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.
Put Your Degree to Work
Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 11 percent through 2026, faster than the national average for all occupations. Program graduates are qualified for employment as environmental technicians, consultants, chemists and regulators. Graduates also may continue on to pursue graduate degrees in the fields of environmental and earth sciences, policy, and law.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2026|
|Environmental scientist||$68,910 per year||11% (9,900 more jobs)|
|Environmental science technician||$44,190 per year||12% (4,200 more jobs)|
|Hydrologist||$80,480 per year||10% (700 more jobs)|
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: 63-68 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)
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 101; MTH 130 or higher; CHM 131.
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; PHY 145.
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. Prerequisites: ENS 307 with a C- or better; MTH 133; STA 382QR.
Environmental models used to understand behaviors and interactions in complex systems. Includes design and building of environmental models, calibration, verification, and validation. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: ENS 401 with a C- or better or graduate status in a CSE program.
Required Courses I
General Chemistry I
Fundamental concepts of chemistry including stoichiometry, gas laws, thermochemistry, and molecular structure. CHM 131 is a first course for science majors. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Recommended: High school algebra or MTH 107; high school chemistry or CHM 120. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
General Chemistry II
Continuation of CHM 131 including solutions, kinetics, equilibrium, weak acids and bases, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. Prerequisite: CHM 131. Recommended: a grade of C or better in CHM 131.
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 105, 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: GEO 201 or ENS 101 or MET 101 or MET 140 or MET 260.
Limits, continuity, interpretations of the derivative, differentiation of elementary functions, applications of derivatives, antiderivatives, Riemann sums, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH 107, 109; or MTH 130. (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. Prerequisite: MTH 132.
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. Quantitative Reasoning. Prerequisite: MTH 130 or 132 or 133. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
Required Courses II
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 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. Prerequisites: complete minimum of 56 credit hours of university course work.
Additional Requirements I
Select one of the following options:
Option A - Quantitative Skills
Option B - Geographic Information Systems
Option C - Environmental Chemistry
Option D - Ecosystems
Option E - Geosciences
Additional Requirements II
Select one of the following:
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.