Which Courses Work for Environmental Studies and How
If you are pursuing the revised (2021) BA you must take the core sequence. You must take the core courses in order, except that ENST 3891: Environmental Studies Learning Community is a one-hour course repeated over three semesters—concurrently with ENST 2813 and ENST 3893, and one other semester.
The Cornerstone is like “boot camp” for the program. The course is designed for students who have declared the major, and are ready to dive into interdisciplinary work. It offers an overview of environmental teaching and research at OU; emphasizes the importance of integrating disciplinary perspectives on environmental topics; and gives students experience at working on teams, and at interacting with faculty and professionals in environmental fields. Most importantly, it trains students to plan an independent research project on an environmental topic; that plan is like the term paper for the course. (F)
The Research Project is an independent study into an environmental issue with one or more faculty researchers. Students will carry out the plan they developed in the Cornerstone, gaining experience at conducting in-depth academic research. Under faculty supervision, students will mostly work independently, gaining experience with methods appropriate to the topic they are investigating, and with ways to organize and present their findings. Note: students can fulfill this requirement by taking some other “high impact” experience—e.g. an internship, a service learning class, or a study abroad program. (F, Sp, Su)
The Seminar involves intensive study of models of interdisciplinary scholarship—major academic works that integrate multiple disciplines. It thereby furthers students’ training at taking an interdisciplinary approach to the environment. By presenting exemplary scholarship, the course aims to help students recognize rigorous standards for interdisciplinary work, which they can then apply to their work in other Environmental Studies courses. (F)
The Capstone is the culmination of the Environmental Studies major. Other classes help students integrate knowledge about environmental issues gained from a range of disciplines. In the Capstone they apply that skill by working on a team to address a local or regional environmental concern. Drawing on the disciplinary strengths of its members, each team will synthesize an interdisciplinary understanding of the issue at hand, and then propose a scientifically and socially informed, and ethically justified, policy response. (Sp)
The Learning Community deepens students’ engagement with Environmental Studies’ culture of interdisciplinary interaction. It is a one-hour class, taken three times over a student’s time in the major. Students will engage in a variety of activities including (among others) presentations on academic and policy topics; workshops on career planning; and environmentally-related service projects. Students will take the Learning Community concurrently with the Cornerstone class; as they carry out their Research in Environmental Studies; and one additional semester. (F, Sp)
Electives for the Revised (2021) BA
If you are pursuing the revised (2021) BA, you must take 15 hours of electives: 6 hours from the Interdisciplinary category, and 9 hours from the Single-discipline category. For the Single-discipline category, you must take classes from three of these four groups: Natural Sciences (NS), Social Sciences (SS), Humanities (HU), and Applied Disciplines (AD).
Click the button for a table that shows all the approved electives for the revised BA. You can sort by category, or search (use the tags to find courses in a given category). The table also indicates courses’ Gen-Ed designation, if applicable.
|Category||Course Title||GenEd Type||Prerequisites|
|#ID||ENST 1013: Consumption and the Environment||III. Social Science||None|
|#NS||ENST 2203: Ecosystem Impacts of Climate Change||II. Natural Science||None|
|#SS||GEOG 4943: Natural Hazards||III. Social Science||Junior or senior standing|
|#AD||L A 4943: History and Theory of Landscape Architecture||None||Junior standing or permission of instructor|
Electives for the Pre-2021 BS and BA
If you are completing the Environmental Studies BS, or the BA under the pre-2021 rules, your electives are still available. The categories for the old electives are Natural Sciences (#NS), Social Sciences (#SS), Humanities (#HU), Environmentally-related Skills (#SK), and Major Support (#MS) courses.
Elective Credit for Other Courses
Courses not on our lists might be appropriate for elective credit. These can include transfer courses, study abroad courses, special topics classes, other special classes (e.g. OSLEP), or new courses we have not yet added. If you have taken, or plan to take, a course—at OU, or elsewhere—that you think is appropriate as an elective, please contact the Environmental Studies advisor to submit it for approval. Please provide a course syllabus, including topics covered, readings, and descriptions of assignments, for the semester you took the class.