Program of Study (CAS Bulletin)

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Beginning in fall 2016, the major in environmental studies (ES) requires nine 4-point courses (36 points). It no longer requires a minor (or a second major) in another department or an internship course, and is no longer divided into two distinct major tracks.

The requirements of the ES major are as follows. Students should note that courses in other departments may carry prerequisites.

(1) Three 4-point ES core courses (12 points):

  • Environmental Systems Science (ENVST-UA 100)
  • Environment and Society (ENVST-UA 101)
  • Senior Capstone Seminar (ENVST-UA 900)

(2) One "methods of inquiry" course (4 points), chosen from:

  • Introduction to Environmental Modeling (ENVST-UA 305)
  • Environmental Quantitative Methods (ENVST-UA 310)
  • Energy and the Environment (ENVST-UA 350)
  • Fundamental Dynamics of Earth's Atmosphere and Climate (ENVST-UA 360)
  • Biostatistics (BIOL-UA 42)
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Elementary Statistics (CORE-UA 105)
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Problems, Statistics, and Decision-Making (CORE-UA 107)
  • Quantitative Methods in Political Science (POL-UA 800)
  • Statistical Reasoning for the Behavioral Sciences (PSYCH-UA 10)
  • Research Methods in Sociology (SOC-UA 301)
  • Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy (UPADM-GP 111)

(3) One "governance" course (4 points), chosen from these CAS courses (or from a fuller list including courses in other NYU schools and at NYU study away sites, available from the department):

  • Introduction to Marine Ecology and Conservation (ENVST-UA 323)
  • Science in Environmental Policy (ENVST-UA 422)
  • Environmental Regulation (ENVST-UA 435)
  • Global Environmental Politics (ENVST-UA 445)
  • The Planet's Last Frontiers (ENVST-UA 455)
  • Environmental Activism (ENVST-UA 485)
  • Water Governance (CCOL-AD 30)
  • Economics of Energy and the Environment (ECON-UA 326)
  • Public Economics (ECON-UA 353)
  • Public Policy (POL-UA 306)
  • Controversies in Public Policy: Logic and Evidence (POL-UA 315)
  • Private Influence in Public Policy (POL-UA 341)
  • Bureaucracy and Public Policy Politics (POL-UA 350)
  • International Politics (POL-UA 700)
  • Diplomacy and Negotiation (POL-UA 720)
  • International Organization (POL-UA 730)
  • Political Engineering: The Design of Institutions (POL-UA 810)

(4) Four 4-point elective courses (16 points), chosen in consultation with a departmental adviser. Internship in Environmental Studies (ENVST-UA 800) may count as one of the four electives.

Please note that elective courses are not necessarily offered every year and may carry prerequisites (some ENVST-UA courses are cross-listed and originate in other departments). The below is a partial list of acceptable electives in CAS; for a full list that includes courses in the other divisions of NYU (both undergraduate and graduate), contact the department.

The categories below are designed to support concentrations that students may choose within the ES major.

(4A) Environmental sciences:

  • Evolution of the Earth (ENVST-UA 210)
  • Climate Change (ENVST-UA 226)
  • Topics in Environmental Science (ENVST-UA 250)
  • Metapatterns from Quarks to Culture (ENVST-UA 254)
  • Where the City Meets the Sea: Studies in Coastal Urban Environments (ENVST-UA 275)
  • Advanced Topics in Environmental Science (ENVST-UA 300)
  • Introduction to Marine Ecology and Conservation (ENVST-UA 323)
  • New York Underground (ENVST-UA 327)
  • Evidence Based Conservation (ENVST-UA 330)
  • Food Production and Climate Change (ENVST-UA 331)
  • Current Topics in Earth System Science: Mass Extinctions, Geologic Processes, and Evolution (ENVST-UA 332)
  • Limits of the Earth: Issues in Human Ecology (ENVST-UA 333)
  • Earth System Science (ENVST-UA 340)
  • The Global Carbon Cycle (ENVST-UA 345)
  • Energy and the Environment (ENVST-UA 350)
  • Fundamental Dynamics of Earth's Atmosphere and Climate (ENVST-UA 360)
  • Biogeochemistry of Global Change (ENVST-UA 370)
  • At the Bench: Ecological Analysis with Geographic Information Systems (ENVST-UA 372)
  • Special Topics: Introduction to Fluid Dynamics (ENVST-UA 380)
  • Field Laboratory in Ecology (BIOL-UA 16)
  • Introduction to Ecology (BIOL-UA 63)
  • Natural Science I : Energy and the Environment (CORE-UA 203)
  • Natural Science II: Lessons from the Biosphere (CORE-UA 311)

(4B) Environmental values and society (ethics, history, politics):

  • Business and the Environment (ENVST-UA 465)
  • Ethics and the Environment (ENVST-UA 400)
  • Climate Change and Environmental Justice (ENVST-UA 405)
  • Economics and the Environment (ENVST-UA 410)
  • Cooperation and the Commons (ENVST-UA 412)
  • Environmental History of the Early Modern World (ENVST-UA 415)
  • Environmental History of New York City (ENVST-UA 420)
  • Science in Environmental Policy (ENVST-UA 422)
  • History of Ecology and Environmentalism (ENVST-UA 425)
  • Education and the Environment (ENVST-UA 430)
  • Environmental Regulation (ENVST-UA 435)
  • Food, Animals, and the Environment (ENVST-UA 440)
  • Global Environmental Politics (ENVST-UA 445)
  • Topics in Environmental Values and Society (ENVST-UA 450)
  • The Planet's Last Frontiers (ENVST-UA 455)
  • European Environmental Policy (ENVST-UA 460)
  • Climate and Society (ENVST-UA 470)
  • Environmental Justice and Inequality (ENVST-UA 480)
  • Environmental Activism (ENVST-UA 485)
  • Urban Political Ecology (ENVST-UA 490)
  • Journalism and Society: Covering the Earth (ENVST-UA 503)
  • Readings in Contemporary Literary Theory: Eco Criticism (ENVST-UA 510)
  • Making Art in the Anthropocene: Project on Ecology, Species, and Vibrant Matter (ENVST-UA 593)
  • Animals and Society (ENVST-UA 610)
  • Animals and Public Policy (ENVST-UA 630)
  • The Literature of Environmental Justice (ENVST-UA 675)
  • Water Governance (CCOL-AD 30)
  • Economics of Energy (ECON-UA 326)
  • Topics in Environmental History (HIST-UA 829)

(4C) Planning, cities, and transportation:

  • Urban Greening Lab: New York (ENVST-UA 495)
  • Environmental Design: Issues and Methods (ARTH-UA 672)
  • Cities in a Global Context (SCA-UA 602)
  • Urban Environmentalism (SCA-UA 631)


The minor in environmental studies requires five 4-point courses (20 points):

  • Environmental Systems Science (ENVST-UA 100)
  • Environment and Society (ENVST-UA 101)
  • Plus three courses from the list of ES major electives.

Policies Applying to the Major and Minor

A course cannot satisfy more than one requirement for the environmental studies major or minor. Students must earn a C or better in all courses for the major or minor. Pass/fail courses cannot count toward the major or minor. Transfer students must complete at least half of the major or minor at NYU.

Many courses approved for the major and minor in ES are outside of the College of Arts and Science. CAS students may take up to 16 points outside the College and apply them to their degree. Students may petition for additional non-CAS credits beyond the 16-point limit through the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standards in the Office of the Associate Dean for Students, Silver Center, Room 909; 212-998-8140;

No non-CAS courses can count toward the 64 credits that internal or external transfer students are required to complete in CAS (-UA) courses, even if they are approved for the major or minor in ES.

Honors Program

Students who maintain a GPA over 3.65 (both in the major and overall) and complete the Honors Seminar in Environmental Studies (ENVST-UA 950) are eligible for departmental honors.