BA Earth and Environmental Studies

Life and the future of human civilization depend on people who think broadly from a science-driven perspective about how we interact with our planet. Pursue earth and environmental studies to link your interest in science and the environment with complementary fields like sustainability, advocacy and public policy.

Program Description

The BA program in earth and environmental studies provides a foundational understanding of the evolution of the earth system with an emphasis on the planetary context for sustainable human societies.

The degree program includes broad training in the physical sciences, especially process-oriented geosciences that focus on Earth's life-sustaining surface environment. Advanced courses focus on topics including:

  • climate change
  • earth's water, energy and material resources
  • impact of land-use change on human civilization
  • physical, chemical and biological process interactions that define Earth's evolution

This is designed as a liberal arts program with an emphasis on basic scientific literacy, not as a preparatory degree program for graduate study in the natural sciences. However, successful earth and environmental studies graduates are well prepared for green energy career opportunities such as:

  • education
  • environmental reporting
  • natural resource management
  • public planning
  • sustainability

Students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in earth and environmental studies may not pursue a concurrent degree with the BS in earth and space exploration, the BS in earth and space exploration (astrophysics), the BS in earth and space exploration (astrobiology and biogeosciences), the BS in earth and space exploration (exploration systems design), or the BS in earth and space exploration (geological sciences) due to the high level of overlap in curriculum. Students should speak with their academic advisor for any further questions.

Required Courses (Major Map)

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What if: See how your courses can be applied to another major and find out how to change your major.

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: Yes
  • Second Language Requirement: Yes
  • First Required Math Course:
  • Math Intensity: Moderate program math intensity moderate

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site:

Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to for information about how to change a major to this program.

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Career Outlook

With a breadth of knowledge and experience and the acquired skills to integrate various domains of knowledge, graduates are prepared for a variety of careers that position them to help find solutions to tomorrow's environmental and sustainability challenges. Recent environmental awareness in business and government has also resulted in new employment opportunities (e.g., environmental coordinators, directors and managers).

Sample careers include:

  • environmental reporting
  • education
  • management
  • public planning
  • environmental administrative staff

Sample career settings include:

  • governmental agencies
  • museums
  • nongovernmental organizations
  • nonprofit organizations
  • publishing
  • regulatory agencies
  • utilities
Graduates are also well prepared for admission to strong professional schools in fields outside the natural sciences.

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Climate Change Analyst

  • Growth: 7.8%
  • Median Salary*: $73,230
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

Elementary Teacher

  • Growth: 3.5%
  • Median Salary*: $60,940
  Bright Outlook

Environmental Analyst

  • Growth: 5.1%
  • Median Salary*: $64,020
  Bright Outlook

Environmental Protection Specialist

  • Growth: 7.8%
  • Median Salary*: $73,230
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

Environmental Restoration Planner

  • Growth: 7.8%
  • Median Salary*: $73,230
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

Environmental Sciences Professor

  • Growth: 3.7%
  • Median Salary*: $84,740

Fire Chief

  • Growth: 6.2%
  • Median Salary*: $78,870
  Bright Outlook

Forest Ranger

  • Growth: 24.3%
  • Median Salary*: $42,150
  Bright Outlook

High School Teacher

  • Growth: 3.8%
  • Median Salary*: $62,870

Middle School Teacher

  • Growth: 3.6%
  • Median Salary*: $60,810

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will contact you directly.