If you’re interested in solving problems such as pollution and climate change, you’ll want to prepare for a career in environmental studies. Environmental studies at CMU focus on the complex relationship between humans and the environment. Courses in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences will give you valuable insights about Earth-related issues at local and global levels. Integrate your education with global responsibility at CMU. Surrounded by the Great Lakes, you’ll make a great difference as an environmental expert in just a few short years.
Points of Pride
Located in the center of the Great Lakes Basin, Central Michigan University is a recognized leader in studying the Great Lakes, with more than 20 faculty in the Institute for Great Lakes Research supported by state-of-the-art facilities in Mount Pleasant and at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island. A $95 million Biosciences Building will provide additional opportunities for undergraduate classes and research.
Put Your Degree to Work
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 Studies Major
Advisors: Becker, Feig, Francek, Graziano, Heumann, Liesch
The Environmental Studies major prepares tomorrow's leaders to promote excellence in environmental policy and practice in commercial, governmental, and non-profit organizations, for the betterment of society, by providing interdisciplinary environmental knowledge, skills, and communication from local to global scales.
Total: 52-53 semester hours
Note: It is recommended that students select a minor or undergraduate certificate in consultation with their major advisor.
Core Courses I
Select one of the following:
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)
An introduction to the human use of earth resources and quantitative examination of select environmental issues resulting from the societal use/misuse of our planet. Quantitative Reasoning. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Core Courses II
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 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.
Foundations of Environmental Thought
Key perceptions, values, and theories that provide blueprints for how we as humans use, abuse, and conserve our environment. Prerequisite: ENS 101QR or ENV 101 or GEO 120QR.
Environmental Studies Capstone
Seminar format; discussion, analysis and written/oral presentation of research relevant to contemporary environmental issues. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: Completion of at least 31 credits selected from the Core and Required courses of the Environmental Studies major.
An introduction to the physical processes of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere and the global distribution of climate, soils, and vegetation. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Satisfies University Program laboratory requirement. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
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)
Research Methods in Geography
Introduction to skills geographers use to conduct research. Examines major methods geographers use for obtaining, analyzing, and interpreting data. Prerequisites: 9 credit hours completed in GEO major/minor, or ENV major.
Required Courses I
Select one of the following:
Introductory Quantitative Biology
Introduction to basic biological principles, including quantitative treatments of ecology, evolution, cellular processes, genetics and diversity. No credit towards Biology Major or Minor. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Quantitative Reasoning. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
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)
Introduction to the ecology and evolution of organisms, populations, and communities of the Great Lakes Region. Emphasizes identification of characteristic flora and fauna. Does not count toward Biology majors or the Biology minor. This course satisfies the University Program Group II laboratory requirement. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Required Courses II
Select one of the following:
Survey of Chemistry
Elementary concepts in chemistry. For students on curricula needing minimal chemical background or students who need additional preparation for CHM 131. This course provides suitable preparation for the successful completion of the laboratory courses, CHM 112 or CHM 127. Cannot be counted on a Chemistry/Biochemistry major or Chemistry minor. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: High school Algebra II or MTH 105. (University Program II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Science)
General Chemistry I
Introductory course covering fundamental concepts of chemistry including atoms, properties of matter, reactions and stoichiometry, electronic structure, chemical bonding, molecular structure, thermochemistry, gas laws. 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)
Required Courses III
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Statistics
Descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, statistical inference, regression. Course does not count on major, minor in mathematics. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses: STA 282, STA 382, STA 392. Quantitative Reasoning. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH 105 or competency.
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)
Select from the following:
BIO 334/GEO 334
A lecture/field course introducing the physical, chemical, and biotic properties of soils, soil classification and mapping, and soil resource issues. Identical to GEO 334. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. Prerequisites: CHM 120 or 131; one of the following: GEO 105, GEL 100, 101, 105, 130QR; or BIO 212, 213 with a C- or better.
Environmental Assessment and Practice
This course introduces the purpose and methodology of environmental impact assessment as a tool for environmental management and decision- making. Emphasis on National Environmental Policy Act. Prerequisite: ENV 310.
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.
Resource Perception and Utilization
Quantitative analysis of modern resource utilization; systematic examination of U.S. water and power distribution infrastructure; sociometric analysis of attitude and perception data regarding natural resources. Prerequisite: GEO 105 or 120 or GEL 100 or 101 or 105 or 130 or PHS 151 or ENV 101. Recommended: STA 282 or MTH 107.
Land Use Planning
Study of land use planning history, concepts and techniques. Analysis of federal, state, and local government roles in planning. Examination of specific land use programs. Prerequisites: GEO 203QR; 3 additional credit hours in GEO or PSC.
Landscapes reflect culture, environmental interactions, and land use. Emphasis on the form, function, and spatial pattern of professionally planned and ordinary landscapes alike. Prerequisite: ENV 101 or GEO 120QR or 121 or 331 or HST 302 or 319.
Causes and societal impacts of natural and human-induced environmental catastrophes such as fires, explosions, infrastructure failures, industrial pollution, and interaction of natural disasters and human- environment. Prerequisite: One of following: ENV 101, ENS 101QR, GEO 120QR, SEP 300QR.
Select from the following:
ANT 250WI/BIO 250WI/CHM 250WI
Water as Life, Death, and Power
Problems of water access, water-borne pathogens, water treatment, and power relationships in global cultures from anthropology, biology, and chemistry perspectives, via lecture and seminar. Identical to BIO 250 and CHM 250. Credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses. May not be applied to any Biology major or the Biology minor. May not be applied to Chemistry or Biochemistry major or minor. Writing Intensive. Recommended: ANT 171 or 170; BIO 101 or 110 or 111; CHM 111 or 120 or 131. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
ANT 370/SOC 370
Global Environmental Issues
Social and cultural dimensions of global population issues, food and energy policies, destruction of indigenous lifeways, roles of multinational organizations, environmental racism, and environmental movements. Identical to SOC 370; credit may not be earned in more than one of these courses.
Environmental Law and Policy
A survey of environmental laws and policies that affect business decision making, stressing macroenvironmental considerations and major Michigan environmental issues. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites: BLR 202 or BLR 235 or ENV 101 and completion of 86 hours or admission to graduate program.
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.
Advanced Geographic Information Systems
Advanced techniques of geospatial analysis, with applications in social and environmental systems. Prerequisites: GEO 303, 308; or GEO 501; STA 282 or 382 or BIO 500.
Investigates today’s environmental problems related to health, air, water, radiation, housing, urbanization, disease, weapons, and humans’ responsibilities for and remedial actions to these problems. This course may be offered in an online format.
Comparative Environmental History
Investigate complex relationships between humans and nature, considering such questions as why weeds, pigs, and germs were more important in colonial expansion than military campaigns.
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.