EaES Requirements

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. 


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.


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.

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 westrongly urge, however, that students complete the entire year's sequence in Physics, whether or not they take Biology. 

EaES course requirements

The required courses within EaES are composed of a set of six core courses and five to six additional selective courses chosen from four groups. Note that these are minimal requirements for graduation; additional courses are not formally required, but which we strongly advise you to take some anyway.

A detailed description of EaES courses can be found at http://www.uic.edu/ucat/courses/EAES.html

Core courses

The core requirements (20 hours) are:

  • 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)

Selective courses

The selective courses total at least 19 hours, with at least one course from each of four groups. 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, one relevant course offered in other departments. These outside courses must be at the 200 level or above (see below).  

  • Group I: 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)
  • Group II: Surface Environments and Processes
    • EaES 350–Sedimentary Environments (3 hrs)
    • EaES 470–Environmental Geomorphology (4 hrs)
    • EaES 475–Hydrology/Hydrogeology (3 hrs)
  • Group III: 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)
  • Group IV: 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)
    • Summer course in field methods (4–6 hrs) -  can be met by taking at least 4 hours in EaES 400 - Field Experience in Earth Sciences or by outside UIC field course approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Examples of courses in other departments that can be used to satisfy the 19 hour requirement; you must be able to satisfy any prerequisites prior to taking these courses.

  • Biological Sciences (BIOS)
    • 230: Ecology and Evolution
    • 240:  Principles of Animal Physiology
    • 350: Microbiology
  • Chemistry (CHEM)
    • 232: Organic Chemistry
    • 305: Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS)
    • 400: Principles of Environmental Health Sciences 
    • 405: Environmental Calculations 
    • 411: Water Quality Management
    • 418: Analysis of Water and Wastewater Quality
    • 431: Air Quality Management
    • 438: Air Quality Laboratory
    • 444: Management of Solid and Hazardous Wastes 
  • Geography (GEOG)
    • 442: Environmental Hazards and Risks
    • 469: Geographic Information Systems for Planning (same as UPP 461)
    • 477: Remote Sensing of the Environment
    • 481/482: Geographic Information Systems I, II
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS)
    • 493: Topics in Sustainability and Energy 

Declaration of Major

We highly recommend that you declare your major as soon as possible. It is a LAS requirement that you declare your major by the end of your sophomore year. To declare your major, see the Undergraduate Advisor.