Recommendations for First-Years
Title of Course
LAB: Environmental Science I (Labs listed individually)
Earth’s Environmental Systems: Climate + lab**
Earth’s Env. Systems: Solid Earth + lab**
**EESC UN2100 or EESC UN2200 may be taken with lab to fulfill the Science and Lab requirements.
Recommendations for Incoming First-Year Students
Students interested only in fulfilling Science Lecture and/or Lab Foundations Requirements are encouraged to take EESC BC1001 with its laboratory class EESC BC1011 and then take another Science class (second laboratory not necessary) to fulfill the Science Requirement. EESC BC1011 also fulfills Thinking Locally Foundations Requirement.
Students wishing to major or minor in Environmental Science, or major in Environment and Sustainability or Environmental Biology, may begin with EESC BC1001 or enroll in EESC UN2100, Earth’s Environmental Systems: Climate or UN2200, Earth’s Environmental Systems: Solid Earth, if they have had a solid science background. Both EESC UN2100 and UN2200 are required for Environmental Science majors and are fast-paced courses; they are offered in both the fall and spring semesters, so students may either begin with one of the Earth’s Environmental Systems courses or might want to take one in the spring after experience with college-level classes. We do not advise that First Year Students enroll in courses over the 2000-level in the first semester.
We encourage First-Year students considering a major in Environmental Science, Environment and Sustainability, or Environmental Biology, to take a look at the relevant Suggested Four Year Program Worksheets, keeping in mind that these are samples used for planning. Students should select courses and the semesters they are taken in consultation with their Academic Adviser or an Environmental Science instructor in order to create a plan that best suits them and to be prepared to retool and modify their plan as they go.
Environmental Science Major
Program I Worksheet—beginning with Earth’s Systems
Program II Worksheet—beginning with Introduction to Environmental Science
Environmental Science Minor
Environment and Sustainability Major
Environmental Biology Major
Credit and Placement
Matters of Credit
Please see courses listed for major requirements in Environmental Science major and minor, and Environment and Sustainability, and Environmental Biology majors. Note that AP credit can not be used to fulfill a major or minor requirement. For information on credit for requirements and courses not listed below or as part of major or minor requirements, please consult your adviser or the departmental chair.
Requirements for the Degree
Distribtution requirements at Barnard have transitioned from Nine Ways of Knowing (for students who entered prior to Fall 2016) and Foundations for all students entering since Fall 2016.
The following reflects matters of credit for Nine Ways of Knowing Requirements, while students fulfilling Foundations Requirements need not take two take Science lab courses, but two science lecture courses and one science lab course. Other matters of credit remain the same. In all cases, consult with your advisor Environmental Science Department Chair for questions concerning major requirements and credit from elsewhere.
Cultures in Comparison Requirement
EESC BC3032, Agricultural and Urban Land Use, can be taken to fulfill the Cultures in Comparison Requirement.
Laboratory Science Requirement
Barnard students may complete the Laboratory Science Requirement in Environmental Science with EESC BC 1001 Introduction to Environmental Science* or they may choose any two of the following Environmental Science courses:
BC1001, Introduction to Environmental Science (first semester only)
UN1001, Dinosaurs and the History of Life (includes lab)
UN1011, Earth Origin, Evolution, Processes, Future (includes lab)
S1011, Introduction to Earth Sciences (summer)
UN2100, Earth’s Environmental Systems: Climate
UN2200, Earth’s Environmental Systems: Solid Earth
UN2300, Earth’s Environmental Systems: The Life System
*EESC BC1001 is not required for the major but may be used as an elective. Potential majors with a strong science foundation should consider taking EESC UN2100 in the fall.
Social Analysis Requirement
EESC BC3040, Environmental Law, can be taken to fulfill the Social Analysis Requirement.
Science Requirement credit from coursework done elsewhere
Students must submit transcript information and lab notes to Professor Maenza-Gmelch, the instructor for BC1001, in order to fulfill the Science Requirement with a laboratory course completed at another accredited institution. Lab science courses completed elsewhere must meet for at least three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Lab courses taken over the summer must meet for a total of at least 5 weeks and both lecture and laboratory sections must meet for a minimum of 35 hours each.
If a student receives approval for an environmental science course towards one semester of the Science Requirement, but the course does not meet the requisite 3 hours per week for a total of 5 weeks, then, a complementary environmental science lab science course must be taken to complete that half of the Lab Science Requirement.
To complete the Lab Science Requirement, a second semester of a lecture and lab course must be taken as well as that additional lab course such as EESC BC3013, Shorelines and Streams, EESC BC3014, Field Methods, EESC BC3016, Environmental Measurements or EESC BC3026, Land-use, Bird and Plant Dynamics. Students receiving transfer credit may not enroll in EESC BC1001 for completion of their second semester of the requirement.
AP Credit in fulfillment of the Science Requirement
Students with an AP score or 4 or 5 receive 3 points of academic credit and one semester of the lecture portion of the science requirement (the equivalent of EESCBC1001).
For those students completing the Nine Ways of Knowing Lab Science Requirement, a second semester of a lecture and lab course must be taken as well as an additional lab course such as EESC BC3013, Shorelines and Streams, EESC BC3014, Field Methods, EESC BC3016, Environmental Measurements or EESC BC3026, Land-use, Bird and Plant Dynamics. Students receiving AP credit may not enroll in EESC BC1001 for completion of their second semester of the requirement. Upon examination of AP lab notes by Professor Maenza-Gmelch, the instructor for BC1001, exempted AP students may receive an additional 1.5 points of credit and possible exemption from one semester of the lab portion of the requirement. (Note that AP credit is not applied to fulfill major requirements.) For more information on AP credit, see the AP Credit page on the Registrar's website.
SEE-U and the Science Requirement
Students may also complete the lab science requirement by combining the Columbia SEE-U summer program with a laboratory course approved by the Environmental Science Department Chair. Barnard students receive 5 points of transferable credit upon completion of the SEE-U program. See below for more information about SEE-U and other kinds of credit.
SEA Semester and the Science Requirement
Students may complete the lab science requirement by combining the SEA Semester program with an Environmental Science laboratory course approved by the Environmental Science Department Chair. Barnard students can receive 17 transferable credits for SEA Semester.
Barnard students can receive 17 transferable credits for SEA Semester. Students may complete the lab science requirement by combining the SEA Semester program with an Environmental Science laboratory course approved by the Environmental Science Department Chair.
Minors in Environmental Science can receive 2 courses worth (1 lab, 1 lecture) of credit towards the minor requirement.
Environmental Science and Environmental Policy Majors can receive 3 courses worth of major credit, among the following:
Oceanography (3 semester hours) = can substitute for UN2100, Climate (if taken before Climate)
Practical Oceanography I (4 semester hours) = one major elective course
Practical Oceanography II (4 semester hours = one major elective course
(or Practical Oceanography I & II together fulfill 1 semester of other basic science for the major requirement)
Nautical Science (3 semester hours) = one major elective course
Environmental Biology Majors should see the department regarding credit.
SEE-U (as of 2014)
Barnard students receive 5 points of transferable credit upon completion of the 5-week-long study abroad SEE-U program. They may complete the lab science requirement by combining the Columbia SEE-U summer program with EESC BC1002 or another laboratory course approved by the Environmental Science Department Chair.
Environmental Science minors who have completed SEE-U receive credit for 1 laboratory course of the minor requirement.
Environmental Science majors who have completed SEE-U receive credit for a major elective.
Environment and Sustainability majors who have completed SEE-U receive credit for the biology course segment of the Natural Science Foundation requirement.
Environmental Biology Major should see the department regarding credit.
Columbia University's Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates (SEE-U) program is offered by the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES). SEE-U provides undergraduate students of all majors with a global understanding of ecology and environmental sustainability by allowing students to study in unique natural settings around the world. With field-sites in Brazil, Jordan, and India, SEE-U students learn traditional field-ecology techniques from leading scientists and participate in a combination of lectures, labs, and topical discussions in their chosen location. Topics covered by the SEE-U Program include biomes, ecological processes, and contemporary issues in conservation biology and sustainable development.
The SEE-U Program is designed for non-science majors, as well as undergraduate students beginning scientific degree programs. There are no course prerequisites required to enroll in the SEE-U Program and no prior knowledge is needed of the topics, techniques, or computer programs used. All course instruction is in English.
Placement in Courses for Majors and Potential Majors
Please see Major Course requirements. The following are some notes on placement.
Exploring Environmental Science--where to begin?
Students with a strong science background who are interested in majoring in Environmental Sciences are advised to take Earth's Environmental Systems: Climate (EESC UN2100) followed by Earth's Environmental Systems: Solid Earth (EESC UN2200). These two courses are required for all Environmental majors.
Students interested in exploring Environmental Science or who are concerned about their science background, could take Intro. to Environmental Science, EESC BC1001 in the fall. In the spring, they can decide between a course such as EESC UN1011, Earth Origin, Evolution, Process, Future for non-majors, or shift into the major sequence of EESC UN2100. EESC BC1001 is not required for the major but may be used as an elective.
Which introductory Biology class should you take?
As stated in the catalog, you can enroll in the 2000-level classes with an AP score of 4 or higher. But you should also know that if you have had prior experience in Biology and are at all adventurous, you are also advised to enroll directly in BIOL BC 2002 (Physiology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology) in the fall. If you have had other science courses already you should consider this option. Environmental Science majors are definitely encouraged to take the 2000 level sequence with the lab.
The 1001 course is really designed for students with little preparation and an uncertain commitment to studying science. For example, if you have not had biology since 9th grade and are uncertain about your abilities or interest, then the 1000 level course is probably the place to start.
Note that the Biology Department does offer an optional take-home placement exam that you can pick up in the Biology Office, 1203 Altschul. If you can answer half the questions, the 2000 sequence is right for you.
Which introductory Chemistry class should you take?
We recommend that majors in Environmental Science take CHEM BC2001 (General Chemistry) early in their academic career.
For a limited number of students with a weaker background in Chemistry, but would like to continue with Organic Chemistry, the Chemistry Department offers the preperatory lecture course CHEM BC1002y, (Molecules and Matter: Fundamentals of Chemistry). Major credit in any of the Environmental Sciences is not given for this course. Majors should speak with their major adviser as well as a member of the Chemistry Department.
Students majoring in Environment and Sustainability, may elect to replace the Chemistry Requirement with either EESC BC3016, Environmental Measurements with additional Natural Science Foundation course or a Quantitative Foundations Analysis/Skills course (see the Major Worksheet for the Environment and Sustainability major for particulars).
Which introductory Physics class should you take?
We think that the best course for Environmental Science majors to take is PHY BC1206-7 here at Barnard. The course is calculus-based, and the support system the Physics Department offers is very strong. Camaraderie develops among the students, there is plenty of team problem-solving, and the class-size is manageable (40-50), providing a real small college experience. The other students in the class are likely to be astro, physics, chem, and biochem majors, along with a couple of interesting others. Perhaps you're not ready for it now, but you might be once you've had the time to take the calculus pre-requisites.
The PHY UN1201-2 sequence offered by CU is very large, pre-med and algebra-based. If you're interested in taking this class, you might want to discuss it first with Tim Halpin-Healy. You might also want to consider taking the first semester in the spring (off sequence,) when the class sizes tend to be smaller.
Environmental Science majors and potential majors should shop and compare to appreciate the very big differences between the CU course and the Barnard offering. You could try sitting in on both courses for a lecture or two when you are trying to make your decision.