Major and Minor
Declaration of Major and Minor
Selecting a major is a significant decision and declaring it to the university will help you connect more to the department and understand the requirements of the major. We recommend that you declare your major or minor as soon as possible. After you declare, you’ll be able to join the EaES email listserv, which is how the department disperses information on scholarships, internships, and jobs.
To declare your major or minor, talk to the EaES Academic Advisor (Greg Keller, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Director of Undergraduate Studies (Professor Fabien Kenig, email@example.com). It is an LAS requirement that you declare your major by the end of your sophomore year.
EaES Major Course Requirements
Core and Selective Courses
The minimum required courses within EaES are composed of a set of core and selective courses. Note that these are minimal requirements for graduation; additional courses are not formally required, but we strongly advise you explore more topics within the discipline to help you prepare for entering a geoscience career.
Core Courses – 20 hours
There are 6 core courses that all EaES students must complete at the introductory level. These courses will give students a strong foundation in the geosciences.
Selective Courses (Groups I-IV) – 19 hours
Students will need to take an additional 5-6 upper level selective courses (groups I-IV) totaling at least 19 hours. Groups I-IV cover different sub-disciplines, like geochemistry and geophysics, to provide students extra training. At least one course from each of four groups is required. Once a course is taken from each of the four groups, the 19 hour requirement can be met by taking either additional courses in the department or, with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
A detailed description of EaES courses can be found at https://catalog.uic.edu/all-course-descriptions/eaes/
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Core Requirements (20 hours)
EAES 101 – Global Environmental Change (4 hrs)
EAES 111 – Earth, Energy, and the Environment (4 hrs)
EAES 200 – Fieldwork in Missouri (2 hrs)
EAES 230 – Earth Materials (4 hrs)
EAES 285 – Earth Systems (4 hrs)
EAES 290 – Current Topics in Earth and Environmental Sciences (2 hrs)
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Solid Earth Materials
EAES 320 – Mineralogy (4 hrs)
EAES 422 – Crystal Chemistry (3 hrs)
EAES 430 – Petrology (3 hrs)
EAES 473 – Soils and the Environment (4 hrs)
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Surface Environments and Processes
EAES 350 – Sedimentary Environments (3 hrs)
EAES 470 – Environmental Geomorphology (4 hrs)
EAES 475 – Hydrology/Hydrogeology (3 hrs)
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Geochemistry and Geobiology
EAES 360 – Introduction to Paleontology (4 hrs)
EAES 415 – Environmental Geochemistry (4 hrs)
EAES 416 – Organic Geochemistry (3 hrs)
EAES 418 – Introduction to Biogeochemistry (3 hrs)
EAES 460 – Earth System History (4 hrs)
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Geophysical and Mathematical Methods
EAES 440 – Structural Geology and Tectonics (3 hrs)
EAES 444 – Geophysics (3 hrs)
EAES 448 – Plate Tectonics (3 hrs)
EAES 480 – Statistical Methods in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (3 hrs)
EAES 484 – Planetary Science (3 hrs)
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Non-EaES Selective Courses
If you decided to take additional selective courses outside the EaES department, you will need permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Examples of additional course options outside the department:
Biological Sciences (BIOS)
BIOS 230 – Ecology and Evolution, BIOS 240 – Principles of Animal Physiology, BIOS 350 – Microbiology
CHEM 232 – Organic Chemistry, CHEM 305 – Environmental Chemistry
Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS)
EOHS 400 – Principles of Environmental Health Sciences, EOHS 405 – Environmental Calculations, EOHS 411 – Water Quality Management, EOHS 418 – Analysis of Water and Wastewater Quality, EOHS 431 – Air Quality Management, EOHS 438 – Air Quality Laboratory, EOHS 444 – Management of Solid and Hazardous Wastes
GEOG 442 – Environmental Hazards and Risks, GEOG 469 – Geographic Information Systems for Planning (same as UPP 461), GEOG 477 – Remote Sensing of the Environment, GEOG 481/482 – Geographic Information Systems I, II
Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS)
LAS 493 – Topics in Sustainability and Energy
Collateral Science and Math Courses
Collateral Science and Math
For a good undergraduate education in Earth and Environmental Sciences, the required courses in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics or Biology are at least as important as your Earth and Environmental Sciences courses. If you learn your chemistry, math and physics well, your performance in upper level EaES courses will be greatly enhanced. Furthermore, if you apply to graduate school, some graduate departments will give less weight to your EaES grades than to your chemistry, math and physics grades because your performance in these courses is a good indicator of your potential as a modern researcher.
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CHEM 112 and 114 or 130 are required. The placement test given by the department of Chemistry will give you an idea of your readiness for these classes. If you did not have chemistry in high school or if you feel that your high school chemistry did not prepare you adequately for CHEM 112, you should first take CHEM 101. Note that many of our upper level courses require CHEM 112 or 114 as prerequisites; we thus urge you to complete your chemistry courses as soon as possible.
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We require 2 semesters of Calculus (MATH 180 and 181). Note, however, that Calculus makes heavy use of algebra and trigonometry. The Mathematics Department gives placement tests to determine your readiness for Calculus. Unless you performed well on the placement test, you must take MATH 121 (Precalculus Mathematics) first.
It is advisable to begin satisfying this requirement as soon as possible. It is essential that you work for good grades in the calculus for several reasons. First, your skill in the calculus will determine to a large degree how well you do in the Physics 141-142 sequence. Second, your performance in the first math course will affect how well you do in the next, and so on. The third reason why good calculus grades are important is that graduate departments regard your math ability as the most significant indicator of your promise as a researcher.
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Physics and Biology
We require at least 8-10 hours of Physics and/or Biology. There are various options for satisfying this requirement:
One year of Physics: The 105/106-107/108 sequence or the 141-142 sequence. The Physics 105/106-107/108 sequence does not require calculus as a prerequisite. You should take the 141-142 option if your calculus skills are reasonably good. If you exercise this option, it is wise to arrange your calculus courses to overlap with the Physics sequence. Your performance in calculus will probably benefit from the insight you gain regarding the usefulness of calculus in solving problems in the real world.
One semester of Physics and one semester of Biology. The Physics can be either 105/106 or 141. The Biological Science courses can be either 100 or 101. Note that we strongly urge, however, that students complete the entire year’s sequence in Physics, whether or not they take Biology.
EaES Minor Course Requirements
Students who want to minor in Earth and Environmental Sciences must take 18 credit hours, chosen with approval of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences undergraduate advisor. A maximum of 10 credit hours may be at the 100 level. At least 9 credit hours must be taken at the 200 level or above.
100/200 Level – 18 hours (min)
Recommended courses: EAES 101, EAES 111, EAES 230, EAES 285
Field Work in Missouri
The EaES field trip (EAES 200 – 2 hrs) is required for all majors and minors.
Earth and Environmental Sciences minors must consult the Undergraduate Advisor of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The advisor can help you choose the courses most appropriate to fulfill your objectives and most appropriate to complement your major. Please refer to the undergraduate catalog to ensure you meet all college requirements for minors.