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ENV Certificate Requirements: Earth Systems Track

The Earth Systems Track is designed for students interested in the atmospheric, oceanographic, and environmental aspects of Earth’s natural processes and in understanding these dynamics in the context of the global environment. Students will select from among courses that address the geochemical and biological factors that modify the Earth’s surface; explore the evolution of Earth as a physical system; and probe the interaction of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere with the climate system

Two (2) Foundation Courses in Environmental Science and Policy

Students enrolled in the Earth Systems Track complete two (2) ENV foundation courses (one each in environmental science and environmental policy) by the end of their sophomore year. Under exceptional circumstances, substitutes may be allowed, but only with prior approval by the ENV Program Director.

One (1) Environmental Science Course:

  • ENV 302: Practical Models for Environmental Systems OR
  • EEB 321: Ecology: Species Interactions, Biodiversity, and Society


One (1) Environmental Policy Course:

  • WWS 350: The Environment: Science and Policy

Three (3) Earth Systems Electives

In addition to the foundational environmental science and policy courses, students in the Earth Systems Track must take (3) three additional courses at the 300-level or above, from the approved list below. Except with the approval of the ENV Program Director or the Undergraduate Administrator, at least one of these three electives may not count towards the student's departmental concentration or another certificate. In all cases, students are encouraged to meet with the Program Director or Undergraduate Administrator to choose an appropriate sequence of courses.

The courses highlighted below will be offered in the Spring 2015:

  • EEB 417B/ENV 417B: Ecosystems and Global Change
  • ENV 302/CEE 302/EEB 302: Practical Models for Environmental Systems
  • ENV 340: Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Solutions
  • CHM 333/ENV 333: Oil to Ozone: Chemistry of the Environment
  • GEO 361/ENV 361/CEE 360: Physics of Earth, the Habitable Planet 
  • GEO 363/CHM 331/ENV 331: Environmental Geochemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems
  • GEO 364/ CHM 364: Earth Chemistry: The Major Realms of the Planet
  • GEO 365: Evolution and Catastrophes
  • GEO 366/ENV 339/WWS 335: Climate Change: Scientific Basis, Policy Implications
  • GEO 370/ENV 370/CEE 370: Sedimentology
  • GEO 415: Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences
  • GEO 417/ ENV 363: Environmental Microbiology
  • GEO 418/ENV 364: Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry
  • GEO 419/ENV 365: Physics and Chemistry of Earth's Interior
  • GEO 423/CEE 423: Dynamic Meteorology
  • GEO 425/ENV 366: Introduction to Physical Oceanography
  • GEO 428: Biological Oceanography
  • GEO 430: Climate and the Terrestrial Biosphere
  • GEO 470/CHM 470: Environmental Chemistry of Soils

Senior Thesis

Students seeking to earn the Certificate in Environmental Studies are required to include an environmental dimension within their departmental independent work. The environmental topic must be approved by both the ENV Program Director and the undergraduate representative of the student's department of concentration. The environmental content of the senior thesis will be reviewed as part of the ENV Senior Colloquium. Students may consult the archive of ENV Senior Thesis Titles for a comprehensive list of alumni senior theses contributions.

ENV Senior Colloquium

The ENV Senior Colloquium is required for seniors pursuing the ENV Certificate and provides guidance in the development of the senior thesis. The colloquium is noncredit and serves to supplement input that students receive from their departmental advisers by providing the interdisiplinary perspective of faculty and other ENV students. In the fall term, colloquium participants introduce their thesis topics as part of weekly group meetings. In the spring, all ENV seniors participate in Discovery Day, a poster show that is the culminating event for the ENV Program, and is an opportunity to share outcomes of  their senior thesis research with members of the University community.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who have met the requirements of the Earth Systems Track within the Environmental Studies Program and their home departments will receive a certificate of proficiency in environmental studies upon graduation.