Environmental Studies

What is Environmental Studies?

During an era when the world is facing a wide range of environmental problems that are in the news virtually every day, environmental studies (EVST) has become a particularly timely and important major.

The environmental studies major provides an opportunity for the systematic investigation of the natural world and the interaction of humans with their own environment. Environmental issues and conflicts of this century are highly complex and transcend traditional academic disciplines. The goal of the environmental studies program at UC is to provide the interdisciplinary training and conceptual framework required to analyze and respond to the complex and dynamic environmental problems of the modern world.

The solutions to environmental issues and conflicts will continue to require expertise from the natural and social sciences such as biology, economics, engineering and political sciences, but the real-world solutions will also require a more interdisciplinary perspective. They require professionals who take a systems approach: an approach that addresses the complex interrelationships within and among components of natural, built and social environments.

The goal of our environmental studies curriculum is to produce professionals with a strong foundation in the key sciences who also "speak the languages" of the multiple disciplines involved in environmental problem solving and have learned to interact in interdisciplinary teams. The curriculum includes courses that examine the biological environment (e.g., biology and ecology), the physical environment (e.g., chemistry, geology and geography), and the social-human environment (e.g., policy, ethics and economics). The curriculum also emphasizes the acquisition of "tools of the trade," such as field and lab skills, data analysis, the identification of plants and animals, and computer-based approaches such as satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems.

The keys to success in environmental studies are both a curiosity about and a passion for the natural world. The complex nature of environmental issues and solutions also requires creativity in problem-solving, flexibility, imagination and a talent for both written and oral communication. Successful students have strong analytical and critical thinking skills and an interest in the sciences that form the foundation of UC’s approach to environmental studies.

Career Possibilities

Graduates of environmental studies may choose to pursue professional careers after the BS or to continue their studies in either graduate schools (MAs or PhDs in fields such as biology, ecology or environmental science/studies) or professional schools (e.g., law school, education, or medicine). Career opportunities include positions in federal, state and local agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, consulting firms and academic institutions. Examples of potential careers include:

  • Air or water pollution analyst
  • Aquatic ecologist 
  • Resource, land or lake management 
  • Ecologist or biological researcher 
  • Environmental agency or nonprofit official
  • Environmental consultant 
  • Environmental risk assessor
  • Environmental attorney 
  • Environmental compliance analyst
  • Hydrologist/limnologist
  • Park naturalist or ranger
  • Environmental mediator/negotiator
  • Hazardous waste manager
  • Satellite remote sensing
  • Geographic information systems specialist 
  • Conservation biologist 
  • Natural resource specialist
  • Environmental protection specialist
  • Wetlands/grasslands restoration specialist 
  • Zoologist/wildlife biologist
  • Waterway restoration specialist
  • Policy analyst


UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

Students in the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

Special Programs

The University of Cincinnati and its Center for Environmental Studies present an ideal physical and intellectual location in which to study, producing broadly trained, interdisciplinary environmental professionals. Cincinnati is an urban area surrounded by rural communities; this urban-to-wild land gradient provides an array of diverse ecosystems for academic study and research. As such, the local environment is challenged by both the municipal and industrial needs of a city, and the broad impact of activities such as farming and land management. UC is home to a diverse faculty and a rich curriculum that actively address environmental issues and problems. Faculty in the center have many interests and are drawn from several departments of the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (e.g., biological sciences, geography, geology, economics and communication), the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science and the UC College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, as well as from professional scientists of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The expertise within the university is supplemented by the presence of three major research divisions of the EPA: the National Center for Environmental Assessment, the National Environmental Research Laboratory and the National Risk Management Research Laboratory. The close proximity (across the street!) of the EPA facility markedly expands the resources available to environmental research and education, and many UC students have held positions and internships at the EPA. Additional opportunities include affiliated student environmental groups such as LEAP (Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection), undergraduate research opportunities, and internships with local or national agencies and organizations.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

Transferring to UC Requirements

Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has 2.0 GPA cum and a 2.0 in the most recent institution.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a 2.0 GPA cum

For more information, Pathways Advising and Student Success

Transfer students should apply using our transfer student online application

Changing Majors within UC Requirements

Admission to A&S is generally available for any on-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has 2.0 GPA cum.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a 2.0 GPA cum

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:

  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the college.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the College Core Requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quick Facts

Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies

Full-Time Program Duration

4 Years


Uptown Campus West


612 Rieveschl Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0006
Phone: (513) 556-9707
Paula Breslin