The major in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability provides a strong scientific foundation in ecosystem ecology integrated with a broad knowledge of the cultural, social, economic, and political issues that are shaping the issue of sustainability. Students in the major learn to integrate science into real-world decision making, with the goal of developing sustainable strategies to maintain ecosystem services around the globe. We provide students with a broad base of experiential and collaborative learning opportunities, opportunities for research through our affiliation with the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, and the latest scientific knowledge about how organisms interact with their environments to form complex ecosystems. Students begin their program with core courses that build a strong foundation in the physical and natural sciences. Courses in ecosystem science put that core understanding into the context of our natural resources, with coursework in the classroom, laboratory, and field. Capstone courses task groups of students with proposing cutting-edge solutions for sustainability.

Learning Outcomes

Students in the major are learning:

  • How to help people use natural resources in a sustainable way.
  • About environmental change at local to global scales.
  • The amazing connections between different earth system components.
  • How to conduct research or field work in a variety of settings addressing questions important to sustainability.

Potential Occupations

Completion of the undergraduate degree qualifies students for a wide variety of careers related to natural resource science. Examples of possible careers include: sustainability coordinator, ecologist, environmental educator, invasive species specialist, biological science technician, climate change scientist, natural resource specialist, or corporate environmental consultant. Students completing the undergraduate degree in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability will also be well prepared to succeed in graduate education in a variety of disciplines.

Effective Fall 2016

Freshman
AUCCCredits
Select one course from the following: 3
Introductory Cultural Anthropology (GT-SS3)3C 
Agricultural and Resource Economics (GT-SS1)3C 
Principles of Microeconomics (GT-SS1)3C 
State and Local Government and Politics (GT-SS1)3C 
BUS 150 or CS 110Business Computing Concepts and Applications
Personal Computing
 3-4
Select one group from the following: 4
Group A:  
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2)3A 
Animal Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1)3A 
Group B:
  
Attributes of Living Systems (GT-SC1)3A 
Select one group from the following: 5
Group A:
  
Fundamentals of Chemistry (GT-SC2)3A 
Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory (GT-SC1)3A 
Group B:
  
General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)3A 
General Chemistry Lab I (GT-SC1)3A 
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)1A3
ESS 130System Theory and Information Management 1
Select one course from the following: 3
Foundations of Environmental Sustainability  
Environmental Conservation (GT-SC2)3A 
Environmental Conservation  
Select one course from the following: 4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B 
Arts and Humanities3B3
 Total Credits 29-30
Sophomore
 
Select one course from the following: 3
World Interdependence-Population and Food (GT-SS3)3E 
Cultures and the Global System (GT-SS3)3E 
Environmental Issues in Agriculture (GT-SS3)3E 
International Relations (GT-SS1)3E 
BZ 120 or LIFE 103Principles of Plant Biology (GT-SC1)
Biology of Organisms-Animals and Plants
3A4
ESS 210/GR 210Physical Geography 3
ESS 211Foundations in Ecosystem Science 3
Select one from the following: 3-4
Exploring Earth: Physical Geology (GT-SC2)3A 
The Blue Planet: Geology of Our Environment (GT-SC2)3A 
Geology of Natural Resources (GT-SC2)3A 
Introductory Soil Science  
NRRT 262Principles of Environmental Communication 3
Select one course from the following: 5
General Physics I (GT-SC1)3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)3A 
Select one course from the following: 3
Introduction to Statistical Methods  
Introduction to Biostatistics  
 Total Credits 27-28
Summer 
NR 220Natural Resource Ecology and Measurements 5
 Total Credits 5
Junior
 
Select one course from the following: 3
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)2 
Writing in the Disciplines: Social Sciences (GT-CO3)2 
Professional and Technical Communication (GT-CO3)2 
Specialized Professional Writing2 
ESS 311Ecosystem Ecology 3
ESS 330Quantitative Reasoning for Ecosystem Science 3
GR 304/WR 304Sustainable Watersheds3A3
GR 420 or NR 322Spatial Analysis with GIS
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
 4
NRRT 330Social Aspects of Natural Resource Management 3
Arts and Humanities3B3
Historical Perspectives3D3
Electives 6
 Total Credits 31
Senior
 
ESS 400Sustainability and Ecosystem Science4A3
ESS 411Earth Systems Ecology4B3
ESS 440Practicing Sustainability4C4
ESS 486Ecosystem Practicum 2
GR 323Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation 3
ESS Electives1 9
Electives2 2-4
 Total Credits 26-28
 Program Total Credits: 120
1

Select from department list of courses with approval of advisor.

2

Select enough elective credits to bring the program total to a minimum of 120 credits, of which at least 42 must be upper-division (300- to 400-level).

Freshman
Semester 1CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
Select one course from the following:X  3-4
Business Computing Concepts and Applications    
Personal Computing    
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2) X1A3
Select one group from the following: X 4
Group A:    
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2)  3A 
Animal Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1)  3A 
Group B:    
Attributes of Living Systems (GT-SC1)  3A 
Select one course from the following:   3
Environmental Conservation (GT-SC2)  3A 
Environmental Conservation    
Foundations of Environmental Sustainability    
 Total Credits   13-14
Semester 2CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
Select one group from the following: X 5
Group A:    
Fundamentals of Chemistry (GT-SC2)  3A 
Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory (GT-SC1)  3A 
Group B:    
General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)  3A 
General Chemistry Lab I (GT-SC1)  3A 
ESS 130System Theory and Information ManagementX  1
Select one course from the following: X 4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1)  1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)  1B 
Select one course from the following:   3
Introductory Cultural Anthropology (GT-SS3)  3C 
Agricultural and Resource Economics (GT-SS1)  3C 
Principles of Microeconomics (GT-SS1)  3C 
State and Local Government and Politics (GT-SS1)  3C 
Arts and Humanities  3B3
BZ 110 / BZ 111 or LIFE 102, CO 150, and AUCC 1B (MATH) must be completed by the end of Semester 2.X   
 Total Credits   16
Sophomore
Semester 3CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
Select one course from the following:X  4
Principles of Plant Biology (GT-SC1)  3A 
Biology of Organisms-Animals and Plants    
ESS 210/GR 210Physical GeographyX  3
NRRT 262Principles of Environmental Communication   3
Select one course from the following:   3
World Interdependence-Population and Food (GT-SS3)  3E 
Cultures and the Global System (GT-SS3)  3E 
Environmental Issues in Agriculture (GT-SS3)  3E 
International Relations (GT-SS1)  3E 
CHEM 107 and CHEM 108 or CHEM 111 and CHEM 112 must be completed by the end of Semester 3.X   
 Total Credits   13
Semester 4CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 211Foundations in Ecosystem ScienceX  3
Select one course from the following: X 5
General Physics I (GT-SC1)  3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)  3A 
Select one course from the following: X 3
Introduction to Statistical Methods    
Introduction to Biostatistics    
Select one course from the following:   3-4
Exploring Earth: Physical Geology (GT-SC2)  3A 
The Blue Planet: Geology of Our Environment (GT-SC2)  3A 
Geology of Natural Resources (GT-SC2)  3A 
Introductory Soil Science    
 Total Credits   14-15
Semester 5CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
NR 220Natural Resource Ecology and MeasurementsX  5
 Total Credits   5
Junior
Semester 6CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 311Ecosystem EcologyX  3
Select one course from the following:X  4
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems    
Spatial Analysis with GIS    
NRRT 330Social Aspects of Natural Resource Management   3
Historical Perspectives  3D3
Elective   3
 Total Credits   16
Semester 7CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 330Quantitative Reasoning for Ecosystem ScienceX  3
GR 304/WR 304Sustainable Watersheds  3A3
Select one course from the following: X 3
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)  2 
Writing in the Disciplines: Social Sciences (GT-CO3)  2 
Professional and Technical Communication (GT-CO3)  2 
Specialized Professional Writing  2 
Arts and Humanities  3B3
Elective   3
 Total Credits   15
Senior
Semester 8CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 411Earth Systems EcologyX 4B3
ESS 486Ecosystem PracticumX  2
GR 323/NR 323Remote Sensing and Image InterpretationX  3
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Elective (See Department List on Concentration Requirements tab)   3
Elective   2-4
 Total Credits   13-15
Semester 9CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 400Sustainability and Ecosystem ScienceX 4A3
ESS 440Practicing SustainabilityX 4C4
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Electives (See Department List on Concentration Requirements tab)X  6
The benchmark courses for the 9th semester are the remaining courses in the entire program of study.X   
 Total Credits   13
 Program Total Credits:   120