Environmental Studies

The solutions to the current environmental problems are complex and require teamwork and understanding between specialists and generalists in many disciplines. The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problem solving at the local, regional and international level. Students can choose from among four (4) concentrations. Throughout their academic studies, students in this program interact with students in the Environmental Science program.

Please visit the Environmental Studies webpage for more information.

Career Opportunities

Upon completion of this program, the graduates have a great variety of career opportunities available in both the public and private sector. For example, recent graduates hold such positions as teacher, national park naturalist, resource policy planner, Regional Director of International Joint Commission, Director of Environmental Programs for SEMCOG, regional land use planner, public health officer, and director of a public interest group. All students who qualify for graduate school should seriously consider working toward an advanced degree, which is required for most leadership positions.

Internship Program

An important feature of this program is the internship requirement that allows the students to examine possible professional positions in an area of their interest through on-the-job experience. Some of the internships which environmental studies students have had are field analyst for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, hazardous waste analyst, marine safety inspector with the U.S. Coast Guard, public health sanitarian, researcher for a public interest group, national park naturalist, assistant to a state legislator, director of a community organic garden, summer camp nature director, and assistant analyst in a remote sensing operation.

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

CIS 112Computer Literacy/Info Mgmt 23
BIOL 130Intro Org and Environ Biology4
CHEM 134General Chemistry IA 14
GEOL 118Physical Geology4
Total Credit Hours15

Other lower-level prerequisite courses vary according to upper-level courses students elect to take. Review the list of courses in the Environmental Core Courses and the Concentration Areas to determine the proper prerequisites. Some of the prerequisites may be fulfilled through the Dearborn Discovery Core requirements.

Environmental Core Courses (27-29 hrs)

The graduate in Environmental Studies requires a broad background of knowledge in the Natural Sciences, the Humanities, the Social Sciences, and the Behavioral Sciences as well as interdisciplinary courses which provide a synthesis among disciplines. Students in the program will also have an opportunity to interact with a variety of environmental professionals through seminars and an internship.

BIOL/ESCI 320Field Biology4
ENST/STS 301Concepts of Environmentalism3
ENST 305Env Instrumentation and Analys3
ESCI 301Environmental Science 14
ENST 385Environmental Internship1-3
ENST/ESCI 395Sem on Environmental Issues1
ENST 485Seminar in Environ Topics2
Choose one course from the following (CAVC):3
Environmental Ethics
Env Lit & Reps of Nature
Science and Environmental Jour
Environmental Filmmaking
Choose two courses from the following (CAES):6
Urban Economics
Cultural Geography
Urban Geography
Economic Geography
Environmental Politics
Anth of Health and Environment
Michigan Geography
Environmental Economics
Ecological Economics
Food Politics and Policy
Justice, Crime and Environment
Comparative Enviro Policy
Total Credit Hours27-29

Major Requirements

Must select one concentration below. A minimum of 18 credit hours of courses chosen from one of the following four Concentration Areas:

Concentration A: Land Resources           

Required Courses
ENST/ESCI 330Land Use Planning and Mgmt4
ENST/GEOL 340Remote Sensing3
ENST/POL 445Environmental Law3
Electives (CALR)
Select from the following (minimum 8 credits required):8
Prehistoric Archaeology
Weather and Climate
Economic Geography
Environmental Politics
Remote Sensing
Hazardous Waste Management
Intro to GIS
Environmental Geology
Field Methods 1
Total Credit Hours18

Concentration B: Naturalist

Required Courses
BIOL/ESCI 304Ecology4
ENST/EDD 474Environmental Education3
ENST/EDD 486Environmental Interpretation3
Electives (CANT)
Select from the following (minimum 8 credits required):8
Prehistoric Archaeology
Indians of North America
Medical Anthropology
Plant Ecology
Biology of Spiders
Anth of Health and Environment
Remote Sensing
Env Lit & Reps of Nature
Intro to GIS
Aquatic Ecosystems
Weather and Climate
Field Methods
Behavior in Organization
Human Resource Policy/Admin
Total Credit Hours18

Concentration C: Resources Policy and Management

Prerequisite Courses
ECON 202Prin: Microeconomics3
Required Courses
ENST/POL/STS 325Environmental Politics3
ENST/POL 445Environmental Law3
ENST/ECON 351Environmental Economics3
or ENST 456 Ecological Economics
ESCI/BIOL 304Ecology4
Electives (CARP)
Select from the following (minimum 5 credits required):5
Economic Demography
Economic Geography
Ecological Economics
Food Politics and Policy
Justice, Crime and Environment
Comparative Enviro Policy
Intro to GIS
Hazardous Waste Management
Energy Resources
Political Analysis
Legislative Process
PR for Nonprofit/Public Sector
Biostatistics I 1
Total Credit Hours21

Concentration D: Urban Services

Prerequisite Courses
ECON 201Prin: Macroeconomics3
ECON 202Prin: Microeconomics3
POL 101American Politics3
SOC 200Understanding Society3
Required Courses
ECON 483Urban Economics3
EXPS 410Multicult in School and Soc3
GEOG/ENST 300/STS 308Urban Geography3
POL/CRJ 323Urban Politics3
SOC/AAAS/HUM/HIST 304Studies in Det.Hist. & Culture3
or SOC 435 Urban Sociology
Electives (CAUR)
Select from the following (minimum 3 credits required):3
Race and Evolution
Immigrant Cultures and Gender
Environmental Economics
Environmental Law
Ecological Economics
Food Politics and Policy
Justice, Crime and Environment
Hazardous Waste Management
Intro to GIS
Political Analysis
PR for Nonprofit/Public Sector
Poverty and Inequality
Quantitative Reasearch
Total Credit Hours30


  1. Some upper level courses in concentrations A, B, C, and D may require additional prerequisites.
  2. Courses used to satisfy ENST core area can also be used to satisfy concentration area requirements.
  3. 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 15 credit hours upper-level courses in Environmental Studies (ENST).

ENST 201     Cultural Geography     3 Credit Hours

Overview of the major components of culture such as language, religion, agriculture, settlement patterns, and related landscape features in a spatial context. Emphasis on how various cultures perceive and interact with the environment. (F).

ENST 203     Weather and Climate     3 Credit Hours

The controls and conditions of Earth's weather and climate including atmospheric circulation, precipitation processes, severe weather, climatic regions, and climatic change. (F).

ENST 204     Landforms     3 Credit Hours

Processes and agents that shape the landscapes and landforms of the Earth's surface. The discussion of landforms is divided into two parts: (1) constructive processes and their spatial distribution and (2) gradational processes and their spatial distribution. (W).

ENST 300     Urban Geography     3 Credit Hours

The geography of human settlement and urbanization. Particular emphasis is placed on human transformation of the physical environment, and resource use throughout history from ancient civilizations to modern megalopolises. Universal urban challenges such as sprawl, pollution, congestion, crime, poverty, etc., are addressed. (W).

ENST 301     Concepts of Environmentalism     3 Credit Hours

Designed to identify the underlying concepts of any environmental issue. The course will demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problems solving through current readings, classical monographs and films. Students will conduct a system analysis of a household and a local community. This course will not be open to students who take ENST 105. (W).

ENST 305     Env Instrumentation and Analys     3 Credit Hours

This course will survey the parameters which must be measured in order to properly assess the environment. Methods for the analysis of the biophysical as well as the social, psychological, and political environment will be studied. (W).

Prerequisite(s): ENST 301

ENST 310     Economic Geography     3 Credit Hours

Spatial aspects of the ways people make their living. Discussion of the spatial distribution of resources and wealth at various scales. Introduction of site selection and location analysis. (W).

ENST 312     Environmental Ethics     3 Credit Hours

The relationship of human beings to the non-human environment raises pressing moral and political issues. This course will use the theories and concepts of philosophical ethics to explore such questions as human obligations to non-human animals; the preservation of wilderness; balancing economic, aesthetic, and spiritual values; and the problems of pollution, urban sprawl, and ecological justice. (F, YR).

Prerequisite(s): PHIL 100 or PHIL 233 or PHIL 240* or CRJ 240 or ENST 105 or ENST 301

ENST 320     Global Climate Change     3 Credit Hours

This course explores concepts and current thinking on global climate change and environmental impacts. It covers the history of Earth's climate, causes of climate change and current research attempting to forecast change. The biotic, economic, and social implications of climate change are discussed. (AY)

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 203 or ENST 203

ENST 325     Environmental Politics     3 Credit Hours

This course will examine the process of policy making on environmental and energy problems at the global level, at the national level, and at the local level. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): POL 101

ENST 326     Anth of Health and Environment     3 Credit Hours

Cultural conflicts over pollution, disease etiology, development and natural resources often originate and are played out in local ecosystems. Anthropologists are increasingly becoming involved as researchers, developers, and activists in these cultural strifes. This course reviews the work of environmental and medical anthropologists as well as other critical scholars who unravel the values, meanings and ideologies associated with ecological issues in given localities. Drawing on theoretical advances in critical medical anthropology, environmental anthropology and applied anthropology, the course seeks to improve the knowledge and abilities of student anthropologists in their environmental health work.

ENST 327     Michigan Geography     3 Credit Hours

A geographic study of the landforms, waterways, natural resources, landmarks and economic activities that contribute to the physical and cultural landscapes of Michigan. Population, industry, agriculture, recreation and tourism will all be considered. (W,S,YR)

ENST 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).

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

ENST 340     Remote Sensing     3 Credit Hours

This course explores the acquisition, processing, and visualization of remotely derived data, with a particular emphasis on local and environmental applications. ENST 340 covers concepts and foundations of aerial and orbital remote sensing, visual interpretation, reflectance and emission spectroscopy, active and passive sensors, topography, and digital image processing software and techniques.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 302

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior or Graduate

ENST 351     Environmental Economics     3 Credit Hours

This course examines the economic aspects of pollution problems. Topics covered include the economic theory of externalities, the theory of the commons, the theory of public goods, and the optimum use of depletable natural resources. The role of cost-benefit analysis as an intricate part of the decision-making process will also be thoroughly examined. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): ECON 202

ENST 365     Environmental Psychology     3 Credit Hours

A survey of the contributions of the behavioral sciences to the understanding and solution of environmental problems that threaten our survival. Insights derived from psychology, anthropology, and computer sciences are discussed. Major topics include overpopulation, overconsumption, "future shock," cognitive limitations in our understanding of ecological-political systems, and the use of Skinnerian behavior control. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 170 or PSYC 171

ENST 385     Environmental Internship     1 to 9 Credit Hours

A field assignment relating to the student's environmental interests. The student will work in an off-campus government or private business for a prescribed number of hours each week to be arranged by the advisor and employer. May be repeated up to three times. Written permission of instructor.

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior or Graduate

ENST 390     Topics in Environmental Stds     1 to 9 Credit Hours

Examination of problems and issues in selected areas of environmental studies. Title listed in the Schedule of Classes will change according to the content. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topics differ.

ENST 395     Sem on Environmental Issues     1 Credit Hour

Readings, discussions, and presentations which examine current environmental issues. One hour seminar. Written permission of instructor. (YR).

ENST 436     Human Ecology     3 Credit Hours

Deals with the forms and modes of change of social structure and culture, as affected by interactions with environment, population, and technology. Emphasis is given to territorially based social structures.

ENST 445     Environmental Law     3 Credit Hours

A survey of common law theories and analysis of environmental statutes from a functional perspective. The course also includes environmental law aspects of constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law, as well as the public trust doctrine and public lands. Student cannot receive credit for both ENST 350 and ENST/POL 445.

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

ENST 456     Ecological Economics     3 Credit Hours

A review of major theories and issues concerning the relationship between ecological and economic systems. Topics include these questions: What is the purpose of economics activity? How important is the preservation of the natural world compared to the production of economic goods? How do principles of social and intergenerational equity affect the use of resources and choice of goods to be produced? The course utilizes a transdisciplinary approach in the development of new models where conventional economics and ecology alone have been ineffective in addressing questions of sustainability and equity. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): (ECON 201* or ECON 202*) and ENST 301*

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

ENST 467     Food Politics and Policy     3 Credit Hours

How do politics affect our food at the global, national, and urban/local scale? This course examines close historical relationships between politics and food; the politics of conventional agriculture and food policy; and alternative agricultural movements and food systems, with a particular emphasis on urban food policy and urban food systems. (AY)

ENST 474     Environmental Education     2 to 3 Credit Hours

An analysis of environmental education at elementary and secondary levels, particularly stressing the environment as a teaching resource. Community resources as they relate to environmental education are also investigated. (AY).

ENST 483     Justice, Crime and Environment     3 Credit Hours

This service-learning course focuses on environmental justice and law. Environmental Justice is defined as the fair treatment of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. In the classroom, students learn the theory, history, and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations in Detroit, Michigan, and nationwide. In a required civic engagement project, students apply their substantive knowledge to solve local environmental problems. Through classroom learning and projects with community organizations, students connect law and justice concerns to Detroit's environmental problems.

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

ENST 485     Seminar in Environ Topics     2 Credit Hours

A seminar course taken during the student's senior year to provide an opportunity for students with diverse environmental interests to interact and synthesize the information and skills acquired during their previous studies. (W).

ENST 486     Environmental Interpretation     2 to 3 Credit Hours

Course deals with the interpretation of the environment, its characteristics, and its presentation to school groups as well as to the general public. Intended to acquaint students with a variety of skills and techniques necessary for interpreting the environment to others. Extensive use is made of the UM-Dearborn Environmental Study Area. (AY).

ENST 487     Comparative Enviro Policy     3 Credit Hours

This course explores environmental policy as a result of political processes involving diverse participants and entailing movement through several stages ? from defining an issue as an environmental problem to placing it on political agenda and then receiving a response at domestic governmental or international levels. This course analyzes environmental issues from a cross-cultural and comparative perspective, with a particular attention given to political institutions, political change, levels of development, political culture, public participation, and international commitments that shape the nature and dynamics of environmental politics and policy in different countries.

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

ENST 488     Env Lit & Reps of Nature     3 Credit Hours

An interdisciplinary study of the ways in which the relationship between "nature" and humankind has been represented in literature and other forms of cultural expression. Emphasis on American and British texts of the 19th centuries, but assigned materials may include readings from other cultures and historical periods.

Prerequisite(s): (COMP 106 or CPAS with a score of 40 or COMP 220 or COMP 270) and (ENGL 230 or ENGL 200 or ENGL 231 or ENGL 232 or ENGL 233 or ENGL 235 or ENGL 236 or ENGL 237 or ENGL 239)

ENST 490     Dir Research in Envir Studies     1 to 6 Credit Hours

This course will provide students with an opportunity to conduct an independent research investigation on topics in environmental studies under the direction of various faculty members. The results will be presented in a paper and public seminar. May be repeated.

ENST 491     Topics in Environmental St     3 Credit Hours

The examination of problems and issues in selected areas of environmental studies. The title listed in the Schedule of Classes will change according to the content. The course may be repeated for credit when the specific topic differs. Also offered for graduate credit. (OC).

ENST 491B     Topics in Environmentl Studies     3 Credit Hours

TOPIC: Comparative Environmental Policy. This course explores environmental policy as a result of political processes involving diverse participants and entailing movement through several stages---from defining an issue as an environmental problem to placing it on political agendas and then receiving a response at domestic governmental or international levels. This course will analyze various levels at which environmental issues occur and are being addressed politically.

ENST 497     Seminar in Environmental Sci     1 Credit Hour

Readings, discussions and presentation of research in selected areas of study. One hour seminar.

ENST 498     Independent Study     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Readings or analytical assignments in accordance with the needs and interests of those enrolled and agreed upon by the student and instructor, which shall not duplicate a formal course offering. Permission of instructor.

ENST 499     Independent Study     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Readings or analytical assignments in accordance with the needs and interests of those enrolled and agreed upon by the student and instructor, which shall not duplicate a formal course offering. Permission of instructor.