Woman with an ocean behind her.
School of the Environment

Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences

Become inspired to make a difference in your world in a program that prepares you to address the challenges of global climate change, environmental and resource conservation, and sustainability.

Explore the Possibilities

The Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences major features an interdisciplinary core coupled with a flexible curriculum that gives you the freedom to focus on what interests you most.

Graduates are well-prepared for numerous career opportunities or graduate school.

The flexibility of the Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences major allows you to choose from diverse specialized areas of interest (e.g., environmental policy or science, forestry, aquatic ecology, GIS) and various minors to build your own major. You can conduct hands-on research and gain management experience as preparation for graduate school or a career in environmental science, policy,education, consultancy, sustainability, natural resource management, and much more!

Career Opportunities

  • Environmental Scientist
  • Natural Resources Ecologist or Manager
  • Land, Watershed, Natural Area, Park or Wildlife Refuge Planner or Manager
  • Restoration Specialist
  • Environmental Advocate, Educator or Consultant
  • Resource Policy Advisor
  • Aquatic, Stream or Wetland Ecologist or Hydrologist
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Sustainability Consultant or Program Coordinator
  • Air Pollution Analyst
Student in a stream with dye being infused for testing.

Quick Facts

#31-74k+ Average starting salary for an environmental scientist (Salary.com, 2023)
5:1 Student to faculty ratio
$240k+ Across the SoE system we award over $240,000 a year in scholarships

Major Requirements

Minimum Total Credits: 120 credits

Your program may include different courses. Consult with your advisor about the best combination and order of courses for you. Visit the WSU Catalog for a list of required courses for this major and course descriptions.

General Education and Introductory Science and Math Requirements: 54–55 credits

SoE Core Requirements: 20–23 credits

Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences Major Core: 37–38 credits

  • 200–Level Elective: (choose one)
    • SOE 204: Natural Resources Measurements – 4 credits
    • SOE 230: Oceanography – 3 credits
    • SOE 275: Rivers: Form, Function, and Management – 3 credits
    • SOE 285: Science and Policy of Climate Change – 3 credits

Advanced Statistics Elective:

  • STAT 412: Statistical Methods in Research I – 3 credits

Professional Electives from Suggested Emphasis Areas: 31 credits

  • Maximum of 9 credits at 200-level, remainder at 300- and 400-level
  • Emphasis Areas: Natural Resource Ecology (Wildlife; Forestry); Environmental Science & Climate; Water Sciences; Earth Sciences; Policy & Planning; Plants/Horticulture
    • These are suggested emphasis areas. Students may work with their advisor to develop different emphasis areas that meet their career objectives.

Student using a radio in a field.