Environmental & Ecosystem
SciencesIcon: Outline of planet Earth with leaf superimposed.

Photo: Woman crouches near a pool of water in a forest, holding up a test tube sample.

Application Deadline

  • Spring: December 8
  • Summer: April 12 (early sessions)
  • Fall: July 19

Class Begins

  • Spring: January 8, 2024
  • Summer: May 6, 2024 (early sessions)
  • Fall: August 19, 2024

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Science
in Earth and Environmental Sciences

WSU College

College of Arts and Sciences and College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Understand Our Environment. Make a Difference.

Are you fascinated by the beauty and complexity of our planet’s natural environment? Do you want to make an impact and discover ways to protect the diverse forms of life on earth? Enter the fields of environmental and ecosystem sciences and get inspired to explore the world around you while addressing the increasing challenges of global change, resource conservation, and environmental sustainability.

Degree Completion Program

Graphic: Transfer Credicts plus Global Campus Courses equal WSU Degree.

Note: This program requires credit from science courses to be transferred in from outside of WSU Global Campus.

Why Study Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences?

Environmental scientists and ecologists use empirical methodology to better understand the complex physical and biological systems that make up our vibrant and diverse planetary ecosystem. They focus on the interactions of physical, chemical, and biological conditions of natural and human-modified environments with the goal of solving growing environmental challenges. Wildlife conservation, pollution reduction, a changing climate, and natural resource sustainability are among the pressing issues addressed by those in these fields.

Find out more from an Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences Outstanding Senior!

What You’ll Learn

WSU’s earth and environmental sciences degree completion program with a major in environmental and ecosystem sciences combines transferred courses with WSU Global Campus courses to provide a broad base of knowledge in biological and physical sciences relating to earth’s environment and ecosystems. Global Campus courses, delivered 100% online, offer a flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum that instills a solid base of scientific methodology and critical thinking while allowing you to focus on subjects that interest you.

Areas of study you can explore include the interactions within ecosystems, how the services of our ecosystems support life on earth, plant, wildlife and aquatic ecology, climate science, water resources, soil health, environmental conservation and restoration, resource management and sustainability, and more. WSU’s experienced faculty members combine scientific theory and empirical methodology with a practical, real-world approach, helping students to better address the planet’s pressing environmental challenges.

Upon graduation, you will be prepared to advance in your current career or pursue employment in ecological restoration, environmental planning, wildlife conservation, sustainability consulting, and a wide variety of other jobs in both the public and private sector. An earth and environmental science degree can also be a stepping stone to graduate education in environmental sciences and related fields, including WSU’s Master of Science in Agriculture, offered 100% online.

Photo: Man with notebook and pencil studying plant in forest in summer afternoon

WSU Earth and Environmental Sciences Program Strengths

  • Students at WSU’s School of the Environment get the opportunity to learn from experienced College of Arts and Sciences faculty and College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences faculty with expertise in a wide variety of fields in the environmental, ecosystem and earth sciences.
  • The online ecosystem degree completion program gives students a convenient and flexible option to complete an environmental science degree started at a community college or campus-based university.
  • Students have the option to earn an Organic Agriculture Undergraduate Certificate while completing their degree.

Program of Study

All WSU courses are available online

All WSU undergraduates must complete a minimum of 120 semester credits of which 40 credits must be at the 300 – 400 level. Students must also complete the University Common Requirements (UCORE). These can generally be satisfied with a direct transfer degree. For a list of direct-transfer agreements, visit WSU’s Transferring an Associate Degree page.

Students must also fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences graduation requirements and the program requirements of the degree.

A student may certify a major in environmental and ecosystem sciences upon completing 24 credits with a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

A student maintains eligibility for the major by completing each of the following courses with a C or better by the end of the fourth semester in the major: MATH 106, MATH 108, BIOLOGY 106, BIOLOGY 107, CHEM 101 or 105, CHEM 102 or 106, SOE 101 or 102, and SOE 110. In addition, admitted students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

This is a degree completion program. The program requires credit from science courses to be transferred in from outside of WSU Global Campus.

The following courses must be taken before coming to WSU Global Campus:

  • CHEM 101 [PSCI] – Introduction to Chemistry OR CHEM 105 [PSCI] – Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 102 – Chemistry Related to Life Sciences OR CHEM 106 – Principles of Chemistry II

If you need assistance finding courses from other institutions that are equivalent to the courses listed above please visit Transfer Credit or email online.admissions@wsu.edu. Our admissions counselors are here to assist you.

Physical Sciences

  • CHEM 101 [PSCI] – Introduction to Chemistry
  • CHEM 102 [PSCI] – Chemistry Related to Life Sciences

Quantitative Reasoning

  • MATH 106 – College Algebra, MATH 108 – Trigonometry, and STAT 212 [QUAN] – Introduction to Statistical Methods
    MATH 171 [QUAN] – Calculus I


  • COM 102 [COMM] – Public Speaking in the Digital Age
    H_D 205 [COMM] – Developing Effective Communication and Life Skills

Inquiry in the Social Sciences

  • ECONS 101 [SSCI] – Fundamentals of Microeconomics

Introductory Courses

  • SOE 101 [PSCI] – Introduction to Geology
  • SOE 110 [BSCI] – The Environment, Human Life, and Sustainability

200-Level Course

  • SOE 230 [PSCI] – Introductory Oceanography
    SOE 285 – The Science and Policy of Climate Change

Earth Systems

  • SOE 210 [PSCI] – Earth’s History and Evolution


  • BIOLOGY 372 [M] – General Ecology
    SOE 300 [M] – Natural Resource Ecology

Spatial Analysis

  • SOIL_SCI 368 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Water Science

  • SOE 315 – Water and the Earth

Society and Environment

  • SOE 312 [DIVR] – Natural Resources, Society, and the Environment
    POL_S 430 [CAPS] [M] – The Politics of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy


  • SOE 404 [CAPS] [M] – The Ecosystem

Students will take 31 credits of electives in areas of Political Science, Criminal Justice, Geospatial Analysis, Earth Sciences, Wildlife Ecology, and Conservation Sciences. Students may consider completing minor(s) and/or certificate(s) in these areas. Possible options include the Organic Agriculture Certificate and/or minors in Political Science focusing on Policy, or Soil Sciences.

Students admitted to the School of the Environment are required to fulfill the Experiential Requirement before graduation. This requirement is designed to give students experience that they will not receive in the traditional classroom oriented course, and to better prepare them for a successful career after graduation.

There are various ways to complete this requirement, and students are encouraged to choose an experience of interest to them. Approved courses include SOE 492, SOE 495, and SOE 499; or as approved by advisor. In lieu of a course, students can complete a milestone of 135 hours of relevant practical experience. Students can discuss options for completing this requirement with their Global Campus academic advisor.

Students must complete the University Writing Portfolio, and three Writing in the Major courses.

All students, including community college transfer students with an approved transferable AA degree from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Arizona or Hawaii, or students pursuing a second major in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be held to the following additional requirements:

  • Foreign Language: Complete 2 years of high school or 1 year of college in a single foreign language
  • Complete an Equity and Justice [EQJS] designated course
  • Additional 1 lab credit of [BSCI], [PSCI] for a total of 8 semester credits and 2 labs.

Please review the online WSU Catalog for additional information about specific degree requirements.

Related Certificates

Global Campus offers these related undergraduate certificate programs that you can consider pairing with your Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences degree.