Curriculum Requirements

Attention Current UM Students!

If you are a current University of Michigan student and you are interested in pursuing a PitE concentration, you will first need to attend an information session. Upcoming information sessions are listed here.


To provide a common background in and understanding of the disciplines involved in environmental study, students take all of these courses. Advanced Placement credit (AP) that appears on the LSA transcript can meet some pre-requisites (as noted below). All PitE majors are required take Chem 130. LSA requirements are indicated in (blue).

1. Introductory Interdisciplinary Course (one of the following)

  • Environ/Bio 101: Energy, Food, and the Environment (NS)(BS)
  • Environ 110: Global Change I (NS)(BS)
  • Environ 111: Global Change II (SS)
  • Environ 139: First-Year Seminar in the Environment (ID)
  • Environ 201: Ecological Issues (NS)(BS) - AP credit accepted
  • Environ 270: Our Common Future (ID)
  • Environ/Earth 202: Introductory Environmental Science in the Rockies - summer term only (NS)(BS)

2. Introductory Biology Course (choose one of the following)

  • Bio 171: Introduction to Biology - Ecology and Evolution
  • Bio 195 - AP credit accepted

3. Introductory Chemistry (required course)

  • Chem 130: General Chemistry (NS)(BS)(QR/2) - AP credit accepted

4. Introductory Geological Sciences (choose one of the following)

  • Earth 118 AND 119: Intro Geology lecture and lab
  • Earth 116: Intro Geology at Camp Davis (NS)(BS)
  • Environ/Earth 202: Introductory Environmental Science in the Rockies - summer term only (NS)(BS)

5. Environmental Social Sciences (choose one of the following)

  • Econ 101: Principles of Economics I (SS)(QR/2) - AP credit accepted
  • Environ 208: Business and the Natural Environment (SS)- offered Winter terms only
  • Environ 211: Social Sciences and Environmental Problems (SS)
  • Environ 290: Food: The Ecology, Economics and Ethics of Growing and Eating

6. Calculus 1 (required course)

  • Math 115: Calculus I (MSA)(BS)(QR/1)
  • Math 120: AP credit accepted


Core Requirements

These courses expand students' knowledge of environmental problems and solutions by exposing them to a wide range of natural, social science, and humanistic disciplines. Core courses must be taken for a letter grade, and cannot be graded on a pass/fail basis. 

Students select ONE course from each of these six areas (except where noted), at the 200 level or above:

1. General Ecology

  • EEB/Environ 281 and Environ/EEB 372
    (Environ/EEB 372 is only offered in the fall term.)
  • EEB 381
    (In spring or summer at the UM Biological Station)
  • Envion/Earth 450
    (In spring or summer at UM Camp Davis)

2. Analytics

  • Stats 250
  • IOE 265

3. Culture and Environment

4. Natural and Earth Systems Science: Any one 200-level or above Natural Science course or concentration advisor approved. Environ 201 does not meet this requirement.

5. Environmental Social Science (2)

6. Senior Capstone Course 

  • This is advanced level interdisciplinary course.  Capstone courses are approved by term. Please see the course offerings by term to see which courses meet this capstone requirements. 

*Note: Environ 222 no longer satisfies the LSA R&E requirement.


Download the 2013-14 PitE Student Handbook for a comprehensive guide for majors and minors.

SpecializationAllows majors to develop a focus to their studiesĀ 

In addition to a broad understanding of environmental issues and problem-solving tools, PitE majors are required to develop a focus to their studies by creating their own specialization. 

What is a Specialization?

A specialization is a collection of three 300- or 400-level courses that majors choose based on their particular interests. It forms the focus of the PitE major, and adds value to PitE majors' skill sets by allowing them develop depth in a particular area of environmental science or environmental studies. 

To give you some idea of what a specialization may look like, here are several examples of approved specializations. These are merely illustrations and are not a comprehensive of possibilities. The range of Specialization options is as diverse as our students' interests.


Practical ExperienceA cornerstone of the PitE curriculum

What is a Practical Experience?

The practical experience requirement is, at minimum, a three credit experiential learning opportunity that students complete outside of the classroom. Through this full immersion experience, students participate in skills development and learning experiences which are facilitated through interactions with a range of individuals and groups. Students are evaluated through a combination of presentations, papers, or exams. Every practical experience opportunity includes a research component that pushes students to engage with the larger arena of environmental issues through question formulation, data collection, analysis, and discussion. 

Students can fulfill this requirement one of three ways:

  1. Taking a class at a residential field station
  2. Participating in the internship program, or
  3. Completing a study abroad course or program

All practical experiences must be approved by an advisor BEFORE before starting the experience. 

While practical experience is part of the major curriculum, minors have the option of completing this experience as well. Both PitE majors and minors may be eligible for limited funding to help defray the costs of the practical experience. 

PitE Course Offerings +

Fall 2015 Course Offerings

The PitE Course Offerings guide outlines courses that meet core requirements for PitE.  Please email PitE Advisor Jaime Langdon ( if you have questions. Courses within other departments (that meet PitE requirements) may change and PitE has no control over these changes.  

Previous Course Offerings by Term +