Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science is designed for students intending to prepare for graduate school or direct entry into a career as an environmental scientist or environmental manager in industry or government. Entry to the major presupposes prior coursework comprising the high school equivalents of two years of algebra, one year of plane geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, one year of biology, and one year of physics and/or chemistry.
The Environmental Science curriculum comprises a core providing a foundation of science and methods courses—introductory earth systems and environmental science, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics—as well as distributed electives in environmental science, environmental management, and analytical methods, and a capstone proseminar. GEOG 205 provides introductory research design, statistical and geospatial methods. Geospatial methods are then further developed in GEOG 603, which is a prerequisite for all advanced GIS classes. The GWAR course (GEOG 500GW) focuses on the physical and human dimensions of climate change, providing a rich source of topics for composition at the upper division level.
Student progress toward the degree is aided in that some of these core classes also meet lower-division general education requirements. Students will complete their entire Area B, Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning in GEOG 101 (Area B1 Physical Science), GEOG 160 (Area B2 Life Science), GEOG 160 lab (Area B3 Laboratory Science), and MATH 226 (Area B4 Quantitative Reasoning). They will also complete three units toward their Area D Social Sciences requirement in GEOG 102.
Electives are distributed into three areas:
- Environmental Science, including investigations of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, pedosphere (soils), environmental chemistry, and the biosphere;
- Environmental Management of managed lands and waters, natural resources, threatened species and livable environment; and
- Analytical Methods, including geographic information science, statistical analysis, and field-based environmental analysis methods.
Through choices in each area, students can tailor their program in a variety of ways, to focus on water, soils and agriculture, biotic systems, restoration science, coastal systems, bioclimatology, pollution management, protected land management, water resources management, or others. The capstone course, GEOG 690, prepares students for careers and graduate study.
Students are advised that the CR grade is acceptable in any two courses to be counted for the major. No more than one course counted toward major requirements may be completed with a grade less than a C–.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Students will investigate environmental systems from an interdisciplinary perspective including interactions between systems and interactions with human activities.
- Students will critically evaluate environmental plans, and strategies as well as resource management practices with respect to environmental sustainability and social justice.
- Students will utilize GIScience techniques to investigate environmental questions.
- Students will conduct field based sampling and/or observational studies, analyze results and critically evaluate the method.
- Students will design, conduct and report on independent research projects using appropriate and well developed methods
Environmental Science (B.S.) – 65 units minimum
Lower-Division Requirements (27 units)
|CHEM 180||Chemistry for Energy and the Environment||3|
|GEOG 101||Our Physical Environment||3|
|GEOG 102||The Human Environment||3|
|GEOG 160||Introduction to Environmental Science||4|
|GEOG 205||Geographic Techniques||3|
|MATH 226||Calculus I||4|
|The World of Plants|
|Principles of Ecology|
|General Physics I|
and General Physics I Laboratory
|General Physics with Calculus I|
and General Physics with Calculus I Laboratory
Upper-Division Requirements (6 units)
|GEOG 500GW||Physical and Human Dimensions of Climate Change - GWAR||3|
|GEOG 603||Introduction to Geographic Information Systems||3|
Capstone (3 units)
|GEOG 690||Senior Seminar in Geography and Environmental Science||3|
Electives (29-32 units)
Distributed as 11-12 units of Environmental Science, 11-12 units of Environmental Management, and 7-8 units of Analytical Methods:
|Select 11-12 units: Allows for one 3-unit course|
|CHEM 380||Chemistry Behind Environmental Pollution||3|
|GEOG 312||Geography of Landforms||4|
|GEOG 313||Earth's Climate System||4|
|GEOG 317||Geography of Soils||4|
|GEOG 342/ERTH 442||Surface Water Hydrology||4|
|GEOG 644||Water Quality||3|
|Select 11-12 units: Allows for one 3-unit course|
|GEOG 421||Future Environments||3|
|GEOG 427||Agriculture and Food Supply||4|
|GEOG/ERTH 642||Watershed Assessment and Restoration||4|
|GEOG 646||The Geography of Marine Resources||4|
|GEOG 647||Geography of Water Resources||4|
|GEOG 648||Management of National Parks and Protected Areas||4|
|GEOG/USP 652||Environmental Impact Analysis||4|
|GEOG/ENVS 657||Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources||4|
|GEOG 666||Geography of Garbage: Recycling and Waste Reduction||3|
|Select 7-8 units: Allows for one 3-unit course|
|GEOG 602||Field Methods in Environmental Science & Physical Geography||4|
|GEOG 604||Environmental Data Science||3|
|GEOG 610||Remote Sensing of the Environment I||4|
|GEOG 611||Remote Sensing of the Environment II||4|
|GEOG 620||Geographical Information Systems||4|
|GEOG 621||Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Analysis||4|
|GEOG 625||Programming for Geographic Information Science||4|
|GEOG 629||Coastal and Marine Applications of GIS||3|
General Education Requirements
|Requirement||Course Level||Units||Area Designation|
|Written English Communication||LD||3||A2|
|Arts or Humanities||LD||3||C1 or C2|
|Social Sciences: US History||LD||3||D2|
|Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD)||LD||3||E|
|Physical and/or Life Science||UD||3||UD-B|
|Arts and/or Humanities||UD||3||UD-C|
|SF State Studies|
|Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.|
|American Ethnic and Racial Minorities||LD or UD||3||AERM|
|Environmental Sustainability||LD or UD||3||ES|
|Global Perspectives||LD or UD||3||GP|
|Social Justice||LD or UD||3||SJ|
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
- In order to choose your English Composition A2 course and your QR/Math B4 course, please complete the online advising activities at writingadvising.sfsu.edu and mathadvising.sfsu.edu. Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.
- Select the row that matches your English course choice for A2.*
- Select the column that matches your QR/Math course choice for B4.
- Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.
|Course Choice||One-Semester Course||Two-Semester Sequence or Support Course|
|ENG 114||Roadmap A||Roadmap C|
|ENG 104/ENG 105||Roadmap B||Roadmap D|
* Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 201 or ENG 212 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.
Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)
For students with an an AS-T in Environmental Science. This roadmap opens in a new tab.
General Advising Information for Transfer Students
- Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
- The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
- a course in U.S. History
- a course in U.S. & California Government
For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.
Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).
Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.
Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.
Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.
Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs
Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.