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Washington State University

Environmental & Ecosystem Sciences

The Environmental and Ecosystems Sciences (EES) major at WSU combines a broad interdisciplinary science and social science background coupled with a flexible advanced curriculum for specialization.

This flexibility allows students to choose in-depth studies in a minor or specialized area of interest (e.g., aquatic ecology, forestry, geospatial analysis). This major provides you with hands-on research and management experience and prepares you for graduate school and management careers in a wide variety of environmental positions.

Our EES major is offered at our Pullman, Vancouver and Tri Cities campuses.



Your Experience in Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences

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

  • Benefit from a flexible interdisciplinary science curriculum that gives you the freedom to focus on what interests you the most and prepares you for numerous careers and graduate school
  • Acquire hands-on experience from research at campus ecology laboratories, field camps, internship programs, and study abroad
  • Work closely with professors who are nationally recognized for
    • Environmental science
    • Conservation biology and genetics
    • Climate change biology
    • Landscape and restoration ecology
    • Aquatic ecology, water science, & water resource management
    • Plant and wildlife ecology and management
    • Earth science
  • Receive academic and professional advising throughout your time here to support your optimum scholarly, professional and personal growth
Photo courtesy of Rebekah Lumkes
north fork clearwater river

Photo courtesy of Dr. Lisa Shipley
environmental science club

Expand your interest in the Environment and Ecosystems with field trips, lectures/seminars, scientific demonstrations and restoration activities by joining the Environmental Science Club.

Learn the fundamental concepts of environmental and ecosystem science through course work and hands-on experience.

REU students on mountaintop

Gain hands-on experience through field trips, field camps, internships and research.

Your Course of Study

  1. University general education requirements (UCORE)
  2. Basic biology, chemistry, math & statistics classes
  3. Earth and Environmental Science integrated common core classes
    • SOE 300 Natural Resources Ecology OR BIOL 372 General Ecology
    • Introduction to GIS (SOILS 368)
    • SOE 210 Earth History & Evolution OR SOE 250 Intro to Earth System Science
    • SOE 312 Nat Res & Society OR POL_S 430 The Politics of Natural Resource & Environmental Policy
    • SOE 315 Water & Earth OR NATRS 460 Watershed Management
  1. Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences majors choose Professional electives, minor or internships that match your interests and enhance your career goals. Students often choose to focus in:
    • Aquatic Ecology & Water Science
    • Environmental Science & Global Change
    • Landscape Ecology & Natural Resources Management
    • Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing
  2. Experiential
    • Internships
    • Undergraduate Research
    • Senior Thesis
    • Study Abroad

Pullman Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences Advising Sheet (pdf)

Tri Cities Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences Advising Sheet (pdf)

Vancouver Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences Advising Sheet (pdf)

When you have competed your Environmental and Ecosystem major you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the complex interactions of humans and ecological systems in the natural world.
  • Interpret and apply basic statistical analysis or systems modeling methodology in environmental analysis.
  • Interpret, synthesize, and apply a wide range of scientific literature in the ecological and environmental sciences, particularly dealing with both climate change and global change.
  • Interpret a wide range of scientific literature in biology, ecology, and environmental science and apply this information to problem-solving analysis, specifically in the realms of environmental and natural resource sciences and sustainability.
  • Prepare technical reports and analyses of environmental, resource ecology, and sustainability issues and present analytical results and conclusions effectively in both written and oral communication.
  • Interpret environmental, resource management, and sustainability conflicts from multiple perspectives.
  • Effectively analyze and integrate the social and natural sciences to understand diverse environmental and sustainability challenges ranging from local issues to global environments

Your Hands-on Experiences

Your degree in Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences includes opportunities for both experiential learning with field trips, internships and study abroad as well as capstone courses to apply your scientific knowledge in a problem-solving atmosphere.

Your Career Options in Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences

Careers for environmental science graduates include:

  • Ecological restoration consultant
  • Wetland scientist
  • Spatial data analyst
  • Water resources manager
  • Ground water advisor
  • Watershed specialist
  • City or regional planner
  • Parks and recreation planner
  • Earth science editor and writer
  • Forest or park ranger
  • Fishery manager
  • Oceanographer
  • Marine conservation biologist
  • Marine fish conservationist
  • Water pollution control technician
  • Hazardous materials manager
  • Health advocate
  • Soil consultant
  • Weather forecaster
  • Sustainability consultant

More Careers and Opportunities

Students workin on river cleanup

Environmental Science Club

The WSU Environmental Science Club (ESC) is an active student community created to network, practice professional development, and participate in community service through the School of Environment. Meetings are held twice-monthly to foster a dedicated community of  students working on campus and community activities and projects to promote and demonstrate our values of sustainability and environmental management.

Examples of ESC events include stream and trail cleanups, teaching children about runoff pollution at the Kid’s Science and Engineering Fair, social events such as hiking Kamiak Butte, and hosting professional development activities where students can connect with and learn from SOE alumni.

In addition, ESC offers leadership and engagement opportunities. Officer and project roles are always open to those wishing to develop skills in group management and event planning.

Overall, ESC seeks to empower students to become leaders and get involved with their campus community.

Meeting times are announced in the fall. Contact Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kara Whitman