Green Leaf

The Environmental Science, BS provides students with rigorous training in the fundamental science of the environment, and in the application of the key scientific principles to the analysis of environmental processes and problems and to the development of practical responses to those problems. The program covers ecological systems, environmental policy and the fundamental techniques of environmental science and engineering, protection and improvement of environmental quality, and public and private decision-making processes. Graduates of the program are prepared to undertake careers in a variety of environmental science fields, and are also qualified to pursue advanced scientific/professional education.

This is a Green Leaf program

Concentrations

Students select a concentration in:

  • Conservation
  • Ecological Science
  • Environmental Health
  • Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change
  • Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Ecology

Admissions

University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Policies

Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, including the Mason Core.

Students can fulfill the writing intensive requirement for this major by taking EVPP 337 Environmental Policy Making in Developing Countries.

For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-BS-EVSC

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Core Requirements

All students complete the following core courses:

Environmental Science

EVPP 210Environmental Biology: Molecules and Cells4
EVPP 301Environmental Science: Biological Diversity and Ecosystems4
EVPP 302Environmental Science: Biomes and Human Dimensions4
EVPP 305Environmental Microbiology Essentials3
EVPP 306Environmental Microbiology Essentials Laboratory1
EVPP 337Environmental Policy Making in Developing Countries 13
EVPP 361Introduction to Environmental Policy3
EVPP 377Applied Ecology3
EVPP 430Fundamentals of Environmental Geographic Information Systems3
BIOL 214Biostatistics for Biology Majors4
Select one from the following:3
Human Dimensions of the Environment
Economics of Environmental Policy
Intermediate Environmental Policy
Global Biodiversity Governance
Select one from the following:3-4
RS: Ecological Sustainability (Mason Core)
lntegrated Environmental Assessment
Sustainability in Action (Mason Core)
RS: Integrated Conservation Strategies (Mason Core) 2
Total Credits38-39
1

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

2

Only offered through the Smithsonian-Mason Semester.

Chemistry

CHEM 211General Chemistry I (Mason Core)3
CHEM 213General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)1
CHEM 212General Chemistry II (Mason Core)3
CHEM 214General Chemistry Laboratory II (Mason Core)1
Total Credits8

Mathematics

Select two from the following:7-8
Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
Total Credits7-8

Geology

GEOL 102Introductory Geology II (Mason Core)4
Total Credits4

Information Technology

CDS 130Computing for Scientists (Mason Core)3
Total Credits3

Concentration in Conservation (CNSV)

Select 21 credits from the following:21
Conservation Biology
RS: Ecological Sustainability (Mason Core)
Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Directed Topic in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation
Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation Field Course
Marine Conservation
Disease Ecology and Conservation
Field Environmental Science 1
Global Biodiversity Governance
Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Internship 1
Biodiversity
and Biodiversity Lab and Recitation
Selected Topics in Biology 1
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Sustainable Development
Conservation in Practice 2
Conservation Theory 2
Applied Conservation 2
Ecology and Conservation Theory 2
Biodiversity Monitoring 2
Human Dimensions in Conservation (Mason Core) 2
Science Communication for Conservation 2
Human-Wildlife Conflict 2
RS: Integrated Conservation Strategies (Mason Core) (Synthesis course) 2
RS: Conservation Management Planning (Mason Core) 2
Special Topics in Conservation 2
Internship
Independent Study/Research
The Mysteries of Migration: Consequences for Conservation
People with Nature
Human Behavior in Natural Environments
Additional courses as approved by the program coordinator
Total Credits21
1

In a relevant topic

2

Only offered through the Smithsonian-Mason Semester

Concentration in Ecological Science (ECSI)

Select 21 credits from the following:21
Introduction to Oceanography
Freshwater Ecosystems
Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration
RS: Ecological Sustainability (Mason Core)
Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Directed Topic in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Mushrooms, Molds and Society
Disease Ecology and Conservation
Field Environmental Science 1
Marine Ecology
Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Internship 1
Biodiversity
and Biodiversity Lab and Recitation
Plant Ecology
Selected Topics in Biology 1
Fungi and Ecosystems
Environmental Geology
Soil Science
Sustainable Development
Additional courses as approved by the program coordinator
Total Credits21
1

In a relevant topic

Concentration in Environmental Health (EVHL)

Required Courses
EVPP 427Disease Ecology and Conservation3
EVPP 445Principles of Environmental Toxicology3
Select 15 credits from the following:15
Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Directed Topic in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Medical Mycology
Field Environmental Science 1
Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Internship 1
Molecular Environmental Biology I
Biology of Microorganisms
and Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
Applied and Industrial Microbiology
Medical Microbiology
Histology
Global Environmental Hazards
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Sustainable Development
Air Pollution
Issues in Global Change
Global Health (Mason Core)
Health and Environment
Environmental Health
Additional courses as approved by the program coordinator
Total Credits21
1

In a relevant topic

Concentration in Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change (HERC)

Required Course
EVPP 336Human Dimensions of the Environment3
Select 18 credits from the following:18
Introduction to Oceanography
Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration
RS: Ecological Sustainability (Mason Core)
Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Directed Topic in Environmental Science and Policy
Disease Ecology and Conservation
Energy Policy
The Human Dimensions of Global Climate Change
Field Environmental Science
Global Biodiversity Governance
Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy
Internship
Global Warming: Weather, Climate, and Society (Mason Core)
Introduction to the Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science (Mason Core)
Introduction to the Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science Lab (Mason Core)
Physical Climatology
Severe and Extreme Weather
Air Pollution
Physical Oceanography
Atmospheric Chemistry
Introduction to Oceanography
Dynamic Atmosphere and Hydrosphere (Mason Core)
Global Environmental Hazards
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Sustainable Development
Meteorology and Climate
Physical Climatology
Severe and Extreme Weather
Air Pollution
Biogeography
Issues in Global Change
Data Analysis and Global Change Detection Techniques
Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation
Additional courses as approved by the program coordinator
Total Credits21
1

In a relevant topic

Concentration in Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Ecology (MEFC)

Required Courses
EVPP 309Introduction to Oceanography3
EVPP 350Freshwater Ecosystems4
EVPP 421Marine Conservation3
EVPP 449Marine Ecology3
Select 8 credits from the following:8
Conservation Biology
Coastal Morphology and Processes
Wetlands of the World
Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Directed Topic in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation
Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation Field Course
Disease Ecology and Conservation
Field Environmental Science 1
Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy 1
Internship 1
Invertebrate Zoology
The Diversity of Fishes
Marine Geology
Chemical Oceanography
Sustainable Development
Physical Oceanography
Exploring Virginia's Watersheds
Additional courses as approved by the program coordinator
Total Credits21
1

In a relevant topic

Mason Core and Elective Credits

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 37-39 credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, and elective courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Note: Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication6
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology3-7
Core Requirements
Arts3
Global Understanding3
Literature3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 1
Synthesis/Capstone3
Total Credits40
1

minimum 3 credits

Bachelor's Degree (Green Leaf)/Environmental Science and Policy, Accelerated MS

Overview

This degree option allows highly qualified George Mason University students to earn an Environmental Science and Policy, MS in less time than if they had first graduated with an environmentally-focused Green Leaf-designated BA or BS degree and then applied to the MS program sequentially.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate programs, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students with an overall GPA of at least 3.20 who are pursuing any Green Leaf-designated major or minor may apply for provisional acceptance into this accelerated master's program after completing two semesters of chemistry (including CHEM 211 General Chemistry I (Mason Core) and CHEM 212 General Chemistry II (Mason Core)) and three semesters of biology, including a course in ecology, or the equivalent, for example:

Select one of the following options:13
Option 1:
Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)
Biostatistics for Biology Majors
Foundations of Ecology and Evolution
Option 2:
Environmental Biology: Molecules and Cells
Environmental Science: Biological Diversity and Ecosystems
Environmental Science: Biomes and Human Dimensions
Environmental Microbiology Essentials
Environmental Microbiology Essentials Laboratory
Option 3:
Conservation Theory
Applied Conservation
6 credits of 6 credits of BIOL or CONS electives
Option 4:
Ecology and Conservation Theory
Biodiversity Monitoring
BIOL or CONS electives

By the beginning of the undergraduate's senior year, they should first submit a Graduate Application for Accelerated Master's Program form (obtained from the Office of Academic and Student Affairs). Secondly, in their senior year accelerated master's students must complete the two graduate courses indicated on their Accelerated Master's Program Application with a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all coursework and in coursework applied to their major. Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in a Green Leaf-designated program, in the semester indicated in the application, they must additionally submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form (found on the Office of the University Registrar website) and will subsequently be admitted into graduate status.

By at least the beginning of their senior year, they should seek out a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy who is willing to serve as their advisor (unless the student is planning to enroll in the MS concentration in Environmental Management). This advisor will aid the student in choosing the appropriate graduate courses to take and help to prepare the student for graduate studies. Admission into a research-oriented master's concentration is dependent upon securing the agreement of a faculty advisor. Faculty from a variety of departments and colleges at George Mason (called "program faculty") can serve as master's advisors. Potential students are encouraged to speak with the graduate program coordinator in the department to obtain guidance on this issue.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at Mason must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admission Policies section of this catalog, excluding the GRE exam requirement (which is not required for those enrolled in the accelerated program). This includes three letters of recommendation (at least one from a former professor or someone with a PhD), a recent resume, a statement of interest/research goals and interests (including information on the candidate's proposed MS research), and a letter from their advisor stating that the advisor agrees to take on the candidate as an MS student, how the candidate would be a good fit for them and why candidate's research topic would be suitable (please note that a letter of endorsement from an advisor not necessary for candidates taking the Environmental Management concentration).

For information specific to the accelerated Environmental Science and Policy, MS, see Graduate Admissions on the department's website.

Reserve Graduate Credits

Students admitted to this program may take graduate courses after completing 90 undergraduate credits, and up to 6 credits of appropriate environmentally-focused graduate coursework may be used in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the undergraduate degree. If students earn at least a 3.00 GPA in these classes, they are granted advanced standing in the master's program and must then complete an additional 27-31 credits to receive the master's degree. 

To apply these credits to the master's degree, students must request that the credits be moved from the undergraduate degree to the graduate degree using the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form found on the Office of the University Registrar website (as noted above).

Students may take up to 6 additional environmentally-focused graduate credits as reserve graduate credit. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree but will reduce the subsequent master's degree credits accordingly (e.g., with 6 credits counted towards undergraduate degree plus the maximum 6 reserve credits, an MS could be completed with 21 post-bachelor's credits). The ability to take courses for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department.