Jul 22, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Environmental Science — Freshwater & Terrestrial Ecology Emphasis, BS

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

Department of Environmental Sciences, College of the Environment

109-110 credits


Students admitted to the Environmental Science program can elect to focus their studies on an ecological area of the discipline through the Freshwater & Terrestrial Ecology major. The Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology emphasis has the same prerequisites and the same required areas and credit requirements as the broader Environmental Science major. The Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology emphasis is accomplished by selecting from courses that have been approved to meet the requirements for this major. These courses serve to fulfill the credit requirements in the four general areas that are part of all the Environmental Science majors: a capstone course, two lecture-lab combinations, an environmental applications experience, and any additional credits needed to fulfill the total credit requirement. The courses that can be applied to the Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology emphasis have been selected because they are relevant to meet the needs for a career and for graduate study that engages with freshwater and terrestrial ecology. 

Students wishing to complete the Environmental Science Freshwater & Terrestrial Ecology major in four years should complete the general chemistry series and the general biology series during their freshman and sophomore years. Prospective environmental science majors are strongly advised to take additional preparatory courses that provide a strong background in chemistry, biology and mathematics. The preparatory courses are listed with the major; preparatory classes may also be used to fulfill GURs. All preparatory courses required for admission should be completed on a lettered or numeric grading scale, not P/NP, and must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Ruth Sofield
Environmental Studies 344

College of the Environment
Admissions Advisor

Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539

 Sample Careers
Wildlife Biologist | Naturalist | Endangered Species Biologist | Environmental Inspector | Environmental Scientist | Fisheries Biologist | Marine Biologist | Safety and Health Specialist | Park Ranger | Aquatic Toxicologist | Wetlands Ecologist | Biological Survey | Water Resources Specialist | Soil Conservation Specialist
 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Admission to the Bachelor of Science program in Environmental Science is selective, based upon prior academic performance and a written application that addresses an applicant’s experience, motivation, and goals.

Students may apply for pre-major status at any time if they are in good academic standing (cumulative GPA ≥ 2.0). It is strongly advised that pre-majors meet with a College of the Environment admissions advisor as they begin their preparatory classes. Students can also declare as an Environmental Science pre-major during their first advising meeting to receive access to some 300-level courses, be assigned a faculty advisor and join the College of the Environment student listserv. Students will remain at pre-major status until all the preparatory classes have been completed. Students may then apply to be considered for full-major status by completing the major application.

The admission application can be found on the CENV Undergraduate Application webpage. Priority for admission will be given to students who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the preparatory courses (averaged across the preparatory classes). Students with a GPA below 3.0 in the preparatory courses will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Applications are accepted by April 18 for fall, October 6 for winter and January 15 for spring.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

Environmental Science prep and major requirements

Major (65 credits)


Under advisement (11-32 credits) to fulfill the total major requirements of 65 credits:

Freshwater & Terrestrial Ecology Requirements (34 credits minimum)