The science of our one amazing planet

Our Environmental Science major combines courses from geology, biology, chemistry and physics to immerse students in interdisciplinary approaches to scientific understanding of our environment. The complexity of questions around climate change, water quality, resource extraction, energy and food production, or rising ocean temperatures demands a knowledge not of one specific field of science, but a blend of them all. This program sets students on the path to discovering solutions through scientific inquiry and methodology.


Place-based learning

Our campus is situated where the Rocky Mountains meet the canyon lands of the Southwest—the earth’s crust rises and water ways carve deep channels through it, wind and sand efface its surfaces, and plants devise strategies to live in the alpine tundra at 14,000 feet, and the sun-baked sandstone at 4,000 feet. Additionally, humans have made significant impact on the region, mining, growing food, extracting resources such as oil, gas and timber, damming rivers and enjoying outdoor recreational activities. The Southwest is rich grounds for studying environmental processes—and our campus sits at the heart of it all.

Senior capstone: experiential and original

Lab Science - Gold King MineStudying in the Environmental Science program you have the opportunity to engage in authentic projects delving into relevant questions, and even to design and complete original research in a senior capstone project. This two-semester, multidisciplinary, science-based research project ties together the breadth of your coursework, with faculty mentorship. It involves field and/or lab work, data analysis and compilation, and includes the presentation of results in a public forum as well as a written thesis.

Academic options in Environmental Science

See the catalog for a list of course requirements to earn an Environmental Science major.