; or graduate standing.
Principles of Computer Programming
Algorithm development and problem solving methods. Design and development of computer programs in a structured programming language. Pre/Co-requisite: One of MTH 130, 132, 133, 217. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Introduction to Environmental Engineering
Introduction to principles of environmental engineering with an emphasis on water and atmospheric quality; water and wastewater engineering; solid and hazardous waste engineering; pollution prevention. Prerequisites: MTH 132 or 133; permission of E&T advisor; cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Introduces geologic materials and processes from a quantitative perspective. Students will investigate, graph, and calculate rates of processes including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and groundwater flow. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Credit may not be earned in both GEL 130QR and 100, 101, 102, or 105. Quantitative Reasoning. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Application of geologic processes and quantitative methods to analyze engineering problems involving soils, rocks, surface water and groundwater. Prerequisites: One of: GEL 280 or ENS 401 or junior standing with a signed major in EGR; PHY 145QR. Recommended: PHY 146.
Stratigraphy and Sedimentology
Production, transport, and deposition of sediments. Emphasis on fundamentals of fluid flow, transport, mineral processes, physical properties, formation of sedimentary structures, and depositional environments. Field trip fee required. Pre/Co-requisites: One of: GEL 310; or GEL 320; or ENS 307.
Introduction to Geophysics
Students learn about geophysical techniques used to study physical properties and structure of the Earth. Field trip fee required. Prerequisites: GEL 280 or ENS 401; PHY 145QR. Recommended: PHY 146.
Introductory Petroleum Geology
Petroleum deposits of the earth: location, origin, and occurrence. Technical aspects of exploration and production, emphasizing petroleum and natural gas formations of Michigan. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Pre/Co-requisites: GEL 340 or 380WI.
Introduction to Geographic Information Science
Fundamentals of geographic information science - including spatial data gathering, measurement, classification, analysis, display and map interpretation. Current computer mapping technologies are used in laboratory. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Quantitative Reasoning. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Science)
Geographic Information Systems
Concepts and applications of geographic information systems (GIS). Acquiring, organizing, managing, and analyzing geographic data; visualizing and communicating geographic information. Prerequisite: GEO 203QR.
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing
Introduction to the fundamental principles and applications of remote sensing of the Earth. Prerequisite: GEO 203QR. Recommended: One of: GEO 105, 120QR, ENS 101QR, GEL 130.
Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
First order differential equations, systems of linear differential equations, matrices, vector spaces, linear transformations and eigenvalues. May not be counted toward major in Mathematics. Credit may not be earned in both MTH 223 and MTH 232, or in both MTH 334 and MTH 232. Prerequisite: MTH 133.
Vectors and surfaces in R3, vector-valued functions, functions of several variables, partial differentiation and some applications, multiple integrals, vector calculus. Prerequisites: MTH 133. Pre/Co-Requisites: MTH 223 or 232.
University Physics II
Temperature and thermodynamics, electromagnetic interaction, electrical circuits, electromagnetic radiation, and optics. Not open to those with credit in PHY 131. Prerequisite: PHY 145. Pre/Co-requisite: MTH 133.
Select from the following:
Introduction to spreadsheets and report generation concepts. Use of beginning and advanced features in a modern spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel. This course may be offered in a hybrid format.
Writing technical documents common in business, industry, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, e.g., reports, proposals, and instructions. Emphasis on readability, accessibility, suitability, and usability. Writing Intensive. May be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: ENG 201 with a C or better; 56 credit hours completed.
Special Topics in Environmental Science
Various special topics in environmental science. Repeatable up to 6 credits when content previously studied is not duplicated. Prerequisite: See course search and registration.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
Protocols for conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment including site characterization and history and identification of Recognized Environmental Conditions. Prerequisite: GEL 380WI.
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment
Protocols for conducting a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment including confirming and quantifying the presence of hazardous substances and/or petroleum products and risk-based corrective action. Prerequisite: ENS 349.
ENS 389/GEL 389
Well Construction and Design
Protocols for design and construction of groundwater monitoring and production wells in accordance with ASTM standards and national guidelines. Identical to GEL 389. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. Prerequisite: GEL 380WI.
Internship in Environmental Science
Internship in the field of environmental science. Prerequisites: Three or more courses in ENS program (2 of which must be 300 level or higher), permission of instructor.
Independent Study in Environmental Science
Research in environmental science with topics agreed upon by student and instructor. May be taken only by arrangement prior to registration. Prerequisites: Three or more courses in ENS program (2 of which must be 300 level or higher) or graduate status in a CST program; permission of instructor.
Hazardous Materials Technology
Characterization of hazardous materials at waste or emergency sites and related health, safety, and regulatory issues for persons conducting, supervising, and managing field activities. Prerequisites: CHM 120 or 131; ENS 307 or HSC 352 or IET 327; 55 credit hours completed.