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The Department of the Geophysical Sciences offers a bachelor of science degree in Environmental Science. The program is designed to prepare students to enter a variety of interdisciplinary fields in the environmental sciences, including the interface of environmental science and public policy. Students are given the opportunity to study topics such as the chemistry and dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere, climate change, biogeochemical cycles, ecology, conservation, and environmentally relevant aspects of economics and policy. Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged.
The department typically sponsors several trips each year that range in length from one day to five weeks. Destinations of trips have included areas as far afield as Newfoundland; the Canadian Rockies; Baja, California; the Caribbean; Italy; and Iceland. The shorter trips are mostly scheduled in connection with undergraduate and graduate lecture courses. However, the trips are open to all students if space permits. The longer trips are designed as undergraduate field courses.
The requirements for the BS degree in Environmental Science involve completion of:
 six required courses that fulfill general education requirements for the physical sciences, biological sciences, and mathematics
 seven required science or mathematics courses
 eleven elective courses pertinent to the major from the electives lists below, which must include
 four courses designated ENSC or GEOS
 one course in Statistics, and two more in any of Mathematics, Statistics, or Computing
 one to three courses in Social Science/Public Policy
Candidates for the BS in Environmental Science complete a year of chemistry, a year of mathematics (including Calculus III), and a year of biology (ENSC 24400 Ecology and Conservation, GEOS 27300 Biological Evolution, and BIOS 20198 Biodiversity), as well as PHYS 13100 Mechanics or the equivalent. (Note that some advanced chemistry courses require further physics as a prerequisite.)
Students are encouraged to begin disciplinespecific courses as early as possible. Required disciplinary courses include ENSC 13300 The Atmosphere, ENSC 23800 Global Biogeochemical Cycles, and ENSC 23900 Environmental Chemistry. (Note that ENSC 23800 Global Biogeochemical Cycles is typically offered every other year.) Of ENSC/GEOS science electives, one can be a field course, and one may be ENSC 29700 Reading and Research in Environmental Science. Students participating in the Semester in Environmental Science receive credit for four courses in environmental science, two of which can be used to substitute for ENSC 24400 Ecology and Conservation and ENSC 23900 Environmental Chemistry.
The major is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate students whose primary interests cover various aspects of environmental science. Sample course schedules below give examples of course plans appropriate to students focusing on climatology, conservation, and biogeochemistry. Students with a focus on policy questions may take up to three courses in social science/public policy. These courses are available through undergraduate programs in Economics, Public Policy Studies, and Environmental Studies, or through the Harris School of Public Policy.
Because analysis of data and mathematical modeling are fundamental to environmental science, the major requires six courses in quantitative methods: a year of mathematics, one course in statistics, and two additional courses in mathematics, statistics, or computing.
Note that while students taking calculus through the more introductory MATH 13000s sequence are encouraged to complete the third quarter of calculus, MATH 13300 Elementary Functions and Calculus III, in the higher tracks Calculus III (e.g., MATH 15300 Calculus III) is not specifically required or recommended, as the first two courses offer a sufficiently comprehensive calculus training for students to move on to other courses. Depending on the choice of electives, students may credit as many as nine Mathematics/Statistics/Computing courses toward the major.
Summary of Requirements for the BS in Environmental Science
GENERAL EDUCATION  
One of the following sequences:  200  
CHEM 10100 
Introductory General Chemistry I and Introductory General Chemistry II 

CHEM 1110011200 
Comprehensive General Chemistry III *  
CHEM 1210012200 
Honors General Chemistry III  
One of the following sequences:  200  
MATH 1310013200 
Elementary Functions and Calculus III *  
MATH 1510015200 
Calculus III  
MATH 1610016200 
Honors Calculus III  
Both of the following: **  200  
BIOS 20198 
Biodiversity  
GEOS 27300 
Biological Evolution §  
Total Units  600 
MAJOR  
ENSC 13300  The Atmosphere  100 
ENSC 23800  Global Biogeochemical Cycles  100 
ENSC 23900  Environmental Chemistry  100 
ENSC 24400  Ecology and Conservation  100 
CHEM 11300  Comprehensive General Chemistry III *  100 
or CHEM 12300  Honors General Chemistry III  
One of the following:  100  
PHYS 12100 
General Physics I * ‡  
PHYS 13100 
Mechanics  
PHYS 14100 
Honors Mechanics  
One of the following:  100  
MATH 20000 
Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I  
MATH 20250 
Abstract Linear Algebra  
PHYS 22000 
Introduction to Mathematical Methods in Physics  
BIOS 20152 
Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology (Advanced)  
MATH 13300 
Elementary Functions and Calculus III *  
MATH 15300 
Calculus III  
MATH 16300 
Honors Calculus III  
Eleven electives as follows:  1100  
Four courses designated ENSC or GEOS from List E1: Physical and Biological Sciences 

One course from List E2: Social Sciences 

Three courses from List E3: Computational Sciences, of which one must be under the heading of Statistics 

Three more courses from any of the elective lists, but only up to two of these may be from List E2: Social Sciences 

Total Units  1800 
* 
Credit may be granted by examination. 
** 
Only students majoring in Environmental Science or Geophysical Sciences may use this pairing toward the general education requirement in the Biological Sciences. Environmental Science and Geophysical Sciences majors can take these courses without the BIOS prerequisites (BIOS 2015020151/20152) unless they pursue a double major in Biological Sciences. They are expected to show competency in mathematical modeling of biological phenomena covered in BIOS 20151/20152. 
§ 
Biological Evolution has several crosslistings; Environmental Science majors must register for the course under the GEOS 27300 listing. 
‡ 
PHYS 13100 or PHYS 14100 are the preferred courses. PHYS 12100 is allowable on a casebycase basis but may not provide adequate preparation to allow for enrollment in higher level PHYS courses. Additionally, PHYS 12100 has a prerequisite of a year of Chemistry. Special petition to the department counselor is required for PHYS 12100 approval. 
Lists of Elective Courses
List E1: Physical and Biological Sciences
Environmental Science
ENSC 21100  Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage  100 
ENSC 23805  Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry  100 
ENSC 24000  Geobiology  100 
ENSC 24500  Environmental Microbiology  100 
ENSC 25200  Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast  100 
ENSC 29700  Reading and Research in Environmental Science  100 
Semester in Environmental Science/MBL
The following courses are the College designations for the Semester in Environmental Science that is taught at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. One quarter at MBL counts for four courses: ENSC 23820, ENSC 24100, ENSC 29800, and an elective of ENSC 24200, ENSC 24300, or ENSC 28100. Admission to the Semester in Environmental Science program is by application, which must be received by the MBL generally in March of the year preceding the start of the semester. Admissions decisions will generally be sent in April. Note that these courses start at the beginning of September, typically four weeks prior to the start of the College’s Autumn Quarter and are completed by the end of Autumn Quarter. More information on the course content and the application process, and deadlines can be found at https://college.uchicago.edu/academics/semesterenvironmentalscienceses. Students participating in the Semester in Environmental Science receive credit for four courses in environmental science, two of which can be used to substitute for ENSC 24400 Ecology and Conservation and ENSC 23900 Environmental Chemistry.
ENSC 23820  Biogeochemical Analysis in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems – Marine Biological Laboratory  100 
ENSC 24100  Ecology – Marine Biological Laboratory  100 
ENSC 29800  Independent Undergraduate Research in Environmental Sciences – Marine Biological Laboratory  100 
ENSC 24200  Methods in Microbial Ecology – Marine Biological Laboratory  100 
ENSC 24300  Roles of Animals in Ecosystems – Marine Biological Laboratory  100 
ENSC 28100  Quantitative Environmental Analyses – Marine Biological Laboratory  100 
Field Courses in Environmental Science
The department sponsors field trips that range in length from one day to several weeks. Shorter field trips typically form part of lecturebased courses and are offered each year. (The trips are open to all students and faculty if space permits.) Longer trips are designed as undergraduate field courses, and one such course may be used as an elective science course for the major. Destinations of field courses have recently included Baja California and the Bahamas.
ENSC 29002  Field Course in Modern and Ancient Environments  100 
ENSC 29005  Field Course in Environmental Science  100 
Geophysical Sciences
GEOS 21000  Introduction to Mineralogy  100 
GEOS 21400  Thermodynamics and Phase Change  100 
GEOS 22060  What Makes a Planet Habitable?  100 
GEOS 22200  Geochronology  100 
GEOS 23205  Introductory Glaciology  100 
GEOS 24220  Climate Foundations  100 
GEOS 24230  Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Foundations  100 
GEOS 24240  Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Rotation and Stratification  100 
GEOS 24250  Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Understanding the Motions of the Atmosphere and Oceans  100 
GEOS 26100  Phylogenetics and the Fossil Record  100 
GEOS 26300  Invertebrate Paleobiology and Evolution  100 
Chemistry
CHEM 2010020200  Inorganic Chemistry III  200 
CHEM 220002210022200  Organic Chemistry IIIIII  300 
CHEM 230002310023200  Honors Organic Chemistry IIIIII  300 
CHEM 23300  Organic Chemistry of Proteins *  100 
CHEM 261002620026300  Quantum Mechanics; Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics **  300 
Biology and Ecology***
BIOS 20200  Introduction to Biochemistry  100 
BIOS 22244  Introduction to Invertebrate Biology  100 
BIOS 23232  Ecology and Evolution in the Southwest  100 
BIOS 23252  Field Ecology  100 
BIOS 23254  Mammalian Ecology  100 
BIOS 23258  Molecular Evolution I: Fundamentals and Principles  100 
BIOS 23266  Evolutionary Adaptation  100 
BIOS 23289  Marine Ecology  100 
BIOS 23404  Reconstructing the Tree of Life: An Introduction to Phylogenetics  100 
BIOS 23406  Biogeography  100 
BIOS 25206  Fundamentals of Bacterial Physiology  100 
Physics
PHYS 12200 & 12300 
General Physics II and General Physics III ‡ 
200 
PHYS 1320013300  Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Optics, and Heat  200 
PHYS 1420014300  Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat  200 
PHYS 18500  Intermediate Mechanics  100 
PHYS 19700  Statistical and Thermal Physics  100 
PHYS 22500  Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I  100 
PHYS 22600  Electronics  100 
PHYS 22700  Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II  100 
* 
Enrollment in CHEM 23300 requires a grade of C or higher in CHEM 22200 or 23200 
** 
Prerequisites include MATH 20100 and PHYS 13300 
*** 
ENSC majors can take these courses without the BIOS prerequisites (2015020151) unless they pursue a double major in biology. Students are expected to show competency in the mathematical modeling of biological phenomena covered in BIOS 20151. 
‡ 
PHYS 1320013300 or PHYS 1420014300 are the preferred sequences. PHYS 1220012300 is allowable on a casebycase basis but may not provide adequate preparation to allow for enrollment in higher level PHYS courses. Special petition to the department counselor is required for PHYS 121001220012300 approval. 
List E2: Social Sciences
Microeconomics foundations
Students may take one of the following:  
ECON 19800 
Introduction to Microeconomics  
ECON 2000020100 
The Elements of Economic Analysis III *  
PBPL 20000 
Economics for Public Policy  
PPHA 32300 
Principles of Microeconomics and Public Policy I and Principles of Microeconomics and Public Policy II * 
Other social science electives
(Note that many courses below require microeconomics as a prerequisite)
ECON 19900  Introduction to Macroeconomics **  100 
ECON 26500  Environmental Economics  100 
ENST 24102  Environmental Politics  100 
PBPL 21800  Economics and Environmental Policy  100 
PBPL 23100  Environmental Law  100 
PBPL 24701  U.S. Environmental Policy  100 
PBPL 26530 & 26531 
Environment, Agriculture, and Food: Economic and Policy Analysis and Environment, Agriculture, and Food: Advanced Economic and Policy Analysis 
200 
PBPL 2775027751  Practicum in Environment, Agriculture, and Food Policy III  200 
PPHA 36921  Energy Economics and Policy  100 
PPHA 36930  Environmental Economics  100 
PPHA 38900  Environmental Science and Policy  100 
PPHA 39901  Policy Approaches to Mitigating Climate Change  100 
* 
Must be taken in sequence 
** 
Acceptable only if a microeconomics course is also taken 
List E3: Computational Sciences
Mathematics
MATH 15300  Calculus III  100 
or MATH 16300  Honors Calculus III  
MATH 15910  Introduction to Proofs in Analysis  100 
or STAT 24300  Numerical Linear Algebra  
MATH 2000020100  Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences III *  200 
MATH 21100  Basic Numerical Analysis  100 
MATH 20250  Abstract Linear Algebra  100 
BIOS 20152  Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology (Advanced)  100 
BIOS 2621026211  Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences III  200 
Physics
PHYS 22000  Introduction to Mathematical Methods in Physics **  100 
PHYS 22100  Mathematical Methods in Physics ***  100 
Statistics
Students may take any course in statistics at the 22000 level or higher, but recommended courses are shown below. Some courses require one of the first three as a prerequisite.  
Students may take one of the following:  
PPHA 31200 
Mathematical Statistics for Public Policy I and Mathematical Statistics for Public Policy II ‡ 

STAT 22000 
Statistical Methods and Applications §§  
STAT 23400 
Statistical Models and Methods ‡‡  
STAT 2440024500  Statistical Theory and Methods III §  200 
STAT 22400  Applied Regression Analysis  100 
STAT 22600  Analysis of Categorical Data  100 
STAT 26100  Time Dependent Data  100 
PPHA 34600  Program Evaluation  100 
The 30000 (and above) level courses listed below are a joint offering of the Department of Statistics and the Department of Public Health Studies, and may be suitable for Environmental Science majors.  
STAT 31900  Introduction to Causal Inference  100 
STAT 35800  Statistical Applications  100 
STAT 36900  Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis  100 
Computing
GEOS 25400  Introduction to Numerical Techniques for the Geophysical Sciences  100 
CMSC 121001220012300  Computer Science with Applications IIIIII  300 
CMSC 23710  Scientific Visualization  100 
CMSC 28510  Introduction to Scientific Computing  100 
* 
Recommended prerequisite is MATH 19620 or MATH 15300 or MATH 16300 
** 
Would generally substitute for MATH 2000020100 
*** 
Recommended in addition to MATH 2000020100 for advanced students—covers partial differential equations 
‡ 
Must be taken as a sequence 
‡‡ 
Higher programming component than STAT 22000 
§ 
Recommended for advanced students. Must be taken as a sequence to be credited. STAT 2440024500 have no prerequisite but it is possible to take both STAT 23400 and STAT 2440024500. 
§§ 
AP credit for STAT 22000 does not count toward the major requirements. Students with AP credit for STAT 22000 should plan to take at least three other courses from List E3: Computational Sciences, one of which must be under the heading of Statistics. 
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