Wake Forest University is launching two new majors in Environment and Sustainability: a BA in Environment and Sustainability Studies, and a BA in Environmental Science. Click to find out about the requirements for each. Please note that new courses are added every semester. To add your name to our listserv so that you can keep abreast of the latest additions and upcoming events, please contact the Environmental Program Administrators

MANY CAREER PATHS

The intersection of earth systems and human systems presents the leading challenges and opportunities for the 21st century and beyond for all species on the planet. Given the breadth of the disciplines required to answer even narrow questions at this crossroads, both the study and application of environment and sustainability are exercises in the engaged liberal arts. At this intersection lies central questions of environmental management and environmental justice, of global function, global changes, and global interactions. Engagement on these questions presents an opportunity for learning, for expanding the frontiers of basic knowledge, for building positive collaborations across society, and for inspiring positive change.

The occupational outlook for this field is strong and will become ever more so as deepening environmental crises intersect with unsustainable population growth, resource degradation, water scarcity, land use changes, and global losses in species biodiversity. The Environment and Sustainbility majors prepare students for careers in environmental and ecological science, environmental policy and public engagement, environmental law, environmental communications, civic and municipal sustainability, and social and environmental activism.

Build Your Future

The Environment and Sustainability Major pursues a robust interdisciplinary approach to the study of human relationships with the environment. The goals of the major are to endow students with the necessary knowledge, wisdom, and experience to understand the complex, interrelated systems that determine how humans interact with their environments and to research and develop more sustainable relationships between humans and the non-human natural world. As such, the major emphasizes scientific, humanistic, and social science literacies across disciplines in order to foster critical thinking, global awareness, personal efficacy, and complex systems analysis in the service of pragmatic solutions to global environmental issues. Core courses in the major establish a foundation in the biological and earth sciences and introduce students to the cultural, social, economic, and political dimensions of human-environment interactions.

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Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science

The goal of the Environmental Science major is to train students to become proficient in the biological, chemical, physical, and earth sciences, and to develop social and cultural awareness of complex environmental problems. The Environmental Science major preparation requires two full years of introductory biology, chemistry, physics, and data science to develop a student’s technical, quantitative, ecological, and analytical skills. Upper-division studies, while still interdisciplinary and flexible, limit the number of social science and humanities courses a student may take. The majority of electives emphasize the physical and natural science disciplines to enhance the student’s understanding of earth system sciences and the role they play in environmental problems.

Major Requirements – 38 hours

Area 1: Environment and Sustainability Core Requirements (17 hours)

  • ENV 201 – Global Environmental Issues – (3)
  • ENV 203 – Leadership for Sustainability (3)
  • ENV 220 – Earth Systems – (3)
  • BIO 150 – Biology I – (4)
  • BIO 160 – Biology II – (4)

Note: students can substitute Bio 114 for Bio 150, and Bio 113 for Bio 160

Area 2: Co-Required Courses (should be taken during the first 2 years; 7 hours)

  • CHM 111 – College Chemistry I (4)
  • One additional quantitative methods course of the student’s choosing

Area 3: Natural Science Requirements – Upper Division Electives (9 hours)

* = BIO 150 and BIO 160 are prerequisites

** = CHM 111, BIO 150, and BIO 160 are prerequisites

  • BIO 220 – Field Biology & Natural History (3) *
  • BIO 235 – Genetics & Evolution (3) *
  • BIO 245 – Comparative Animal Physiology (3) *
  • BIO 312 & 312L – Ecology (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 313 & 313L – Community Ecology (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 314 – Ecology and Resource Management of Southeast Australia (4) *
  • BIO 315 – Ecology and Conservation Biology of Coral Reefs (4) *
  • BIO 316 – Land and Natural Resource Management (3) *
  • BIO 318 – Conservation Biology (3)
  • BIO 319 & 319L – Physiological Plant Ecology (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 322 & 322L – Oceanography (3 or 4) **
  • BIO 323 – Population Genetics (3) *
  • BIO 324 & 324L – Biogeography (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 325 – Tropical Biodiversity (4)
  • BIO 326 – Plant Diversity (3) *
  • BIO 329 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (4)
  • BIO 333 & 333L – Plant Physiology and Development (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 335 – Insect Biology (4) *
  • BIO 336 – Biology of Birds (4) *
  • BIO 337 – Herpetology (4) *
  • BIO 343 & 343L – Animal Behavior (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 357 – Bioinspiration and Biomimetics (3)
  • BIO 380 – Biostatistics (3) *

Area 4: Social Science, Humanities, Policy, and Sustainable Design (9 hours)

Social Science Electives

  • ANT 339 – Culture and Nature: Introduction to Environmental Anthropology (3)
  • ECN 241 – Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (3)
  • POL 210a – Environmental Policy (3)
  • POL 281 – Environmental Political Thought (3)

Humanities Electives

  • ART 121 – Design Studio: Ethics and Aesthetics (3)
  •     ENG 341 – Literature and the Environment (3)
  • ENG 356 – Literature of the Caribbean (3)
  • HMN 292 – Environmentalism, the Humanities, and Gender (3)
  • HMN 365 – Humanity and Nature (3)
  • HST 112 – Big History: A History of the Cosmos and Humanity’s Place in It (3)
  • HST 350 – World Economic History: Globalization, Wealth and Poverty, 1500-Present (3 h)
  • HST 3XX – U.S. Environmental History (3)
  • JOU 375/BIO 301 – Science Writing for the Public
  • JOU 375b – Environmental Journalism
  • REL 341 – Religion and Ecology (3)

 Area 5: Applied Sustainability (3 – 6 hours)

  • ENT 335 – Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship: Science, Policy, and Economics (4)
  • ENT 351 – Green Technologies: Science and Entrepreneurship (2 – 3)
  • ENV 394 – Environmental Internship (1 – 4)
  • ENV 395 – Sustainability Lab / Clinic (4)
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Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Sustainability

The Environment and Sustainbility Major encourages interdisciplinary inquiry by providing the necessary flexibility for students to explore the social, cultural, and scientific issues pertaining to the environment. Students will develop college-level scientific literacy in biology, earth sciences, and chemistry as a platform for upper-division coursework in the physical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. At the upper-division level, students may choose from an array of social science and humanities electives in order to apply sophisticated, appropriate, and practical solutions to global problems using diverse, interdisciplinary perspectives.

Students may advance through the degree in a broad-based manner, but our expectation is that they will focus on a particular concentration, for example:

  • Environment and Health
  • Conservation Science
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Computational Sustainability and Data Science

Major Requirements – 35 hours

Area 1: Environment and Sustainability Core Requirements (17 hours)

  • ENV 201 – Global Environmental Issues – (3)
  • ENV 203 – Leadership for Sustainability (3)
  • ENV 220 – Earth Systems – (3)
  • BIO 150 – Biology 1 (4)
  • BIO 160 – Biology 2 (4)

Note: students can substitute Bio 114 for Bio 150, and Bio 113 for Bio 160

Area 2: Co-Required Courses (should be taken during the first 2 years – 4 hours)

  • CHM / PHY 120 – Physics and Chemistry of the environment (4)

Area 3: Natural Science Requirements – Upper Division Electives (3 to 6 hours)

* = BIO 150 and BIO 160 are prerequisites

** = CHM 111, BIO 150, and BIO 160 are prerequisites

  • BIO 220 – Field Biology & Natural History (3) *
  • BIO 235 – Genetics & Evolution (3) *
  • BIO 245 – Comparative Animal Physiology (3) *
  • BIO 312 & 312L – Ecology (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 313 & 313L – Community Ecology (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 314 – Ecology and Resource Management of Southeast Australia (4) *
  • BIO 315 – Ecology and Conservation Biology of Coral Reefs (4) *
  • BIO 316 – Land and Natural Resource Management (3) *
  • BIO 318 – Conservation Biology (3)
  • BIO 319 & 319L – Physiological Plant Ecology (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 322 & 322L – Oceanography (3 or 4) **
  • BIO 323 – Population Genetics (3) *
  • BIO 324 & 324L – Biogeography (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 325 – Tropical Biodiversity (4)
  • BIO 326 – Plant Diversity (3) * [
  • BIO 329 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (4)
  • BIO 333 & 333L – Plant Physiology and Development (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 335 – Insect Biology (4) *
  • BIO 336 – Biology of Birds (4) *
  • BIO 337 – Herpetology (4) *
  • BIO 343 & 343L – Animal Behavior (3 or 4) *
  • BIO 357 – Bioinspiration and Biomimetics (3)
  • BIO 380 – Biostatistics (3) *

Area 4: Social Science, Humanities, Policy, and Sustainable Design (12 hours)

Social Science Electives

  • ANT 339 – Culture and Nature: Introduction to Environmental Anthropology (3)
  • ECN 241 – Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (3)
  • POL 210a – Environmental Policy (3)
  • POL 281 – Environmental Political Thought (3)

Humanities Electives

  • ART 121 – Design Studio: Ethics and Aesthetics (3)
  • ENG 341 – Literature and the Environment (3)
  • ENG 356 – Literature of the Caribbean (3)
  • HMN 292 – Environmentalism, the Humanities, and Gender (3)
  • HMN 365 – Humanity and Nature (3)
  • HST 112 – Big History: A History of the Cosmos and Humanity’s Place in It (3)
  • HST 350 – World Economic History: Globalization, Wealth and Poverty, 1500-Present (3 h)
  • HST 3XX – U.S. Environmental History (3)
  • JOU 375/BIO 301 – Science Writing for the Public
  •  JOU 375b – Environmental Journalism
  • REL 341 – Religion and Ecology (3)

Area 5: Applied Sustainability (3 – 6 hours)

  • ENT 335 – Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship: Science, Policy, and Economics (4)
  • ENT 351 – Green Technologies: Science and Entrepreneurship (2 – 3)
  • ENV 394 – Environmental Internship (1 – 4)
  • ENV 395 – Sustainability Lab / Clinic (4)

Learn More
Planning Course tracks towards graduation

(with a BA in either Environmental Science or Environment and Sustainability Studies)

Env major courses common to both tracks are in italics

Courses specific for Environmental Science are in Red

Courses specific for Environment and Sustainability Studies are in Blue

Does not include additional electives outside the major

Year Fall Spring Suggestions & Notes
Freshman Area 1: Env 201 (3)

Area 1: Bio 150 (4)

Area 2: Chm 111 (4)

Or Area 1: Bio 150 (4)

Language (3)

Divisional (3)

Divisional (3)

Area 1: Env 203 (3)

Area 1: Bio 160 (4)

Area 1: Bio 150 (4)

Or Area 1: Bio 160 (4)

Language (3)

Divisional (3)

Divisional (3)

Choose Divisionals that are Env Electives or Prereqs — Examples:

Art 121 (D, Env)

Ecn 150 (Prereq for 241)

Hst 112 (CD, D, Env)

In fall, Science track can take either Bio 150 or Chm 111.  Chm 111 is taught only in fall semesters

Sophomore Area 1: Env 220 (3)

Area 1: Bio 160

Or Area 2: Chm 111 (4)

Area 2: Chm/Phy 120

Language (3)

Divisional (3)

Divisional (3)

Area 2: Elective (3 or 4)

Language (3)

Divisional (3)

Area 3: Elective (3 or 4)

Area 4: Elective (3)

Sta 111 (Statistics, QR,D)

Areas 1 & 2 completed.

Divisionals completed.

Junior Area 5: Ent 335 (4)

Area 3 elective (3 or 4)

Area 4 elective (3)

Area 5: Ent 351 (3)

Area 3 elective (3 or 4)

Area 4 elective (3)

Science needs 9 hours each in Areas 3 & 4.

Sustainability needs 3-6 in Area 3 and 12 hours in  Area 4.

Senior Area 5: Env 394 (1-4)

Area 3 or 4 elective as needed (3 or 4)

Area 5: Env 395 (4)

Area 3 or 4 elective as needed (3 or 4)

All areas completed.

Internship and Capstone completed. Dean’s OCCE coordinates internships.

FAQ

  1. Can I double major with the Environment and Sustainability majors? 

Yes! The majors can pair nicely with a number of other majors, minors, and concentrations. However, the Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Sustainability cannot be used as a double major with Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, or Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry.

  1. Can a Biology or Chemistry major still pursue a minor in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science?

Yes, a Biology major can elect the minor in Environmental Studies. A Biology major can also elect the minor in Environmental Science, however ENV 220/BIO 220 cannot be counted toward both the Biology/Chemistry major requirements and the Environmental Studies Minor.

  1. Can I major in Environment and Sustainability Studies and declare a Biology minor?

No. Because of the number of shared courses, an Environment and Sustainability Studies major cannot declare the Biology minor.

  1. Can I minor in Biology/Chemistry and Environmental Science or Environmental Studies?

Yes, students can minor in both Biology and Environmental Science or Environmental Studies.

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