The BS in Environment & Sustainability (BS-ES) curriculum equips students for a lifetime of environmental changemaking through hands-on learning, interdisciplinary perspectives, immersive experiences, personal development, and a diverse and hopeful community invested in wider transformation.

First and second years


At the core of the BS-ES is a set of foundational courses. These courses strive to introduce students to an array of relevant disciplinary knowledge, skills, and mindsets that are essential in engaging with any environment and sustainability challenges. The foundational units include sequences of “Interruptions and Integrations” that frame each semester in the first year, a two-course science sequence with accompanying labs, coursework focusing on ethical and justice issues and considerations, an emphasis on theories and practices of transformation, and culminating formative courses where students reflect on their foundational experiences while planning their trajectory for the next phase.

Students in the BSES will fulfill areas of the College of Arts and Sciences’ liberal arts core through many of the program’s interdisciplinary foundational courses. The College of Arts & Sciences’ core coursework offers opportunities for students to cultivate skills and build knowledge.

The typical first and second year journey looks as follows, with the first year comprising 14 total credits, and the second year comprising 13 total credits:

Recommended Completion YearCreditsRequired Foundational Courses
11 crERTH-1008: Opening Interruption: Ecological Belonging
11 crERTH-1009: Closing Integration: Wellbeing
13 crERTH-1010: Environmental & Sustainability Science I
11 crERTH-1011: Environmental & Sustainability Science I Lab
11 crERTH-1018: Opening Interruption: Environment & Power
11 crERTH-1019: Closing Integration: Embodied Transformation
13 crERTH-1020: Environmental & Sustainability Science II
21 crERTH-1021: Environmental & Sustainability Science II Lab
23 crPHIL-1101: Environmental Ethics
21 crERTH-1029: Closing Integration: Simulation
23 crERTH-1039: Integration: Formation
23 crERTH-2020: Theories of Change
23 crERTH-2110: Experiential Rotations
23 crERTH-2240: Environmental Justice

Experiential Rotations

BS-ES students typically take this interdisciplinary course in their second year, serving as a bridge between their foundational work on the Hilltop and the immersive, developmental experiences they will have at the Capitol Campus. In this course, students will encounter the breadth and depth of four areas of environment and sustainability work and research including: Science & Health, Justice & Communities, and Policy & Governance. Students will engage in experiences across these content areas at the action-academic nexus. They will identify, engage, and reflect on these experiences through connections to the content areas that can help inform their own particular areas of interest. 

Third and Fourth Years

Quantitative Reasoning

Students in the third year of the BS-ES will take 3 credits of classes in quantitative reasoning. These credits are designed to provide students an introduction to quantitative approaches to environment and sustainability work. The following are course options:

Environmental Skills/Methods

In the third year of the BS-ES, students will take 3 credits of courses in environmental skills and/or methods. These credits are designed to provide students with exposure to different methodological approaches to environment and sustainability studies and work in the field.

Peer Leadership 

In the upper division years, all students will participate in a form of credit-bearing student peer leadership, either peer teaching, mentoring or experience creation. Instruction and mentoring in peer leadership is built into credit-bearing work in both the third and fourth years. In the upper division there are specifically six credits designated for peer leadership (as part of the larger category of personal and professional formation). These breakdown as:

Professional Development 

All students will have a 3-credit professional development experience, which will include a professional internship (internal or external to Georgetown) and a corresponding seminar. To fulfill these credits, students will need to enroll in the following course: 


All students will complete 6-credits of coursework towards a research capstone project or an equivalent impact project in the arts, education, activism, or community engagement. The 6-credits of capstone work will be broken up into two 3-credit courses taken over the fall and spring semesters of a student’s fourth year in the BS-ES. 

Custom Pathway 

In the third year of the BS-ES degree, students will choose a custom pathway to organize their upper division coursework. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the BS-ES degree, students will be encouraged to build their custom pathway around the nexus of two areas of work (E.g. Food & Policy).  In working with their advisors students will go through a process of proposing their intended areas of focus, and then complete 18-credits of coursework that are related to their chosen topic areas.

Environmental Immersion

The BS-ES  is designed to support students engaging in at least one Environmental Immersion (abroad, in the US, and/or in DC region). We believe that these experiences should be both intercultural experiences as well as providing depth in their knowledge and application of environment and sustainability. We will advise students in every way to ensure that as close to 100% of students do an environmental immersion, but it will not be required

Through Environmental Immersions, students will explore the ways that global problems and questions on environment and sustainability often manifest in local impacts, which in turn require local responses. This interconnection between global and local is an integral part of the design of the BS in Environment & Sustainability and directly relates to the core competency—Global Communities & Local Impacts & Actions.

Environmental Immersions will take a variety of different forms, but are all focused on developing the knowledge and behaviors that inform responsible local and global action to address environmental and sustainability challenges. Some immersions may take the shape of existing study abroad programs while other environmental immersions may take different forms, Environmental Immersions will take place at a variety of different sites, and cover a variety of topics.