Environmental Studies

Environmental issues are among the most urgent facing our society. These issues have broad implications for economics, politics, business, and social welfare. Our ability to affect the environment causes changes in the quality of life of people around the world and threatens the existence of many species.

The environmental studies degree is a liberal arts program that provides you with a broad background in science, math, social sciences, and the humanities. You will develop the ability to understand concepts related to the environment and our effect on it, and to solve practical problems and find better ways of meeting complex environmental issues. The environmental studies degree is designed to prepare you for transfer to a related bachelor’s degree program.

Field Work

Field work is an integral part of this program. You may choose between studying at local or off-campus sites. Locally, the Tompkins Cortland Community College campus is situated in a geologically interesting mixed hardwood ecosystem. Within a short driving distance, you can study lakes, bogs, streams, and a variety of terrestrial systems. You may participate in the ongoing development of the nature study area on campus, visit important environmental areas maintained by Cornell University, or take advantage of courses offered in Costa Rica and the Adirondacks.

Careers on Career Coach

A degree in environmental studies prepares you for careers in environmental law, resource management, teaching, conservation, park management, environmental risk assessment, hazardous materials management, and for work as an environmental specialist, consultant, or policy analyst with government agencies and other organizations.

Select a career below to connect to Career Coach and find information about that career including median salary and job postings.

Explore more career options: A.S.

Program Chair

Kelly Wessell

Kelly Wessell, Ph.D.

Professor, Biology

Kelly received his Ph.D. in aquatic entomology from Michigan State University. His research interests include bioassassment of large river ecosystems and non-point source pollution of streams, but his passion is teaching. Kelly is the Environmental Studies Chairperson and regularly teaches ecology, evolution, and biodiversity courses for science majors and non-majors.

Read more

Transfer Options

The Environmental studies degree provides a foundation for transfer to a bachelor's degree program through general education, science, and environmental studies courses. Students may transfer to related bachelor's degree programs at many four-year institutions including:

  • Binghamton University
  • Cornell University
  • SUNY College at Cortland
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Ithaca College
  • University of Delaware
  • University of New England

Degree Requirements

A.S.
Minimum Credits for Graduation: 61 credits

Fall Term 1

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 14
BIOL104, General Biology I, 4 cr.
A minimum grade of C is required in BIOL 104.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
ENGL100, Academic Writing I, 3 cr.
A minimum grade of C is required in ENGL 100. A student exempted from ENGL 100 must substitute a 3-credit Unrestricted Elective. The course should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
ENVS101, Introduction to Environmental Science, 3 cr.
A minimum grade of C is required in ENVS 101.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
FSS132, Freshman Seminar - Environmental Studies, 1 cr.
FSS 132 is only offered in the Fall semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Choose one from the courses listed below:
Minimum credits required: 3
ECON120, Principles of Microeconomics Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
ECON121, Principles of Macroeconomics Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
ENVS107, Economy, Society & Environment Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
POSC103, American National Government Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
POSC104, American State and Local Government Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
POSC107, Economy, Society & Environment Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi

Spring Term 1

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 17
BIOL105, General Biology II, 4 cr.
A minimum grade of C is required in BIOL 105.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
ENGL101, Academic Writing II, 3 cr.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
ENVS102, Technology and the Environment, 3 cr.
A minimum grade of C is required in ENVS 102.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Choose one from the courses listed below:
Minimum credits required: 4
MATH120, College Algebra Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
MATH138, Precalculus Mathematics Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
MATH201, Calculus I Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
For the two SUNY GEN ED Restricted Electives in the degree, students must select coursework from two different areas chosen from the following: 4-American History, 5-Western Civilization, 6-Other World Civilizations, 8-The Arts, and 9-Foreign Language.
American History
HSTY201, American History to 1877, 3 cr.
HSTY202, American History Since 1877, 3 cr.
HSTY225, African American History, 3 cr.
HSTY233, Women in U.S. History, 3 cr.
HSTY255, Labor History, 3 cr.
WGST233, Women in U.S. History, 3 cr.

Western Civilization
ART101, History and Appreciation of Art I, 3 cr.
HSTY101, Development of the Western Tradition I, 3 cr.
HSTY102, Development of the Western Tradition II, 3 cr.

Other World Civilizations
ANTH202, Cultural Anthropology, 3 cr.
ANTH220, Dev Anthropology in a Globalizing World, 3 cr.
ANTH260, Culture Survey for Study Abroad, 3 cr.
HSTY110, World History to 1500, 3 cr.
HSTY111, World History Since 1500, 3 cr.
HSTY245, Topics in Modern Asia, 3 cr.
HSTY252, Native American History: Colonial Policies, 3 cr.
HSTY260, Topics in Modern Latin America, 3 cr.
HUMN232, Introduction to World Religions, 3 cr.
IED260, Culture Survey for Study Abroad, 3 cr.
POSC245, Topics in Modern Asia, 3 cr.
POSC260, Topics in Modern Latin America, 3 cr.
RECR150, Play Across Cultures, 3 cr.
SOCE150, Play Across Cultures, 3 cr.
SOCI220, Dev Anthropology in a Globalizing World, 3 cr.
SOCI225, Globalization & the Contemporary World, 3 cr.

The Arts
ART101, History and Appreciation of Art I, 3 cr.
ART102, History and Appreciation of Art II, 3 cr.
ART109, Graphic Design, 3 cr.
ART110, Design I, 3 cr.
ART111, Photography I, 3 cr.
ART112, Photography II, 3 cr.
ART114, Design II, 3 cr.
ART115, Painting I, 3 cr.
ART120, Drawing I, 3 cr.
ART122, Drawing II, 3 cr.
ART130, Ceramics, 3 cr.
ART180, Typography, 3 cr.
ART200, Illustration, 3 cr.
ART270, Computer Graphics I, 3 cr.
ART271, Computer Graphics II, 3 cr.
ENGL105, Beginning Acting, 3 cr.
ENGL200, Screenwriting, 3 cr.
ENGL212, Fiction Writing, 3 cr.
ENGL255, Writing the Dramatic Television Series, 3 cr.
ENGL256, Playwriting, 3 cr.
ENGL258, Creative Nonfiction Writing, 3 cr.
ENGL262, Poetry Writing, 3 cr.
MUSI101, Music Appreciation, 3 cr.
RECR215, Recreation and the Expressive Arts, 3 cr.
SOCE258, Creative Nonfiction Writing, 3 cr.

Foreign Language
ARAB101, Arabic I, 3 cr.
ARAB102, Arabic II, 3 cr.
CHIN101, Mandarin Chinese I, 3 cr.
CHIN102, Mandarin Chinese II, 3 cr.
FREN101, French I, 3 cr.
FREN102, French II, 3 cr.
FREN201, Intermediate French I, 3 cr.
FREN202, Intermediate French II, 3 cr.
GERM101, Beginning German I, 3 cr.
GERM102, Beginning German II, 3 cr.
ITAL101, Italian I, 3 cr.
ITAL102, Italian II, 3 cr.
RUSN101, Russian I, 3 cr.
RUSN102, Russian II, 3 cr.
SPAN101, Beginning Spanish I, 4 cr.
SPAN102, Beginning Spanish II, 3 cr.
SPAN201, Intermediate Spanish I, 3 cr.
SPAN202, Intermediate Spanish II, 3 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives

Fall Term 2

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 14
BIOL211, Ecology, 4 cr.
BIOL 211 is only offered in the Fall semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
CHEM107, General Chemistry I, 4 cr.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
ENGL201, Fundamentals of Speech, 3 cr.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
For the two SUNY GEN ED Restricted Electives in the degree, students must select coursework from two different areas chosen from the following: 4-American History, 5-Western Civilization, 6-Other World Civilizations, 8-The Arts, and 9-Foreign Language.
American History
HSTY201, American History to 1877, 3 cr.
HSTY202, American History Since 1877, 3 cr.
HSTY225, African American History, 3 cr.
HSTY233, Women in U.S. History, 3 cr.
HSTY255, Labor History, 3 cr.
WGST233, Women in U.S. History, 3 cr.

Western Civilization
ART101, History and Appreciation of Art I, 3 cr.
HSTY101, Development of the Western Tradition I, 3 cr.
HSTY102, Development of the Western Tradition II, 3 cr.

Other World Civilizations
ANTH202, Cultural Anthropology, 3 cr.
ANTH220, Dev Anthropology in a Globalizing World, 3 cr.
ANTH260, Culture Survey for Study Abroad, 3 cr.
HSTY110, World History to 1500, 3 cr.
HSTY111, World History Since 1500, 3 cr.
HSTY245, Topics in Modern Asia, 3 cr.
HSTY252, Native American History: Colonial Policies, 3 cr.
HSTY260, Topics in Modern Latin America, 3 cr.
HUMN232, Introduction to World Religions, 3 cr.
IED260, Culture Survey for Study Abroad, 3 cr.
POSC245, Topics in Modern Asia, 3 cr.
POSC260, Topics in Modern Latin America, 3 cr.
RECR150, Play Across Cultures, 3 cr.
SOCE150, Play Across Cultures, 3 cr.
SOCI220, Dev Anthropology in a Globalizing World, 3 cr.
SOCI225, Globalization & the Contemporary World, 3 cr.

The Arts
ART101, History and Appreciation of Art I, 3 cr.
ART102, History and Appreciation of Art II, 3 cr.
ART109, Graphic Design, 3 cr.
ART110, Design I, 3 cr.
ART111, Photography I, 3 cr.
ART112, Photography II, 3 cr.
ART114, Design II, 3 cr.
ART115, Painting I, 3 cr.
ART120, Drawing I, 3 cr.
ART122, Drawing II, 3 cr.
ART130, Ceramics, 3 cr.
ART180, Typography, 3 cr.
ART200, Illustration, 3 cr.
ART270, Computer Graphics I, 3 cr.
ART271, Computer Graphics II, 3 cr.
ENGL105, Beginning Acting, 3 cr.
ENGL200, Screenwriting, 3 cr.
ENGL212, Fiction Writing, 3 cr.
ENGL255, Writing the Dramatic Television Series, 3 cr.
ENGL256, Playwriting, 3 cr.
ENGL258, Creative Nonfiction Writing, 3 cr.
ENGL262, Poetry Writing, 3 cr.
MUSI101, Music Appreciation, 3 cr.
RECR215, Recreation and the Expressive Arts, 3 cr.
SOCE258, Creative Nonfiction Writing, 3 cr.

Foreign Language
ARAB101, Arabic I, 3 cr.
ARAB102, Arabic II, 3 cr.
CHIN101, Mandarin Chinese I, 3 cr.
CHIN102, Mandarin Chinese II, 3 cr.
FREN101, French I, 3 cr.
FREN102, French II, 3 cr.
FREN201, Intermediate French I, 3 cr.
FREN202, Intermediate French II, 3 cr.
GERM101, Beginning German I, 3 cr.
GERM102, Beginning German II, 3 cr.
ITAL101, Italian I, 3 cr.
ITAL102, Italian II, 3 cr.
RUSN101, Russian I, 3 cr.
RUSN102, Russian II, 3 cr.
SPAN101, Beginning Spanish I, 4 cr.
SPAN102, Beginning Spanish II, 3 cr.
SPAN201, Intermediate Spanish I, 3 cr.
SPAN202, Intermediate Spanish II, 3 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives

Spring Term 2

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 16
CHEM108, General Chemistry II, 4 cr.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
ENVS295, Global Seminar, 3 cr.
ENVS 295 is only offered in the Spring semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
MATH200, Statistics, 3 cr.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Choose one from the courses listed below:
Minimum credits required: 3
ENGL102, Approaches to Literature Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
ENVS105, Environmental Ethics Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
Select from: BIOL 115, BIOL 116, GEOL 101, PHSC 104, or PHSC 211. The course should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor. Note that some of the choices are Fall-only or Spring-only offerings.
BIOL115, Field Natural History, 3 cr.
BIOL116, Tropical Field Natural History, 4 cr.
GEOL101, Introductory Geology, 3 cr.
PHSC104, General Physics I, 4 cr.
PHSC211, Physics I (Mechanics and Heat), 4 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives


SUNY General Education & Tompkins Cortland Liberal Arts courses

Note: The @ symbol represents any course number or discipline. For example, BIOL @ means any course with a Biology course prefix. An @ alone means one course in any course discipline with any course number.