Concentration Requirements

Concentration Information

ESPP is designed to provide a multi-disciplinary introduction to current problems of the environment. It is founded on the premise that the ability to form rational judgements concerning many of the complex environmental challenges which confront society today requires both an understanding of the underlying scientific and technical issues and an appreciation for the relevant economic, political, legal, historical and ethical dimensions. It offers students an opportunity to specialize in a specific area of either natural or social science relating to the environment.

Students applying for the concentration are required to submit a short essay indicating why this concentration suits their interests and career plans. Concentrators are required to formulate plans of study designed to comply with the concentration requirements, to indicate when the courses will be taken without time conflicts and to identify elective courses that will provide in-depth understanding of a particular area of environmental science and/or policy.  All students have to satisfy a core of requirements in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, economics, government and mathematics. First year students interested in concentrating in ESPP should consider taking courses that will meet ESPP requirements in two or three areas if scheduling permits. Due to the sequencing of more advanced courses, many of which have prerequisites, progress with required courses in Chemistry and Mathematics will allow for more flexible course schedules in sophomore, junior, and senior years.

Course Requirements

For detailed information on course offerings, visit our Courses page.

Basic Requirements: 13 courses

  1. Introductory Course: The introductory course is designed to provide a multi-disciplinary examination of a particular current environmental challenge.   1 course chosen from:
    ESPP 11. Sustainable Development
    EPS 50. The Fluid Earth: Oceans, Atmosphere, Climate, and Environment
    SPU 25. Energy: Perspectives, Problems, and Prospects
    SPU 29. The Climate-Energy Challenge 
    SPU 31. Energy Resources and the Environment
    SLS 25. Trees, Forests and Global Change
  2. Physical Sciences 1 or 11 or EPS 135. 1 course
  3. Mathematics and/or Statistics 2 courses
    (Minimum: Math 1a & 1b but more advanced courses are encouraged)
  4. OEB 10 or Life Sciences 1a or 1b or OEB 55  1 course
  5. ESPP 77 or 78 1 course
  6. Economics 1661 or 1687 1 course*
  7. Advanced-level Courses 4 courses in the student's field of specialization. At least one course must be from the social sciences/policy and at least one course must be chosen from the natural sciences or engineering. One course must be in EPS unless a student has taken EPS 22, SPU 25, SPU 29 or SPU 31 as their introductory course in 1 above.

    Students must file a plan of study and identify their field of specialization by the end of their sophomore year. Plan of study will be developed in consultation with the student's adviser and will be reviewed and approved by the Board of Tutors. The plan of study is to be revised and reviewed at the end of their junior year.

  8. ESPP 90. Junior Seminar (consistent with field of specialization) 1 course
  9. ESPP 91r. Capstone Project  In the capstone project, students conduct an in-depth examination of a particular environmental issue consistent with their field of specialization. Non-Honors: ESPP 91r. Supervised Reading and Research (the typical requirement is a term-paper or equivalent). 1 course

Honors Requirements: 14 courses

Requirements: 1-8 above, plus ESPP 99r (Senior Thesis)  2 courses

Other Information:

Course Substitutions. Students interested in substituting a course in place of the above requirements should consult their concentration adviser and submit a petition to the Head Tutor.

*Depending on a student's background, an additional course in Microeconomics may be required in order to take Economics 1661 or 1687.