Environmental Science, B.S.


Entrance Requirements

New freshmen who meet University admissions standards are eligible for admission to degree programs offered by the college. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  1. Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher.
  2. Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.00 or higher on a USC campus.

Some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences have special admission requirements established by the department or committee that supervises the specific degree program, for example, Cardiovascular Technology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. These requirements are listed in the sections of this bulletin that describe department and special degree programs.

Degree Requirements (128 hours)

Program of Study

Requirements Credit Hours
1. Carolina Core 34-46
2. College Requirements 15-18
3. Program Requirements 28-45
4. Major Requirements 34-46

Founding Documents Requirement

All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers.  This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective.  Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.

1. Carolina Core Requirements (34-46 hours)

CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher​

ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (8 hours) 

SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)

Note: Must take either both BIOL or both MSCI.

GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language  (0-6 hours)

Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.

​It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.

GHS – ​Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours)

GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours) 

AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)

CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (0-3 hours)

  • any overlay or stand-alone CC-CMS course

INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)

VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (0-3 hours)

  • fulfilled through POLI 201*, an overlay course with GSS, or may be filled by any overlay or stand-alone CC-VSR course

2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)

Foreign Language (0-3 hours) 

  • only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency

Analytical Reasoning (6 hours)

Course Title Credits
STAT 515Statistical Methods I (or higher *)3
Select one of the following:3
General Applications Programming (*)
or a higher level CSCE course
Ocean Data Analysis
MATLAB-Based Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences
Total Credit Hours6

Note: Courses used to fulfill the College requirements may not also be used to fulfill other degree requirements.

History (3 hours) 

The College of Arts and Sciences requires one additional GHS course beyond the Carolina Core GHS requirement. 

  • If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course.
  • If the Carolina Core GHS requirement is fulfilled by a non-U.S. history course, the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement must be fulfilled by a U.S. history course. 

Please select the College of Arts and Sciences history requirement from the approved list of U.S. and non-U.S. history courses.

Social Science (3 hours)

The College of Arts and Sciences requires one 3-hour Social Science course.

Course Title Credits
Select one of the following:3
Principles of Microeconomics (*)
Introduction to Economics (*)
Introduction to Economics (*)
Total Credit Hours3

Fine Arts or Humanities (3 hours)

A Bachelor of Science from the College of Arts and Sciences requires one 3-hour Fine-Arts/Humanities course.

Course Title Credits
Select one of the following:3
Environmental Ethics (*)
Classical Origins of Western Medical Ethics (*)
Ethics (*)
Medical Ethics (*)
Environmental Ethics (*)
Ethics of Science and Technology (*)
Business Ethics (*)
Engineering Ethics (*)
History and Philosophy of Science (*)
Ethical Theory (*)
Health Care Ethics (*)
Total Credit Hours3

3. Program Requirements (28-45 hours)

Supporting Courses (27 hours)

Course Title Credits
Select one of the following:8
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab (*)
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Lab (*)
Principles of Chemistry I
and Principles of Chemistry II (*)
Select one of the following:4
Introduction to the Earth (*)
Observing the Earth (*)
Landform Geography (*)
Select one of the following:4
General Physics I
and General Physics Laboratory I (*)
Essentials of Physics I
and Essentials of Physics I Lab (*)
Select one of the following:3
Environmental Economics (*)
Green Politics (*)
Environmental Policy (*)
ENVR 201Environmental Science and Policy I (*) 1,24
ENVR 202Environmental Science and Policy II (*) 1,24
Total Credit Hours27

Pre-major course that must be completed before taking major courses.


Must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

Cognate or Minor (0-18 hours) optional

This major does not require a cognate or minor.

An optional minor may be added to a student’s program of study. A minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University. A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z. An optional additional major may also be added to a student’s program of study. Additional majors must include all major courses as well as any prescribed courses noted (*) in the bulletin.  Prescribed courses noted in the bulletin may be shared with Carolina Core, College requirements, and Program requirements in the primary program.

A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z.

Electives (1-18 hours)

120 (or 128) degree applicable credits are required to complete any degree at USC. After the cognate, minor or second major is complete, any additional credits needed to reach 120 (or 128) total credits can be fulfilled by electives. No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.

4. Major Requirements (34-36 hours)

A minimum grade of C is required in all major courses.

Major Courses (17-18 hours)

All majors must complete at least 34-36 hours of approved courses which must include the core requirements of 17-18 hours. Majors must complete 17-18 additional hours in major elective courses to bring them to the required 34-36 hours total. Students are required to develop a program of study in consultation with their advisor. A minimum grade of C is required for all courses used to fulfill major requirements. Any modifications to the program of study require the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Course Title Credits
BIOL 301
Ecology and Evolution
and Ecology and Evolution Laboratory
ENVR 480Capstone Seminar in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies3
Select three of the following:10-11
Introduction to Environmental Engineering
Concepts of Environmental Health Science
Weather and Climate
Surface and Near Surface Processes
Total Credit Hours17-18

Major Electives (17-18 hours)

Students, in consultation with their assigned advisor, must develop a program of study which either provides a broad set environmental science courses or allows students to focus in a defined area. Given the current course offerings and faculty expertise at the University, if a student wanted to focus their elective course work, possible areas include: Natural Systems, Climate and Weather, Water Resources, Energy, or Humans and the Environment. All Students’ selective courses should include at least 6 hours taken at the 400 level or above.  All courses may be selected from ENVR designator classes, but if not ENVR classes, then no more than 3 should be from a single discipline and no more than one Research Methods course.

Courses Acceptable for Major Credit

Course Title Credits
From the Environment and Sustainability Program
ENVR 231Introduction to Sustainability Management and Leadership3-4
ENVR 321Environmental Pollution and Health3
ENVR 323Global Environmental Health3
ENVR 331Integrating Sustainability3
ENVR 348Environmental Racism and Justice3
ENVR 352Energy, Society and Sustainability3
ENVR 399Independent Study1-6
ENVR 460Congaree National Park: Field Investigations in Environmental Science4
ENVR 490Special Topics in Sustainability and the Environment1-4
ENVR 499Research in Environmental Science1-3
ENVR 500Environmental Practicum3
ENVR 501Special Topics in the Environment3
ENVR 531Sustainability Management and Leadership Strategies3-4
ENVR 533Sustainability Projects Course3
ENVR 548Environmental Economics3
ENVR 571Conservation Biology3
ENVR 572Freshwater Ecology3
From the Life Sciences
BIOL 302Cell and Molecular Biology3
BIOL 302LCell and Molecular Biology Laboratory1
BIOL 303Fundamental Genetics3
BIOL 420Survey of the Plant Kingdom3
BIOL 420LSurvey of the Plant Kingdom Laboratory1
BIOL 460Advanced Human Physiology3
BIOL 541Biochemistry3
BIOL 541LBiochemistry Laboratory1
BIOL 549Plant Physiology4
BIOL 570Principles of Ecology3
BIOL 570LPrinciples of Ecology Laboratory1
BIOL 571Conservation Biology3
BIOL 572Freshwater Ecology3
BIOL 574Marine Conservation Biology3
BIOL 640Microbial Ecology3
BIOL 654Speciation3
BIOL 671Plant Responses to the Environment3
Other BIOL courses may be selected as approved by student’s advisor
CHEM 321Quantitative Analysis3
CHEM 321LQuantitative Analysis Laboratory1
CHEM 331LEssentials of Organic Chemistry Laboratory I1
CHEM 332LEssentials of Organic Chemistry Laboratory II1
CHEM 333Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 333LComprehensive Organic Chemistry Laboratory I2
CHEM 334Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 334LComprehensive Organic Chemistry Laboratory II2
CHEM 623Introductory Environmental Chemistry3
CHEM 624Aquatic Chemistry3
From the Earth and Marine Sciences
GEOL 302Rocks and Minerals4
GEOL 305Earth Systems through Time4
GEOL 315Surface and Near Surface Processes4
GEOL 335Processes of Global Environmental Change4
GEOL 371A View of the River3
GEOG 516Coastal Zone Management3
GEOL 524Environmental Radioisotope Geochemistry3
GEOL 548Environmental Geophysics4
GEOL 557Coastal Processes3
GEOL 560Earth Resource Management3
GEOL 570Environmental Hydrogeology3
GEOL 571Soil Hydrology4
GEOL 575Numerical Modeling for Earth Science Applications3
GEOL 581Estuarine Oceanography3
Other GEOL courses may be selected as approved by student’s advisor
MSCI 305Ocean Data Analysis3
MSCI 311Biology of Marine Organisms4
MSCI 313The Chemistry of the Sea4
MSCI 450Principles of Biological Oceanography3
MSCI 521Introduction to Geochemistry3
MSCI 537Aquaculture3
MSCI 552Population Genetics3
MSCI 566Ecosystem Analysis3
MSCI 575Marine Ecology3
MSCI 579Air-Sea Interaction3
MSCI 582Marine Hydrodynamics3
From Geography
GEOG 202Weather and Climate4
GEOG 343Environment and Society3
GEOG 346Climate and Society3
GEOG 347Water as a Resource3
GEOG 348Biogeography3
GEOG 349Cartographic Animation3
GEOG 360Geography of Wind3
GEOG 263Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 365Hurricanes and Tropical Climatology3
GEOG 371Air Pollution Fundamentals3
GEOG 530Environmental Hazards3
GEOG 545Weather Analysis and Forecasting4
GEOG 546Applied Climatology4
GEOG 547Fluvial Geomorphology3
GEOG 549Water and Watersheds3
GEOG 551Remote Sensing of the Environment3
GEOG 554Spatial Programming3
GEOG 562Satellite Mapping and the Global Positioning System3
GEOG 563Advanced Geographic Information Systems3
GEOG 564GIS-Based Modeling3
GEOG 567Long-Term Environmental Change3
GEOG 568Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change3
GEOG 569International Development and the Environment3
GEOG 570Geography of Public Land and Water Policy3
GEOG 571Microclimatology4
GEOG 573Climatic Change and Variability3
Other GEOG courses may be selected as approved by the student’s advisor
From Mathematics, Statistics, and Engineering
CSCE 106Scientific Applications Programming3
CSCE 567Visualization Tools3
ECHE 300Chemical Process Principles3
ECHE 310Introductory Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics3
ECHE 311Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics3
ECHE 567Process Safety, Health and Loss Prevention3
ECHE 573Next Energy3
ECHE 589Special Advanced Topics in Chemical Engineering3
ECIV 350Introduction to Environmental Engineering3
ECIV 350LIntroduction to Environmental Engineering Laboratory1
ECIV 362Introduction to Water Resources Engineering3
ECIV 405System Applications in Civil Engineering3
ECIV 551Elements of Water and Wastewater Treatment3
ECIV 555Principles of Municipal Solid Waste Engineering3
ECIV 556Air Pollution Control Engineering3
ECIV 557Sustainable Construction for Engineers3
ECIV 558Environmental Engineering Process Modeling3
ECIV 560Open Channel Hydraulics3
ECIV 562Engineering Hydrology3
ECIV 563Subsurface Hydrology3
ECIV 570Land Development for Engineers3
EMCH 290Thermodynamics3
EMCH 529Sustainable Design and Development3
EMCH 553Nuclear Fuel Cycles3
EMCH 592Introduction to Combustion3
EMCH 594Solar Heating3
EMCH 597Thermal Environmental Engineering3
ENCP 290Thermodynamic Fundamentals3
ENCP 540Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing3
MATH 241Vector Calculus3
MATH 242Elementary Differential Equations3
MATH 523Mathematical Modeling of Population Biology3
STAT 516Statistical Methods II3
STAT 518Nonparametric Statistical Methods3
STAT 520Forecasting and Time Series3
STAT 528Environmental Statistics3
STAT 540Computing in Statistics3
From the Health Sciences
ENHS 321Environmental Pollution and Health3
ENHS 660Concepts of Environmental Health Science3
ENHS 665Biofilms in Environmental Health and Disease3
ENHS 670Environmental Pollutants and Human Health3

Research Methods Courses

Not required, but if selected, only one of these three may be taken for credit towards the major.

Course Title Credits
CSCE 145Algorithmic Design I4
ECIV 111Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Visualization3
EMCH 111Introduction to Computer-Aided Design3

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Environmental Science, B.S.