Earth and Environmental Sciences Major

Admission to the Major

Gateway courses for the major

To declare E&ES as a major, students are required to have completed an E&ES gateway course (E&ES101, E&ES115, E&ES197, or E&ES199), and to have completed (or be currently taking) two gateway courses (or higher) in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics.

E&ES101Dynamic Earth1.25
E&ES115Introduction to Planetary Geology1
E&ES197Introduction to Environmental Studies1
E&ES199Introduction to Environmental Science and Sustainability1

Sophomore Seminar

E&ES195Sophomore Field Course0.5

Major Requirements

  • E&ES gateway course (E&ES101, E&ES115, E&ES197, or E&ES199).
  • Earth and environmental scientists need a broad background in the natural sciences. Therefore, E&ES majors are required to take one year (two semesters) of gateway courses from two of the following disciplines for a total of four courses: biology (BIOL181/BIOL182), chemistry (CHEM141/CHEM142 or CHEM143/CHEM144), mathematics (MATH119/MATH120, or MATH121/MATH122), or physics (PHYS111/PHYS112 or PHYS113/PHYS116). Upper-level courses in these disciplines can be substituted, as can statistics courses for mathematics. Students are urged to complete these introductory courses within their first two years. Students considering professional work in the sciences are encouraged to take gateways in more than two disciplines, including any associated lab courses, as well as upper-level coursework in other natural science and mathematics disciplines.
  • The Sophomore Field Course (E&ES195). This course is typically taken during the spring semester of the sophomore year. 
  • The Senior Seminar (E&ES497). This capstone is typically taken in the senior year.
  • For the Class of 2020 and earlier: Seven upper-level courses, comprised of three "cores" and four "electives." Lab courses associated with the primary courses are required. Up to two upper-level natural science or math courses taken in other departments can count as electives; up to two preapproved courses from study-abroad programs can also count as cores or electives. At least four of the upper-level courses must be Wesleyan E&ES courses. Tutorial and the senior thesis do not count towards the requirement.

The Department of E&ES does not require completion of Wesleyan's General Education Requirements to complete the major. Honors students are required to complete Wesleyan's General Education Requirements through stage II.

Core Courses

E&ES213
E&ES214
Mineralogy
and Laboratory Study of Minerals
1.5
E&ES215
E&ES216
Earth Materials
and Earth Materials Laboratory
1.5
E&ES220
E&ES221
Geomorphology
and Geomorphology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES223
E&ES224
Structural Geology
and Field Geology
1.5
E&ES230
E&ES231
Sedimentology
and Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
1.5
E&ES234
E&ES235
Geobiology
and Geobiology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES250
E&ES251
Environmental Geochemistry
and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
1.5
E&ES260
E&ES261
Oceans and Climate
and Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
1.5
BIOL216Ecology1

Elective courses

E&ES201Geology of Connecticut1
E&ES236Mass Extinctions in the Oceans: Animal Origins to Anthropocene1
E&ES244
E&ES245
Soils
and Soils Laboratory
1.5
E&ES246
E&ES247
Hydrology
and Hydrology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES248Environmental Investigation and Remediation1
E&ES270Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences1
E&ES280
E&ES281
Introduction to GIS
and GIS Service-Learning Laboratory
1.5
E&ES313
E&ES314
Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
and Laboratory Study of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
1.5
E&ES317Volcanology1
E&ES321Planetary Evolution1
E&ES342Ecological Resilience: The Good, the Bad, and the Mindful1.25
E&ES359Global Climate Change1
E&ES361Living in a Polluted World1
E&ES368Isotope Geochemistry1
E&ES375Modeling the Earth and Environment1
E&ES380Advanced GIS and Spatial Analyses1
E&ES385
E&ES386
Remote Sensing
and Remote-Sensing Laboratory
1.5

Senior Seminar

E&ES497Senior Seminar1

For the Class of 2021 and later: Seven upper-level courses. Five of these courses must cover the following thematic areas: two from "Earth and Planets" (numbered 201-233 and 301-333), two from "Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Atmosphere" (numbered 234-266 and 334-366), and one from "Methods" (numbered 267-299 and 367-399). Lab courses associated with the primary courses are required. The remaining two courses may come from any thematic area. Also, the following can be used: Up to two upper-level natural science or math courses taken in other departments, and up to two preapproved courses from study-abroad programs. At least four of the upper-level courses must be Wesleyan E&ES courses. Tutorials and the senior thesis do not count towards the requirement.

The Department of E&ES does not require completion of Wesleyan's General Education Requirements to complete the major. Honors students are required to complete Wesleyan's General Education Requirements through stage II.

Earth and planet courses

E&ES201Geology of Connecticut1
E&ES213
E&ES214
Mineralogy
and Laboratory Study of Minerals
1.5
E&ES215
E&ES216
Earth Materials
and Earth Materials Laboratory
1.5
E&ES220
E&ES221
Geomorphology
and Geomorphology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES223
E&ES224
Structural Geology
and Field Geology
1.5
E&ES230
E&ES231
Sedimentology
and Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
1.5
E&ES313
E&ES314
Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
and Laboratory Study of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
1.5
E&ES317Volcanology1
E&ES319
E&ES320
Meteorites and Cosmochemistry
and Meteorites Laboratory
1.5
E&ES321Planetary Evolution1

hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere courses

E&ES234
E&ES235
Geobiology
and Geobiology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES236Mass Extinctions in the Oceans: Animal Origins to Anthropocene1
E&ES238The Forest Ecosystem1
E&ES240Invasive Species: Biology, Policy, and Management1
E&ES244
E&ES245
Soils
and Soils Laboratory
1.5
E&ES246
E&ES247
Hydrology
and Hydrology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES248Environmental Investigation and Remediation1
E&ES250
E&ES251
Environmental Geochemistry
and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
1.5
E&ES260
E&ES261
Oceans and Climate
and Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
1.5
E&ES342Ecological Resilience: The Good, the Bad, and the Mindful1.25
E&ES359Global Climate Change1
E&ES361Living in a Polluted World1

method courses

E&ES270Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences1
E&ES280
E&ES281
Introduction to GIS
and GIS Service-Learning Laboratory
1.5
E&ES368Isotope Geochemistry1
E&ES375Modeling the Earth and Environment1
E&ES380Advanced GIS and Spatial Analyses1
E&ES385
E&ES386
Remote Sensing
and Remote-Sensing Laboratory
1.5
E&ES399Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Environmental Science Journalism1

Career Options and the E&ES major

Earth and environmental sciences majors go on to pursue a wide range of careers, limited only by their own imaginations. E&ES courses can be selected to help prepare for a student’s long-term interests. The course listings below are not requirements, but suggested guidelines. Students interested in academic or research careers should consider involvement in research or producing a senior thesis.

Geology. These courses can help prepare students for academic careers or jobs in industry or government in natural resource or geohazard management (e.g., USGS, water resources, mining and energy industries).

E&ES101Dynamic Earth1.25
E&ES115Introduction to Planetary Geology1
E&ES201Geology of Connecticut1
E&ES213
E&ES214
Mineralogy
and Laboratory Study of Minerals
1.5
E&ES220
E&ES221
Geomorphology
and Geomorphology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES223
E&ES224
Structural Geology
and Field Geology
1.5
E&ES230
E&ES231
Sedimentology
and Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
1.5
E&ES246
E&ES247
Hydrology
and Hydrology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES260
E&ES261
Oceans and Climate
and Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
1.5
E&ES280
E&ES281
Introduction to GIS
and GIS Service-Learning Laboratory
1.5
E&ES313
E&ES314
Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
and Laboratory Study of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
1.5
E&ES317Volcanology1
E&ES321Planetary Evolution1
E&ES380Advanced GIS and Spatial Analyses1
E&ES385
E&ES386
Remote Sensing
and Remote-Sensing Laboratory
1.5
E&ES497Senior Seminar1

Environmental Science/Environmental Chemistry. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in consulting, government, or nonprofit organizations (e.g., EPA, NOAA, USGS, state agencies), or for academic careers in climate science and water resources.

E&ES197Introduction to Environmental Studies1
E&ES199Introduction to Environmental Science and Sustainability1
E&ES213
E&ES214
Mineralogy
and Laboratory Study of Minerals
1.5
E&ES220
E&ES221
Geomorphology
and Geomorphology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES223
E&ES224
Structural Geology
and Field Geology
1.5
E&ES234
E&ES235
Geobiology
and Geobiology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES244
E&ES245
Soils
and Soils Laboratory
1.5
E&ES248Environmental Investigation and Remediation1
E&ES250
E&ES251
Environmental Geochemistry
and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
1.5
E&ES260
E&ES261
Oceans and Climate
and Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
1.5
E&ES270Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences1
E&ES280
E&ES281
Introduction to GIS
and GIS Service-Learning Laboratory
1.5
E&ES359Global Climate Change1
E&ES380Advanced GIS and Spatial Analyses1
E&ES368Isotope Geochemistry1
E&ES497Senior Seminar1
BIOL216Ecology1

Environmental Science/Ecology. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in government, consulting, and nonprofit organizations (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state conservation agencies, Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society) or academic careers in conservation and natural resource management.

E&ES197Introduction to Environmental Studies1
E&ES199Introduction to Environmental Science and Sustainability1
E&ES234
E&ES235
Geobiology
and Geobiology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES244
E&ES245
Soils
and Soils Laboratory
1.5
E&ES248Environmental Investigation and Remediation1
E&ES250
E&ES251
Environmental Geochemistry
and Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
1.5
E&ES260
E&ES261
Oceans and Climate
and Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
1.5
E&ES270Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences1
E&ES280
E&ES281
Introduction to GIS
and GIS Service-Learning Laboratory
1.5
E&ES359Global Climate Change1
E&ES368Isotope Geochemistry1
E&ES380Advanced GIS and Spatial Analyses1
E&ES385
E&ES386
Remote Sensing
and Remote-Sensing Laboratory
1.5
E&ES497Senior Seminar1

Planetary Geology. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in government and industry (e.g., NASA, remote sensing, and GIS contractors) or for academic careers in space science and remote sensing.

E&ES101Dynamic Earth1.25
E&ES115Introduction to Planetary Geology1
E&ES213
E&ES214
Mineralogy
and Laboratory Study of Minerals
1.5
E&ES220
E&ES221
Geomorphology
and Geomorphology Laboratory
1.5
E&ES223
E&ES224
Structural Geology
and Field Geology
1.5
E&ES280
E&ES281
Introduction to GIS
and GIS Service-Learning Laboratory
1.5
E&ES313
E&ES314
Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
and Laboratory Study of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
1.5
E&ES317Volcanology1
E&ES321Planetary Evolution1
E&ES380Advanced GIS and Spatial Analyses1
E&ES385
E&ES386
Remote Sensing
and Remote-Sensing Laboratory
1.5
E&ES497Senior Seminar1

General Education

Candidates for honors in E&ES are required to complete the University’s General Education Expectations through stage II.

Student Learning Goals

Students graduating with a BA degree in earth and environmental sciences should be able to:

  • Decipher the structure, composition, and dynamics of the earth system. The student should understand the structure and composition of earth’s spheres (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere), and how these spheres interact with one another and change over time.
  • Apply the scientific method. The student should be able to develop and test scientific hypotheses.
  • Understand data. The student should understand how earth and environmental sciences data are produced, interpreted, and applied.
  • Apply quantitative tools. The student should be able to select and apply appropriate quantitative techniques to earth and environmental sciences questions (e.g., calculus, statistics, spatial analysis).
  • Use the primary literature. The student should be able to search for and understand publications from the primary scientific literature.
  • Critically evaluate scientific claims. The student should be able to critique arguments made in the earth and environmental sciences literature.
  • Communicate. The student should be able to present earth and environmental sciences data and their interpretation in a variety of written, visual, and oral formats.
  • Conduct research. The student should be able to carry out an original research project, including: the identification of a research problem; the formulation of a hypothesis; the design of the methodology; the collection, processing, and interpretation of data; and the presentation of findings in written, visual, and oral formats.

Related Programs or Certificates

  • The College of the Environment, which includes the environmental studies-linked major and Environmental Studies Certificate, provides a linkage between the sciences, public policy, economics, and the arts and provides a wide variety of career options.
  • The Planetary Science Group and the Planetary Science Course Cluster seek to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system in which we live and the other solar systems that we have identified in our galaxy.
  • The Service-Learning Center and Service-Learning Course Cluster seek to broaden students’ understanding of course content through activities that are, at the same time, of service to the community.

BA/MA Program

[wesleyan.edu/grad/degree-programs/bama.html]

This program provides an attractive option for science majors to enrich their course and research background. The course requirements for the BA/MA are the same as the MA. It is important for students interested in the BA/MA program to plan a course of study early enough (nominally in the junior year) to meet the MA requirements over both the senior and MA years. Admission is competitive and based on GPA, faculty recommendations, and research experience.

HONORS

Candidates for honors in E&ES are required to complete the University's General Education Expectations through stage II.

Capstone Experience

E&ES409Senior Thesis Tutorial1
E&ES410Senior Thesis Tutorial1
E&ES497Senior Seminar1.5