Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science at Wayne State University is an interdisciplinary, hands-on program that focuses on the environmental impact of urban life. Combining both geological and biological perspectives, learn how to identify, analyze and solve complex environmental issues from the ground up.

Why Wayne State's environmental science major?

  • Preserve local ecosystems, monitor water quality for contaminants or examine sea-ice samples on a research expedition, all through numerous labs
  • Direct pathways to graduate study in environmental science
  • An excellent foundation for students seeking to become researchers or science teachers certified in the subject of environmental science
  • Utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to address modern environmental problems across organisms and ecosystems
  • Integrates classes with field research, allowing you to spend plenty of time outdoors

What is environmental science?

Environmental science is the study of the natural and anthropogenic processes that affect the environments and ecosystems that surround us. As an interdisciplinary field, it seamlessly integrates the sciences of biology, chemistry and geology. Environmental scientists incorporate both the social and physical sciences in order to develop policies that positively impact our world.

Learning objectives

The environmental science degree program teaches you how to become an effective, multifaceted environmental scientist through the following learning objectives:

  • Understand Earth's history origin and age through the analysis of rocks and landscapes.
  • Learn how geological processes affect modern environmental and ecological systems.
  • Address the environmental impact of modern life across ecosystems using an interdisciplinary approach.
  • Develop a foundational understanding of environmental science to pursue careers in the sciences or enter graduate study.

Environmental science program requirements and curriculum

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science requires a minimum of 120 credits. As an undergraduate student in the Department of Environmental Science and Geology, you must satisfy these requirements:

  • Courses

    As an environmental science major, many classes include laboratory and outdoor research, giving you an excellent combination of traditional and hands-on, experiential learning. To support the exploration of your interests and career goals, enroll in elective courses that span from anthropology to urban studies and planning.

    Your major requirements cover the following diverse topics:

    • Environmental humanities
    • Soil and soil pollution
    • Geology
    • Environmental fate
    • Life diversity
    • Ecology (aquatic or terrestrial)
    • Environmental policy, politics and ethics
    • Properties of air and water

    Important: Many of these courses have prerequisites. Students who have not fulfilled prerequisites for any course may be denied enrollment.

  • Honors program

    Departmental honors

    Students interested in graduating with departmental honors should schedule a meeting with the program advisor to discuss requirements and eligibility. Please note that departmental honors differ from university honors. Visit for more information about university honors.

    Honors requirements

    For departmental honors, you need to complete a minimum of 12 credits in honors courses, which includes at least one honors college 4200-level seminar and an honors thesis (minimum of 20 pages) with a full-time faculty member from the department (either geology or biology). Please make sure that you are in touch with your department advisor for all of the specific requirements for your major.

    See the Honors Directed Study Proposal Form for students who will receive Honors credit assigned under the guidance of a faculty member.

    Honors eligibility

    To be recommended for an honors degree from the Environmental Science Program, a student must establish and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30. To be declared as departmental honors, you must meet with the advisor for the Environmental Science Program.

  • Degree progress

    Current students may review their degree progress at any time by going to Degree Works. If you're currently declared as another major, you can use the "What-if" function within Degree Works to see what your progress would be if you changed to environmental science. It is recommended that students planning to change their major or exploring the possibility of changing their major meet with the advisor for the program.

    Appointments to do so may be scheduled by going to STARS and selecting environmental science as your major of interest.

Engaging environmental research

Travel across ocean basins to learn about biogeochemical cycles through the international GEOTRACES program or work with the Kashian Aquatic Ecology Lab to inform the local community about environmental health threats. As an environmental science major, you lead cutting-edge research in the following areas alongside our award-winning professors:

  • Contaminant fate and transport
  • Geochronology
  • Geophysics and crustal processes
  • Hydrology and ecohydrology
  • Isotope geochemistry
  • Soils and soil pollution

Learn more about environmental science research.

AGRADE program to fast track your graduate study in environmental science

Wayne State University's undergraduate environmental science program develops the foundational knowledge needed to enter graduate study. You may enroll in the Accelerated Graduate Enrollment (AGRADE) program to complete your bachelor's and master's degrees in just five years.

Learn more about the path to earning your Master of Science in Environmental Science or your Master of Arts in Environmental Science.

Minor in geology, geochemistry or geophysics

The Department of Environmental Science and Geology offers several minors that complement the environmental science major:

Environmental science bachelor's degree career outlook

Governments and businesses employ environmental scientists and specialists to ensure environments and human health are properly protected. Entities hiring environmental science graduates include local, state and federal levels of government, nonprofits and for-profit businesses.

In many cases, employers favor master's-level graduates, so an important objective of the program is to provide students with the prerequisites for admission into the Master of Arts and Master of Science in Environmental Science programs.

The environmental science degree program prepares graduates for graduate study or careers across the following settings:

  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Environmental remediation and compliance
  • Waste management
  • Soil science
  • Air and water quality management
  • Planning and conservation
  • Environmental education and communication
  • Environmental law (requires pre-law curriculum)

Financial aid and tuition

To support your journey to earning your undergraduate degree, the Frank And Mary Ellen Vaydik Annual Scholarship is available to environmental science majors. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also provides scholarships and financial aid to all declared majors.

Use our net price calculator to determine your financial aid and tuition savings.

Learn more about Wayne State University's B.S. in Environmental Science

Research, teach or change public policies with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degree from WSU. Challenge yourself and others to start working toward a cleaner, greener future for everyone.

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.