Environmental Science

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science provides students with a strong background in areas of science related to environmental concerns and with an opportunity to study environmental problems from a scientific point of view that integrates biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics. The major leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and prepares students for careers in waste management, environmental consultation, teaching, environmental health and resource management.

Please visit the Environmental Science webpage for more information.

Dearborn Discovery Core Requirement

The minimum GPA for the program is 2.0. In addition, the DDC permits any approved course to satisfy up to three credit hours within three different categories. Please see the General Education Program: The Dearborn Discovery Core section for additional information.

Foundational Studies

Written and Oral Communication (GEWO) – 6 Credits

Upper Level Writing Intensive (GEWI) – 3 Credits

Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving (GEQT) – 3 Credits

Critical and Creative Thinking (GECC) – 3 Credits

Areas of Inquiry

Natural Science (GENS) – 7 Credits

  • Lecture/Lab Science Course
  • Additional Science Course

Social and Behavioral Analysis (GESB) – 9 Credits

Humanities and the Arts (GEHA) – 6 Credits

Intersections (GEIN) – 6 Credits


Capstone (GECE) – 3 Credits

Foreign Language Requirement

Complete a two-semester beginning language sequence.

Ancient Greek I and II MCL 105 and MCL 106
Arabic I and II ARBC 101 and ARBC 102
Armenian I and II MCL 111 and MCL 112
French I and II FREN 101 and FREN 102
German I and II GER 101 and GER 102
Latin I and II LAT 101 and LAT 102
Spanish I and II SPAN 101 and SPAN 102
Chinese I and II CHIN 101 and CHIN 102

Pre-Major Requirements

BIOL 130Intro Org and Environ Biology4
CHEM 134General Chemistry IA4
or CHEM 144 Gen Chemistry IB
CHEM 136General Chemistry IIA4
or CHEM 146 General Chemistry IIB
GEOG 203Weather and Climate3
GEOL 118Physical Geology4
MATH 113Calc I for Biology & Life Sci4
or MATH 115 Calculus I
MATH 114Calc II for Biology & Life Sci4
or MATH 116 Calculus II
Select one of the following:3-4
Perspectives in Physics 1
Introductory Physics I 1
General Physics I 1
Total Credit Hours30-31

Major Requirements

Environmental Science Core
CHEM 344Quantitative Analysis4
ENST/STS 301Concepts of Environmentalism3
ESCI 301Environmental Science 14
ESCI/BIOL 304Ecology4
ESCI/ENST 395Sem on Environmental Issues1
Select at least three upper-level credit hours in Geology (GEOL) 23
Select at least three upper- level credit hours in Environmental Science (ESCI) 23
Select 3 credit hours from the following:3
At least three credit hours in ESCI 498 and/or ESCI 499 culminating in a public seminar presentation of research results
Environmental Internship
and Seminar in Environ Topics
Capstone Research Experience
Total Credit Hours25

Note: LIBS 395 may be substituted by Petition for ENST 385 if the cooperative education work assignment is environmentally oriented.

Concentration (16-24 hrs)

Must select one of the following concentrations:

Environmental Biology Concentration

BIOL 140Intro Molec & Cellular Biology4
Select twelve credit hours in upper-level (300+) Biological Sciences (BIOL) courses (other than BIOL 304) including at least seven credit hours selected from:12
Aquatic Ecosystems
Field Biology
Plant Ecology
Population Genetics & Evolutn
Population Genetics & Evol Lab
Advanced Field Ecology
BIOL 390, BIOL 490, BIOL 497 by Petition only 1
Total Credit Hours16

Environmental Chemistry Concentration

Select one of the following:4
Intro Molec & Cellular Biology
Introductory Physics II
General Physics II
All of the following courses are required:
CHEM 225Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 226Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 227Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
ESCI/CHEM 348Environmental Chemistry3
ESCI/CHEM 349Environmental Chemistry Lab1
At least eight additional credit hours selected from:8
Introduction to Toxicology
Physical Chemistry I
Principles of Biochemistry 2
Current Topics in Chemistry 1
Instrumental Methods of Analys
Physical Chemistry II
Biochemistry I 2
Biochemistry II 2
Biochemistry Laboratory I
Biochemistry Laboratory II
Topics in Chemistry 1
Seminar in Chemistry 1
Readings in Chemistry 1
Laboratory Research in Chem 1
Total Credit Hours24

Earth Science Concentration

Select one of the following:4
Intro Molec & Cellular Biology
Introductory Physics II
General Physics II
GEOL 377Field Methods ( This course is required for the concentration.)1
At least eleven additional credit hours in upper- level (300+) Geology (GEOL) and Physical Geography (GEOG) courses. 111
Total Credit Hours16

Individualized Concentration

This concentration is a highly selective program for qualified students with well-conceived academic goals.

Select one of the following:4
Intro Molec & Cellular Biology
Introductory Physics II
General Physics II
A minimum of 12 upper-level (300+) credit hours in natural sciences courses that address a common theme. 112
Total Credit Hours16


  1. A maximum of 72 credit hours in courses offered by the Department of Natural Sciences (ASTR, BCHM, BIOL, CHEM, ESCI, ENST, GEOL, MICR, NSCI, PHYS) may count in the 120 hrs. required for graduation.
  2. At least 12 of the 41 upper level hours in the major must be elected at UM-D.
  3. Students cannot take both CHEM 370 andCHEM 470 and/or CHEM 471 for any combination of major or minor requirements.
  4. A maximum of 6 hrs. of independent study/research in any Dept. of Natural Sciences discipline may count towards the 120 hours required to graduate.

Minor or Integrative Studies Concentration

A minor or concentration consists of 12 credit hours of upper- level courses in Environmental Science (ESCI).

ESCI 275     Intro to Environmental Science     3 Credit Hours

A distribution course which surveys major environmental problems. Concepts discussed are ecology, environmental chemistry, methods of investigating the environment, and possible solutions to environmental problems. Three hours lecture. (YR).

ESCI 301     Environmental Science     4 Credit Hours

A survey of historical and current environmental problems, with emphasis on understanding causes, consequences, and control. Topics include human population growth, air pollution, water pollution, and waste disposal. Laboratory emphasizes an experimental approach to environmental problems, including data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Lecture and laboratory/recitation.

Prerequisite(s): (CHEM 124 and GEOL 118 or CHEM 144) or CHEM 134 and BIOL 130


ESCI 304     Ecology     4 Credit Hours

Relationships between organisms and their environments. Patterns in the physical environment, physiological and behavioral adaptations, population dynamics, energy flow, nutrient cycling; succession. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory (with field trips). (F).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130 and (MATH 104 or MATH 105 or MATH 113 or MATH 115 or MPLS with a score of 116)

Corequisite(s): ESCI 304L

ESCI 305     Intro to GIS     4 Credit Hours

An introductory course that examines the digital representation, manipulation, and analysis of geographic data, with emphasis on the analytical capabilities that GIS brings solutions to geographic problems. Students will explore and learn GIS principles using ESRI's mapping software, as well as complete a major GIS project.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 302

Corequisite(s): ESCI 305L

ESCI 305D     Intro to GIS & Cartogrphy Dis     0 Credit Hours

Required discussion session for ESCI 305.

Corequisite(s): ESCI 305

ESCI 315     Aquatic Ecosystems     4 Credit Hours

An introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of lakes, rivers, and wetlands emphasizing a comparison of ecosystem structure and function. Laboratory emphasizes data collection and analysis to characterize a representative lake, river, and wetland. Lecture and laboratory. (AY,F).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130 and (CHEM 124 or GEOL 118)

ESCI 320     Field Biology     4 Credit Hours

Adaptations, taxonomy, systematics, ecology, and behavior of southeastern Michigan flora and fauna. Techniques of field observation and recording are emphasized. Skills in the use of identification keys and guides are developed. The campus Environmental Study Area is used intensively. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory (with field trips). (S).

Prerequisite(s): NSCI 120 or NSCI 233

ESCI 330     Land Use Planning and Mgmt     4 Credit Hours

Environmental aspects of land use planning, park planning, and site planning. Consideration of soils, groundwater, topography, and sensitive natural features and their role in determining land-use suitability. Examination of the mechanics and effectiveness of the planning process. Lecture and recitation. (AY,W).

Prerequisite(s): (BIOL 130 and GEOL 118) or ESCI 275

ESCI 332     Hazardous Waste Management     3 Credit Hours

Environmental problems associated with solid and hazardous waste. Regulations governing the generation, transport, and disposal of hazardous waste. Waste management techniques, including reduction, reuse, recycling, treatment, incineration, and land disposal. Three hours lecture. (AY,W).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118 or ESCI 275

ESCI 337     Plant Ecology     3 Credit Hours

This course focuses on different aspects of the relationship between plants and their environment. Topics include: a) interactions of plants with the physical environment; b) ways in which the environment acts to shape plant populations through evolution; c) intra- and interspecific interactions among individuals; and d) large-scale patterns and processes at the landscape-level. Three hours lecture.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130

ESCI 348     Environmental Chemistry     3 Credit Hours

Description of the concepts, principles, practices, and current problems in the chemistry of natural waters, the soil, and the atmosphere. Three hours lecture. (AY,W).

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 344 and (CHEM 225 or CHEM 325)

ESCI 349     Environmental Chemistry Lab     1 Credit Hour

Collection and analysis of air, water, soil, and organisms for pollutants such as noxious gases, heavy metals, and trace organics. EPA-approved methods are emphasized. Four hours laboratory. (AY,W).

Prerequisite(s): ESCI 348* or CHEM 348*

ESCI 352     Introduction to Toxicology     3 Credit Hours

An introduction to the principles of toxicology with an emphasis on environmental toxicology. Major topics include toxic agents, toxicological mechanisms, and use of toxicological reference literature. Discussion of chemical carcinogenesis, genetic toxicology, immunotoxicology, teratology, and toxic responses of the skin, eyes and nervous system. Three hours lecture. (AY,W).

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 225

ESCI 370     Environmental Geology     3 Credit Hours

Interactions between people and the physical environment. Geological hazards and natural processes, such as earthquakes, volcanism, floods, landslides, and coastal processes. Relationships between geology and environmental health, including chronic disease, water use and pollution, waste disposal, mineral resources, and energy use. Three hours lecture. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118

ESCI 372     Energy Resources     3 Credit Hours

Origin and development of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural gas) and of radioactive ores used in nuclear power. Renewable and alternative energy sources, including hydro, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power. Environmental impacts of energy use. Three hours lecture. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118 or ESCI 275 or ESCI 301

ESCI 375     Groundwater Hydrology     4 Credit Hours

Sources, occurrence, and movement of groundwater. Surface and subsurface investigations. Principles of hydrogeology. Groundwater pollution and management. Three hours lecture. (AY,F).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118


ESCI 390     Topics in Environmental Sci     1 to 3 Credit Hours

A course in special topics current to environmental science. Topics and format may vary. See current Schedule of Classes.

ESCI 395     Sem on Environmental Issues     1 Credit Hour

Readings, discussions, and presentations which examine current environmental issues. One hour seminar. Permission of instructor. (F,W).

ESCI 414     Limnology     4 Credit Hours

The study of the structural and functional relationships and productivity of organisms in lakes and streams as they are regulated by their physical, chemical and biotic environments. Laboratories will emphasize field study of area lakes and streams. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. BIOL/ESCI 304 or ESCI 275 recommended.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130 and (CHEM 136 or CHEM 146)

Corequisite(s): ESCI 414L

ESCI 416     Stream Ecology     4 Credit Hours

A study of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of streams and rivers. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 304

ESCI 420     Advanced Field Ecology     4 Credit Hours

An intense study of behavioral ecology and field-oriented research at an advanced level, utilizing ecological habitats on campus and in surrounding urban areas. Focus will be on plant/animal interactions and will include pollination ecology, reproduction and distribution ecology, optimal foraging theory, as well as hypothesis testing of animal migration and distribution of species in extreme urban environments. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 304 or BIOL 320 or ESCI 320

ESCI 422     Conservation Biology     3 Credit Hours

This course is a study of the historical and current preservation of global biodiversity. The value of biodiversity, extinction, threats to biodiversity, and both ex situ and in situ conservation strategies are considered. (F, AY)

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 304 or ESCI 304

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

ESCI 485     Spatial Analysis     3 Credit Hours

Full Title: Spatial Analysis and the Environment The statistical methods behind analyzing spatial datasets is covered in detail, with a strong emphasis on environmental sciences and human populations. This course complements courses in remote sensing, geographic information systems, and geographic principles and is designed to quantitatively evaluate the relationships between objects and their surroundings. (S)

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 305 or ESCI 305 or GEOL 340 or ENST 340 or GEOG 302 or GEOG 202 or GEOG 305

Can enroll if College is Business or Arts, Sciences, and Letters or Engineering and Computer Science or Education, Health, and Human Services

ESCI 490     Topics in Environmental Sci     1 to 3 Credit Hours

A course in special topics of current interest in environmental science. Topics and course format may vary; see curent Schedule of Classes for availability. (OC)

ESCI 490A     Topics in Environmental Sci     3 Credit Hours

Topic: Conservation Biology. A scientific study of the concept of conservation biology, including its ecological, economic, ethical, and cultural components. Lectures, assigned readings, and class discussions will explore the major threats to biodiversity, the complexities of conservation issues, and the tools, strategies, and techniques conservation biologists use to implement policies for the protection and preservation of ecosystems from local to global and short-to long-term scales.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

ESCI 492     Capstone Research Experience     3 Credit Hours

An approved research experience with a full-time Environmental Science faculty member. Research results are reported in a seminar presentation and in a poster, thesis, or a manuscript submitted for publication. (F, W, S)

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior

ESCI 497     Seminar in Environmental Sci.     1 Credit Hour

Readings, discussion, and presentation of research in selected areas of study. One hour seminar. Permission of instructor. (OC).

ESCI 498     Indep Study in Environ Sci     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Library research and independent study performed under the guidance of a faculty member. Four to twelve hours readings. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).

ESCI 499     Lab Research in Environ Sci     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Directed laboratory or field research performed under the guidance of a faculty member. Four to twelve hours laboratory. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).


Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally