Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES)

Connect with O'Neill Admissions

If you are a current high school student, contact us at (812) 855-6774 or

Schedule a visit

Study Environmental Management and Environmental Science at O’Neill

Description of the video:

Study Environmental Management & Environmental Science at the O'Neill School

AUDIO: Light music.

IMAGE: The Indiana University logo and white text that reads “O’NEILL SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS” is shown on a black screen.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 1: Environmental Management is one of those majors that's very unique to O'Neill, and I gravitated toward this major because I was really interested in environmental advocacy, but I wasn't super interested in the nitty-gritty science aspect of it.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 2: My major is Environmental Science, and I chose this major because I've always been fascinated with science my entire life. It is a very heavy science major. There is a lot of chemistry, physics, and biology in that.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 3: I'm majoring in Environmental Management, and I chose that because I really like science. I also really like people. So I really wanted something that would combine those two.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 2: As an Environmental Science student, your classes actually have access to the IU Research and Teaching Preserve. And so you get to go out there to a bunch of acres of protected forest with University Lake, which is an old reservoir.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 1: I would describe Environmental Management as a blend between environmental science and public policy.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 3: So you get that background on how environmental processes like the Greenhouse Effect work, but then you learn how laws and private sector/nonprofit actions interact with those scientific processes.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 1: If you're someone who's interested in helping the environment and doing environmental work, but you're not very interested in doing hard sciences of an Environmental Science degree, then Environmental Management would be a really good option for you.

AUDIO, SPEAKER 3: I just wanted to be involved in these really important environmental issues that we're facing today.

AUDIO: Light music.

IMAGE: The Indiana University logo and white text that reads “O’NEILL SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS” is shown on a black screen.


BSES success stories


Ashlyn Carter, BSES’18
Law Student, IU McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis

“I was inspired to apply to law school after listening to my O’Neill School professors speak passionately about the environment. My undergraduate environmental science degree was so rigorous that the academic skills I learned have been invaluable in law school—and helped me balance life in general. Keep an open mind; this degree can take you places you did not plan.”

Corben Andrews
2020 Sustainability Scholar

“I feel like the opportunities I’ve had have given me a taste for what it is like to really work in the field of sustainability.”

Program learning goals

Expand for detailed learning outcomes. 

1.1. Biology

1.2 Chemistry

1.3 Physics

1.4 Geology

1.5 Ecology

2.1 Develop a familiarization in both laboratory and field procedures

2.2 Demonstrate the ability to interpret and synthesize both field and laboratory based research 

2.3 Apply laboratory and field research techniques to examine environmental sciences questions/problems

2.4 Understand benefits, trade-offs, and coordination of laboratory vs field environmental science

3.1  Understand the connections between human and natural systems

3.2 Understand the institutional structures (policy, incentives, economic) that are used to manage natural systems

3.3 Understand cultural, historical context in which natural systems exist

4.1 Use of digital tools for understanding and solving quantitative problems including computer software for statistical, tabular, graphical and/or spatial analysis of data

4.2 Statistical techniques in sampling and analysis

4.3 Understanding of basic calculus tools

5.1 identify relationships among human, biological, chemical and other disciplinary sub-systems

5.2 compare and evaluate environmental systems across space and time

5.3 select relevant information and data to address a particular environmental challenge

5.4 assess complexity in a given environmental system (e.g., feedback loops, emergent qualities, etc.)

6.1 Write and speak effectively to communicate technical environmental science information that is concise, well-organized, well-referenced, and distinguishes between observation and inference.

6.2 Develop graphic visuals that effectively communicate environmental science information in the form of charts, tables, figures.

6.3 Interpret and translate environmental science information for a variety of audiences including scientists, policy-makers, and the general public.

Required coursework

The BSES is a joint degree program between the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the College of Arts + Sciences—to offer you a selection of courses on a wide range of environmental topics, taught by over 40 faculty and instructors across Indiana University.

You’ll follow an interdisciplinary approach, gaining knowledge and tools from the traditional sciences, such as biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, mathematics, meteorology, and physics. Many of the courses include field and laboratory work, providing valuable hands-on experience, and demonstrating the applied nature of environmental science. At the same time, you will be encouraged to think broadly about the relationships between science, policy, and management.

As a student in the O'Neill School, you will complete your degree requirements based on your matriculation date – the date you entered Indiana University Bloomington.

Your Academic Advising Report is your personalized report outlining your progress toward graduation. The requirements below are for advising purposes only and are not official. To discuss your degree requirements and academic goals, make an appointment with your academic advisor.

Go to the current academic bulletin


50 years at O'Neill