Environmental Science, B.S.

Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology

http://www.cee.unc.edu

3301 Venable Hall, CB# 3275

(919) 962-1270

Amy E. Cooke, Director of Undergraduate Studies

amycooke@unc.edu

Violet Anderson, Student Services Manager

vmanders@email.unc.edu

This major is designed for students focusing on such topics as how material and energy are moved and transformed in complex environmental systems, the role of society in perturbing those processes, and scientific techniques that might be used to improve environmental quality. The program provides interdisciplinary preparation for graduate or professional training as well as for jobs in government, consulting, and industry.

Department Programs

Majors

Minors

Graduate Programs

Requirements

The environmental science program provides two options:

Environmental Science, B.S.

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
ENEC 201Introduction to Environment and Society H4
ENEC 203Introduction to Environmental Science Problem Solving3
ENEC 698Capstone: Analysis and Solution of Environmental Problems3
One of the following earth system science courses:3-4
Ecology and Evolution 1, H
Introduction to the Environmental Sciences
Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 1
Ecological Processes in Environmental Systems 1
Coastal and Estuarine Ecology 1
Environmental Chemistry Processes 1
Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems
and Water in Our World Laboratory 1
Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems
and Water in Our World Laboratory
Energy Resources
Two courses from one analytical skills option:6
Applied Math:
Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H
First Course in Differential Equations H
GIS and Remote Sensing:
Anthropological Application of GIS
Landscape Analysis 1
Introduction to Geographic Information 1
Quantitative Methods in Geography
Introduction to Remote Sensing of the Environment
Advanced Remote Sensing
Applied Issues in Geographic Information Systems
Geologic and Oceanographic Applications of Geographical Information Systems 1
Statistics:
Statistics for Environmental Scientists 1
Introduction to Statistical Computing and Data Management
Basic Elements of Probability and Statistical Inference I
Data Analysis in the Earth Sciences
Inverse Theory: Advanced Data Analysis and Geophysical Modeling
Statistical Methods I
Advanced Methods of Data Analysis
Basic Science:
Molecular Biology and Genetics H
Introduction to Organic Chemistry I 1, H
Five courses chosen from one of the following concentrations15-20
Additional Requirements
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H
4
COMP 110Introduction to Programming H3
or COMP 116 Introduction to Scientific Programming
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I3
MATH 232Calculus of Functions of One Variable II3
Select one of the following:8
Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
and Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
General Physics I: For Students of the Life Sciences
and General Physics II: For Students of the Life Sciences
Students are required to earn a minor in an allied science, such as biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, information science, marine science, mathematics, mathematical decision sciences, or physics.15
Enough free electives to accumulate minimum of 120 credit hours. 136-37
Total Hours114-121
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

 This course appears on a core requirement list as well as a concentration requirement list, but can only be counted toward one of the two.

2

Recommended courses are ECON 101; ENEC 202; one of the following PH courses: COMM 375/ENEC 375, ENEC 325, or ENEC 368/PHIL 368; and one of the following statistics courses: BIOS 511 or ENEC 562 or STOR 455.

Concentrations

Ecology and Natural Resources

BIOL 201Ecology and Evolution 1, H4
BIOL 272Local Flora4
BIOL 277
277L
Vertebrate Field Zoology
and Vertebrate Field Zoology Laboratory
4
BIOL 402Infectious Disease in the Developing World3
BIOL 463Field Ecology4
BIOL 464Global Change Ecology3
BIOL 465Global Biodiversity and Macroecology3
BIOL 469Behavioral Ecology3
BIOL 471
471L
Evolutionary Mechanisms
and Evolutionary Mechanisms Laboratory
4
BIOL 476
476L
Avian Biology
and Avian Biology Laboratory
4
BIOL 561Ecological Plant Geography3
BIOL 565Conservation Biology H3
BIOL 568Disease Ecology and Evolution3
BIOL/ENEC 256Mountain Biodiversity4
BIOL/ENEC 461Fundamentals of Ecology4
BIOL/ENEC 562Statistics for Environmental Scientists 14
BIOL/ENEC 563Statistical Analysis in Ecology and Evolution4
BIOL 657/ENVR 520/MASC 504Biological Oceanography4
BIOL 462/MASC 440Marine Ecology3
ENEC 222Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 14
ENEC 304Restoration Ecology4
ENEC 370Agriculture and the Environment H3
ENEC 462Ecosystem Management3
ENEC 479Landscape Analysis 13
ENEC 485Coastal Resource Economics and Policy3-4
ENEC 489Ecological Processes in Environmental Systems 14
ENEC/GEOG 264Conservation of Biodiversity in Theory and Practice3
ENEC 324
324L
Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems
and Water in Our World Laboratory 1
4
GEOL 324
324L
Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems
and Water in Our World Laboratory
4
ENEC/GEOL/MASC 450Biogeochemical Processes4
ENEC/MASC 352Marine Fisheries Ecology3
ENEC/MASC 433Wetland Hydrology3
ENEC/MASC 441Marine Physiological Ecology3
ENEC/MASC 444Marine Phytoplankton3
ENEC/MASC 448Coastal and Estuarine Ecology 14
ENEC/MASC 471Human Impacts on Estuarine Ecosystems4
GEOG 444Landscape Biogeography3
MASC 443Marine Microbiology3
MASC 445Marine Invertebrate Biology4
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

 This course appears on a core requirement list as well as a concentration requirement list, but can only be counted toward one of the two.

Environment and Health

BIOL 402Infectious Disease in the Developing World3
BIOL 568Disease Ecology and Evolution3
BIOL/PATH 128Biology of Human Disease3
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I 1, H3
ENEC 222Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 14
ENEC/ENVR 403Environmental Chemistry Processes 13
ENEC/ENVR 522Environmental Change and Human Health3
ENEC/GEOL 324Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems 13
ENEC/MASC 444Marine Phytoplankton3
ENVR 412Ecological Microbiology3
ENVR 413Limnology3
ENVR 416Aerosol Physics and Chemistry4
ENVR 419Chemical Equilibria in Natural Waters3
ENVR 421Environmental Health Microbiology3
ENVR 430Health Effects of Environmental Agents3
ENVR 431Techniques in Environmental Health Sciences2
ENVR 442Biochemical Toxicology3
ENVR 451Elements of Chemical Reactor Engineering3
ENVR 600Environmental Health3
EPID 600Principles of Epidemiology3
MASC 443Marine Microbiology3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

 This course appears on a core requirement list as well as a concentration requirement list, but can only be counted toward one of the two.

Water and Climate

BIOL 350/ENVR 417/GEOL 403/MASC 401Oceanography3
ENEC 222Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 14
ENEC/ENVR 403Environmental Chemistry Processes 13
ENEC/GEOG 253Introduction to Atmospheric Processes4
ENEC/GEOL 211Environmental Geology3
ENEC/GEOL 213Earth's Dynamic Systems3
ENEC/GEOL 324Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems 13
ENEC/GEOL 417Geomorphology3
ENEC/GEOL/MASC 411Oceanic Processes in Environmental Systems4
ENEC/GEOL/MASC 415Environmental Systems Modeling3
ENEC/GEOL/MASC 450Biogeochemical Processes4
ENVR 413Limnology3
ENVR 416Aerosol Physics and Chemistry4
ENVR 419Chemical Equilibria in Natural Waters3
ENVR 453Groundwater Hydrology3
GEOG 370Introduction to Geographic Information 13
GEOG 412Synoptic Meteorology3
GEOG 414Climate Change3
GEOG 416Applied Climatology: The Impacts of Climate and Weather on Environmental and Social Systems3
GEOG 440/GEOL 502Earth Surface Processes3
GEOL 202Earth Systems History3
GEOL 432Paleoclimatology3
GEOL 508Applied Hydrology3
GEOL 509Groundwater3
GEOL 510Geochemistry of Natural Waters3
GEOL/MASC 430Coastal Sedimentary Environments3
GEOL/MASC 483Geologic and Oceanographic Applications of Geographical Information Systems 14
GEOL/MASC 503Marine Geology4
GEOL/MASC 506Physical Oceanography4
MASC 312From the Equator to the Poles: Case Studies in Global Environmental Change3
MASC 314Earth Systems in a Changing World3
MASC 432Major World Rivers and Global Change: From Mountains to the Sea3
MASC 433Wetland Hydrology3
MASC 460Fluid Dynamics of the Environment3
1

 This course appears on a core requirement list as well as a concentration requirement list, but can only be counted toward one of the two.

Environmental Science, B.S.–Quantitative Energy Systems Track

This major is designed for students with a strong interest in water, energy, and sustainable natural resources, and interdisciplinary approaches to analytics, informatics, or business.  The degree provides interdisciplinary preparation for graduate or professional training as well as for jobs in government, consulting, and industry.

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
ENEC 201Introduction to Environment and Society H4
ENEC 203Introduction to Environmental Science Problem Solving3
ENEC 698Capstone: Analysis and Solution of Environmental Problems3
Two courses each from two of the following quantitative skills12-19
Informatics
Retrieving and Analyzing Information
Tools for Information Literacy
Foundations of Decision Sciences
Decision Making Using Spreadsheet Models
Applied Mathematics
Discrete Mathematics
First Course in Differential Equations H
Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences I
Introduction to Probability
Linear Algebra for Applications
Mathematical Modeling in the Life Sciences
Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics
Statistics
Introduction to Statistical Computing and Data Management
Statistics for Environmental Scientists
Statistical Analysis in Ecology and Evolution
Data Analysis in the Earth Sciences
Inverse Theory: Advanced Data Analysis and Geophysical Modeling
Statistical Methods I
Introduction to Probability
Advanced Methods of Data Analysis
Basic Science
Ecology and Evolution H
Plant Biology
Introduction to Organic Chemistry I H
General Physics I: For Students of the Life Sciences 1
General Physics II: For Students of the Life Sciences
Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity 1
Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
Modeling
Foundation of Programming
and Data Structures H
Foundation of Programming
and Computer Organization H
Environmental Systems Modeling
GIS and Remote Sensing
Anthropological Application of GIS
Introduction to Geographic Information
Quantitative Methods in Geography
Introduction to Remote Sensing of the Environment
Introduction to GIS
Advanced Remote Sensing
Applied Issues in Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Science Programming
Geologic and Oceanographic Applications of Geographical Information Systems
Four courses from one of the following concentrations12-16
Energy Management
Energy and Material Flows in the Environment and Society
Research in Environmental Sciences and Studies for Undergraduates 1
Directed Readings
Energy and the Environment: A Coastal Perspective
Honors Research in Environmental Sciences and Studies 1
Honors Project in Environmental Sciences and Studies
Environmental Chemistry Processes 1
Energy Resources
Energy: Physical Principles and the Quest for Alternatives to Dwindling Oil and Gas
Renewable Electric Power Systems
Decarbonizing Fuels
Energy, Transportation, and Land Use
Environmental Processes
Introduction to the Environmental Sciences
Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science
Mountain Biodiversity
Research in Environmental Sciences and Studies for Undergraduates 1
Directed Readings
Ecological Processes in Environmental Systems
Honors Research in Environmental Sciences and Studies 1
Honors Project in Environmental Sciences and Studies
Environmental Chemistry Processes 1
Major World Rivers and Global Change: From Mountains to the Sea
Wetland Hydrology
Biogeochemical Processes
Fluid Dynamics of the Environment
Applied Hydrology
Groundwater
Geochemistry of Natural Waters
Data Analysis in the Earth Sciences
Inverse Theory: Advanced Data Analysis and Geophysical Modeling
Modeling of Environmental Systems
Synoptic Meteorology
Climate Change
Applied Climatology: The Impacts of Climate and Weather on Environmental and Social Systems
Introduction to Watershed Systems
Smart Cities
Environmental Law and Policy
Coastal Law and Policy
Water Resource Management and Human Rights H
Environmental Economics
Research in Environmental Sciences and Studies for Undergraduates 1
Directed Readings
Community Design and Green Architecture
Environmental Decision Making
Coastal Resource Economics and Policy
Social Science Research Methods
Honors Research in Environmental Sciences and Studies 1
Honors Project in Environmental Sciences and Studies
Energy, Transportation, and Land Use
Ecology and Land Use Planning
Urban Transportation Planning
Public Transportation
Pedestrian and Bike Transportation
Urban Form and the Design of Cities
Additional Requirements
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory (CI, PX) H
4
COMP 110Introduction to Programming H3
or COMP 116 Introduction to Scientific Programming
or PHYS 331 Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I (PX) 1
4
or PHYS 114 General Physics I: For Students of the Life Sciences
or PHYS 118 Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II (PX) 1, H
4
or PHYS 115 General Physics II: For Students of the Life Sciences
or PHYS 119 Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I (QR)3
MATH 232Calculus of Functions of One Variable II (QI)3
MATH 233Calculus of Functions of Several Variables (QI) H3
Enough General Education courses and free electives to satisfy 120-credit hours. 251-62
Total Hours120
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

 Following courses are listed under multiple requirements in the major but can only be used to fulfill one requirment per course: ENEC 395, ENEC 396, ENEC 693H, ENEC 694H, ENVR 403/ENEC 403, PHYS 115, PHYS 118, PHYS 119.

2

 Recommended courses are ENEC 202 (PX), ECON 101 (SS), STOR 155 (QR) or BIOS 600, and one of the following PH courses: ENEC 325, COMM 375/ENEC 375, or PHIL 368/ENEC 368.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample Plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected 8 semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The Sample Plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

Suggested Program of Study for B.S. Major

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
4
ENEC 201 Introduction to Environment and Society H 4
MATH 231 Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 3
MATH 232 Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 3
Language level 2 (FL) 3
Approaches and Connections (two courses) 6
Lifetime fitness 1
Hours 28
Sophomore Year
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H
4
ENEC 203 Introduction to Environmental Science Problem Solving 3
One environmental concentration course 3
One earth system science core 3-4
PHYS 114
General Physics I: For Students of the Life Sciences
or Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
4
PHYS 115
General Physics II: For Students of the Life Sciences
or Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
4
COMP 110
Introduction to Programming H
or Introduction to Scientific Programming
3
Language levels 3 (FL) 3
Approaches and Connections (one course) 3
Hours 30-31
Junior Year
Two courses from the analytical skills core 6
Three courses from environmental concentration core 9
Two courses from a minor field 6
Approaches and Connections (three courses) 9
Hours 30
Senior Year
ENEC 698 Capstone: Analysis and Solution of Environmental Problems 3
Remaining environmental concentration core 3
Remaining minor field courses 9
Remaining Approaches and Connections courses 3
Enough free electives to meet 120 academic hour minimum 14
Hours 32
Total Hours 120-121
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Suggested Program of Study for the Quantitative Energy Systems Track

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
ENEC 201 Introduction to Environment and Society H 4
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H
4
MATH 231 Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 3
MATH 232 Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 3
Language levels 2 and 3 6
Lifetime fitness 1
ENGL 105 English Composition and Rhetoric 3
Hours 32
Sophomore Year
ENEC 203 Introduction to Environmental Science Problem Solving 3
MATH 233 Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H 3
COMP 110
Introduction to Programming H
or Introduction to Scientific Programming
or Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics
3
Two courses from quantitative skills 6
Approaches and Connections (4 courses) 12
Free elective course 3
Hours 30
Junior Year
COMP 110
Introduction to Programming H
or Introduction to Scientific Programming
or Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics
3
Two courses from environmental concentration courses 6
Two courses from quantitative skills 6
Approaches and Connections (3 courses) 9
Free elective courses 6
Hours 30
Senior Year
ENEC 698 Capstone: Analysis and Solution of Environmental Problems 3
Remaining environmental concentration courses 6
Remaining General Education courses and free electives to reach at least 120 academic credit hours 19
Hours 28
Total Hours 120
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Special Opportunities in Environmental Science and Studies

Honors in Environmental Science or Studies

Students in either the B.S. or B.A. degree program may participate in honors research leading to graduation with honors or highest honors. This distinction is earned by participation in honors research (ENEC 693H) and culminates in ENEC 694H, thesis writing and defense. Students should follow the guidelines established by Honors Carolina and meet with the faculty honors advisor, Dr. Geoff Bell, to ensure that appropriate requirements are fulfilled (Requirements can be found on the Honors Program Web site). Honors students can use three credit hours of ENEC 693H (research) or ENEC 694H (thesis), but not both courses, to fulfill a concentration requirement.

Departmental Involvement

The Carolina Environmental Student Alliance (CESA) is an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to uniting the environmental interests of students across campus. Participation is open to all students and community members with an interest in the environment. The Epsilon Eta Environmental Honors Fraternity is an organization dedicated to excellence in environmental education. Interested students are nominated for membership.

Experiential Education

Possibilities for experiential education include APPLES service-learning courses (ENEC 593), Coral Reef Ecology and Management (ENEC 259), Sierra Nevada Program (ENEC 208), internships (ENEC 393, ENEC 493), research (ENEC 395, ENEC 396, ENEC 698), and honors research (ENEC 693H, ENEC 694H). Additionally, a series of experiential education field sites is available in North Carolina and around the world where students may take coursework and conduct research for a semester. Fall semester field sites are offered in North Carolina at Highlands Biological Station (mountain/ecology), the Institute for Marine Sciences (marine ecology/geology), and the Coastal Studies Institute/Outer Banks (coastal policy and economics). Spring semester field sites are offered on the UNC campus (Sustainable Triangle field site), in Thailand (energy and pollution), and Ecuador (ecology or sustainable development). The Ecuador and Thailand field site experiences incorporate part of the following summer as well. Summer programs are offered at Cambridge, England (energy policy), and in the Galapagos (ecology). Contact our advisors about other opportunities. Faculty members often arrange Burch Program summer educational trips to such locations as Siberia, Russia (ecology and anthropology), the Sierra Nevadas (ecology and physical geography), and northern Europe (energy, sustainability, and communication).

Internships

Students are encouraged to apply for paid or unpaid internships in local, state, national, and international environmental organizations. Internship opportunities can be found through the environmental internships website. These internships provide valuable practical experience, and some may be conducted for academic credit.

Study Abroad

Exchange and other study abroad programs are available through the UNC Study Abroad Office. At some locations students may take courses for UNC credit, such as some field sites listed above. Students may take courses at other universities during study abroad and apply for transfer credit as well. We encourage students to participate in study abroad during their career at Carolina.

Undergraduate Awards

Undergraduates may be considered for the Watts and Betsy Carr Awards, Mary and Watts Hill Jr. Awards, and Robert Alonzo Winston Scholarships.

Undergraduate Research

All students are encouraged (but not required) to complete an independent or team research project. Such projects introduce students to the tools needed for graduate study. They also provide an important opportunity for working directly with the world-class environmental faculty members and graduate students at UNC–Chapel Hill, as well as in the many environmental organizations in the Research Triangle. The Triangle area contains one of the largest collections of environmental organizations and expertise in the world, providing unique opportunities for students to conduct research on an immense range of topics from fundamental scientific research to policy applications.