About Environmental Science and Studies

CCSF's Environmental Science and Studies majors and the Sustainability certificate are designed to evaluate and address environmental and resource challenges locally and globally through an interdisciplinary study of the connections between humans and the environment.

Through the required units for these programs, you will apply core principles and methods across disciplines to explore how the environment influences and is influenced by human institutions.  You will learn to analyze scientific, economic, political, and societal factors impacting environmental and natural resource problems and both critically evaluate and propose sustainable solutions. The major also provides opportunities for experiential learning through laboratory work and field investigations.

Environmental Science and Studies are interdisciplinary fields that study connections between humans and the environment at local to global scales to understand and address environmental and resource challenges.  

  • Environmental Science studies the interactions between human activities and the biological and physical environment.
  • Environmental Studies incorporates scientific, social, political and cultural approaches to inform sound environmental management and policy.
  • Sustainability, quoted from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development: "is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Explore Potential Careers

A degree in Environmental Science or Studies can lead to a variety of different jobs or career paths. Below are just some of the many options you will have. Possible career options:

  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Educator
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Environmental Attorney
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Sustainability Specialist
  • Fundraiser
  • Policy Analyst
  • Environmental Health Technician
  • Natural Resources Manager
  • Predicting the behavior of environmental systems and the universe.
  • Conserving natural resources, such as ground water, petroleum, and metals.
  • Conserving soils and maintaining agricultural productivity.
  • Developing natural resources in ways that safeguard the environment.
  • Maintaining quality of water supplies.
  • Reducing human suffering and property loss from natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, landslides, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
  • Determining physical and biological controls on natural environments and habitats and predicting the impact of human activities on them.
  • Defining the balance between society's demand for natural resources and the need to sustain healthy ecosystems.
  • Modeling global climate patterns.
  • Strong foundational knowledge in physical sciences and biological sciences.
  • Strong math skills (the higher the better)
  • Flexibility -- especially in terms of location. There are lots of jobs if you're willing to move to find them!
  • Independence
  • Comfort with working outdoors (for field-based jobs, as opposed to lab-based jobs).
  • Computer skills (modeling, databases, GIS -- all help)

Program Options 

Click on the degree or certificate you're interested in earning to see a sample map of courses to take to complete your goal from start to finish. 

Please note that the course maps provided are just an example to help you get started. Please meet with a counselor to personalize the plan to you and your Academic goals. 

View Requirements in College Catalog

This program is part of the Biology Department

Semester 1 

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
ENGL 1A + 1AS University-Parallel Reading and Composition + Support 4-6  
MATH 90 + 90S or MATH 92 Precalculus Algebra + Support for Precalculus Algebra or College Algebra 5-8  
CHEM 40 Introduction to Chemical Principles 5  

Total Units: 14-19

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
CHEM 101A General College Chemistry 6  
BIO 31 Introduction to Environmental Science 3  
BIO 31L or GEOG 31L or SUST 31L Environmental Science Lab 1  
MATH 95 Trigonometry 3  

Total Units: 13 

Semester 3

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
MATH 100A or MATH 110A Short Calculus I or Calculus II 3-5  
BIO 100A General Biology 5  
GE Area D Social and Behavioral Sciences Requirement 3  
GE Area E Humanities Requirement 3  

Total Units: 14-16

Semester 4

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
GEOG 10 + 10L or GEOG 30 +30L or GEOG 1 + GEOL 1L Physical Geology and Lab or Environmental Geology and Lab or Physical Geography and Lap 4-5  
PHYC 2A + 2AL or PHYC 4A + 4AL Introductory Physics with Lab or Classical Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers with Lab 4  
GE Area F United States History and Government Requirement 3  
GE Area H Ethnic Studies, Women's and Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies 3  

Total Units: 14-15

 

Semester 5

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
Major Requirement - 2nd Semester Sciences See Counselor 4-5  
Additional Major Requirement See Counselor 3-6  
Additional Major Requirement See Counselor 3-6  

Total Units: 10-17

View Requirements in College Catalog

This program is part of the Earth Sciences Department

Semester 1 

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
ENGL 1A + 1AS University-Parallel Reading and Composition + Support 4-6  
BIO 31 Introduction to Environmental Science 3  
CHEM 40 Introduction to Chemical Principles  
Degree Applicable Elective   3  

Total Units: 15-17

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
Major Requirement - Math See Counselor 5-8  
Major Requirement - Earth Science See Counselor 4-5  
Major Requirement - Social Science See Counselor 3  
GE Area E Humanities Requirement 3  

Total Units: 15-19 

Semester 3

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
Major Requirement - Biological Science (See Counselor) 3-5  
Major Requirement - Social Science (See Counselor) 3  
GE Area H Ethnic Studies, Women's and Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies 3  
Degree Applicable Elective   3  
Degree Applicable Elective   3  

Total Units: 15-17

Semester 4

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
Additional Major Requirement See Counselor 3  
Additional Major Requirement See Counselor 3  
GE Area F United States History and Government Requirement 3  
Degree Applicable Elective   3  
Degree Applicable Elective   3  

Total Units: 15

View Requirements in College Catalog

This program is part of the Engineering and Technology Department

Semester 1 

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
BIO/GEOG/SUST 31 Environmental Science 3  
BIO/GEOG/SUST 31L Environmental Science Lab 1  
Certificate-Applicable Electives   5  

Total Units: 9

Semester 2

Course Number Course Title Units Notes
SUST 91 Applied Research in Sustainability 2  
Certificate-Applicable Electives   5  

Total Units: 7

Transfer Options

The program coursework you complete at City College will satisfy lower-division requirements for related majors at several colleges and universities. Start planning your transfer by exploring Environmental Science or Studies programs at the following institutions.

Have questions about transfer?