FAQs About the EES Major

  1. How do I declare?
  2. Who can I choose as an advisor and when do you need to choose?
  3. What are the EES major emphases?
  4. When do I have to declare what emphasis I would like?
  5. Can I get AP credit to count for in major requirements?
  6. How many credits is the Environmental & Earth Science Major?
  7. Can I double major?
  8. Do I have to do a senior thesis?
  9. How many labs do I have to take?
  10. Can I study abroad? If so, what programs can I do?
  11. What spaces do Environmental & Earth Science majors call home?
  12. What opportunities do EES students have to do research as undergraduates?
  13. What can I do with an Environmental & Earth Sciences degree?

1. How do I declare?

To declare your Environmental & Earth Sciences major, you need to get a Major Declaration form, which you can print or get from the Registrar's office on the first floor of Waller. You will need the signature of the Environmental & Earth Sciences Chair (Karen Arabas, Collins 212).


2. Who can I choose as an advisor and when do you need to choose?

You will choose your advisor when the Chair signs your Major Declaration form. However advisors can be changed later with a Change of Advisor Form. Advisors must be chosen from professors within the major (Arabas, Bowersox, Butterworth, Meyer, Pike).


3. What are the EES major emphases?

There are two emphases within the Environmental & Earth Sciences major: Social Science and Natural Science. Students must take three courses from their declared emphasis and one course from the non-declared emphasis. For more details please refer to the Program Information Requirements.


4. When do I have to declare what emphasis I would like?

Major emphases are declared when a student turns in their Major Declaration form. However they can be changed at any time by going to the registrar’s office on Waller 1st and revising the original paper form.


5. Can I get AP credit to count for in major requirements?

Yes! All changes to degree audit must occur via an email from your declared advisor or the head of the department to the registrar’s office. Please refer to AP and IB Credit Information for specific requirements. Generally a 4 or a 5 on the AP Biology test can count towards the EES major Biology requirement (BIOL 110), a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry test can count towards the EES major Chemistry requirement (CHEM 115), a 4 or 5 on the AP Environmental Science test can count towards the EES major Intro to Environmental Science requirement (ENVR 105), and a 4 or 5 on the Politics: Gov’t/Politics of U.S. can count towards the EES major American Politics requirement (POLI 210).


6. How many credits is the Environmental & Earth Science Major?

The Environmental & Earth Sciences major is 13 credits and the Environmental & Earth Sciences minor is 6 credits. More information can be found in our Advising Guide to the Major and on the Program Information page.


7. Can I double major?

Yes! We have many majors who are also majoring in another discipline. While doing so requires careful schedule planning, it can be done!


8. Do I have to do a senior thesis?

The two-part senior seminar in Environmental & Earth Sciences (EES) is the capstone experience for EES majors. The main focus of the seminar is conceptualizing, researching, writing, and presenting the senior thesis. As a significant piece of research, the final thesis is generally 25-35 pages in length.


9. How many labs do I have to take?

The number of labs you have to take will vary based on which emphasis you decide to take. Typically the Biology (BIOL 110, 125, 255), Earth Science (ERTH 121, 333), and Chemistry (115, 230) classes all have required labs. Most of the upper level Natural Science classes have labs and several of the Social Science classes also have labs like Global Health and the Environment (ENVR 348), Forest Ecology and Policy (ENVR 445) and Environmental Policymaking (POLI 341).More information can be found on the Program Information page.


10. Can I study abroad? If so, what programs can I do?

Yes! Many Environmental & Earth Sciences majors spend time studying abroad. Recently our majors have studied in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Spain, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. For more information on what specific programs Willamette has to offer, visit the Study Abroad page.


11. What spaces do Environmental & Earth Science majors call home?

The Environmental & Earth Sciences department has a hearth on the second floor of Collins which includes many nooks to study in, a kitchenette, lockers for off-campus students, and a computer lab. This hearth serves as the heart of our community, with easy access to professors and a collaborative learning environment with our peers.

Zena Forest is a 305-acre property located in the Eola Hills west of Salem. Zena has a special place in the heart of many Willamette community members and serves as a great place for students to have hands on experiences with forestry and restoration of oak woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. Zena also serves as a study site for many student’s senior theses!


12. What opportunities do EES students have to do research as undergraduates?

There are a myriad of opportunities for EES students to do research within the Willamette community and beyond. At Willamette students can either participate in the Science Collaborative Research Program (SCRP) or apply for a Carson Undergraduate Research Grant or a LARC grant. Outside of Willamette, students may apply for one of many Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), a National Science Foundation program to provide research opportunities across the nation in a wide range of fields from earth sciences, ocean sciences, atmospheric and geospace sciences, biological sciences, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences.


13. What can I do with an Environmental & Earth Sciences degree?

Graduates from Willamette University’s Environmental & Earth Sciences (EES) degree have entered a wide range of fields all over the world in government, private, and non-profit sectors, serving as agents of change in their community. To find out more about what can be done with an EES degree, take a look at the Career Center’s page about what you can do with your Environmental & Earth Sciences degree.