Program at a glance

How much does it cost? 

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How do I apply?

Open to all undergraduate students. Applicants must have a high-school diploma or GED. Learn how to apply.

What will I learn in an environmental science degree program?

As an environmental science major, you'll study the science necessary to solve a wide variety of environmental problems, including statistics, biology, geology and environmental science. You'll also take classes in environmental law and policy to help you understand the economic, legal and social factors that impact conservation efforts and the environment.

You'll choose one of five areas of specialization in the major, which gives you an opportunity to take electives in environmental topics that most interest you and support your career goals. All tracks in the major are highly interdisciplinary, including classes from the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources and the College of Science. Certain tracks also include courses in economics, policy or engineering, depending on their focus. 

Learn more about the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources

In the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, you'll receive valuable hands-on experience that prepares you for a successful career in high-demand industries.  With four departments and nearly 200 courses in agriculture, veterinary and rangeland sciences; biochemistry and molecular biology; natural resources and environmental science; and nutrition, we're ready to help you grow your future.

Specializations in the environmental science degree program

  • Ecohydrology specialization

    Ecohydrology is the interdisciplinary study of the water cycle and the relationship between water systems and their surrounding environments. The ecohydrology specialization focuses on topics such as water resource management, water quality, water ecosystems and managing natural resources that our important to watersheds and aquatic systems.

  • Ecological conservation and restoration specialization

    This specialization teaches you to conserve and restore native ecosystems, including local areas such as the Sierra Nevada mountains and forests and the Great Basin rangelands. You'll take courses in ecosystem management and geographic information systems, or GIS, technology. If you choose to do an internship during your program, you may also be able to apply for certification as a Certified Restoration Practitioner in Training. 

  • Natural resource planning and management specialization

    In the specialization in natural resource planning and management, you'll take courses in sciences such as biology, chemistry and geography, as well as courses in economics and public policy. You'll learn to integrate these areas of study to develop policy and planning solutions that address environmental problems. Graduates of this specialization gain skills in critical thinking, decision-making and science communication, and can go on to careers as natural resource planners and managers, working in both private and government agencies.

  • Pollution and environmental contaminants specialization

    Pollution is a growing problem across the globe and right in your background. If you choose the pollution and environmental contaminants specialization, you'll learn to understand how pollutants are generated and spread and how they impact human health. You'll study the chemistry and physics needed to understand pollutants such as pesticides, toxic metals and pharmaceuticals, and learn how you can address their impacts on our planet. 

  • Soil biogeochemistry specialization

    Soil is a critical natural resource and plays an important role in storing carbon, filtering water and providing nutrients to living organisms. Biogeochemists study the physics, chemistry and biology of soil to better understand how soil systems are part of flows of carbon, nutrients and water, and how they interact with the ecosystems around them. You'll gain practical skills in soil science, including experience investigating soil in the field, conducting analyses of soil in the lab and analyzing and reporting on that lab data. 

  • Minor in environmental science

    The minor in environmental science offers a foundation in the science underlying environmental issues as well as a framework for understanding the social and political factors that impact environmental policy. You'll take courses in a wide range of topics, such as forest ecology, wildlands hydrology and water development across the globe. A flexible curriculum allows you to choose the courses that are most relevant to you while still providing a well-rounded foundation in environmental science.  

Careers with a degree in environmental science

You can afford the University of Nevada, Reno

46% of undergraduate students receive financial aid

Almost everyone is eligible to receive financial aid. If you think your family’s income is too high to qualify for financial aid, you might be surprised.

50%+ of all students graduate with no debt

That's right. More than half of our students leave the University of Nevada, Reno with no student debt.

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At the University of Nevada, Reno Honors College, our students maximize their unique gifts and passions through a series of personalized experiences that deepen their capacity for transformative societal impact.

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