Feb 23, 2024  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Ecology and Environmental Sciences

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Minimum number of credits required to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0

Minimum Grade requirements for courses to count toward major: EES 489 requires minimum grade of C.  All Concentration courses require a minimum grade of C.

Other GPA requirements to graduate: None.

Required Course(s) for fulfilling Capstone Experience:  EES 489.

Contact Information: Lindsay Seward, Program Coordinator, 238 Nutting Hall, 581-2847, ees@maine.edu

The Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Environmental Sciences is an interdisciplinary program offered cooperatively by the faculties of the Department of Anthropology,  Department of Wildlife Ecology, School of Earth and Climate Sciences, School of Food and Agriculture; School of Biology and Ecology; School of Economics; and School of Forest Resources. Students majoring in the program are advised by over thirty-five faculty from these units. The program is designed for students who wish to pursue a professional career in ecology and environmental sciences in one of many application: management, administration, planning, education, research, or graduate school.

The BS in Ecology and Environmental Sciences is designed to acquaint students with the scope and characteristics of our natural resources and to introduce the scientific and economic principles that govern resource use and conservation.

The Ecology and Environmental Sciences curriculum is composed of seven requirement areas, amounting to at least 96 credits (depending upon selections), plus up to 24 credits reserved for unstructured electives. The requirement areas are as follows:

I. Ecology and Environmental Sciences;
II. Biological and Ecological Science;
III. Social Sciences; 
IV. Physical and Chemical Sciences;
V. Quantitative and Information Skills;
VI. Communication Skills;
VII. General Education;
VIII. Concentrations;
IX Free Electives.

The requirements are designed so that Ecology and Environmental Sciences graduates will be well grounded in both the natural and social sciences, and will possess the skills necessary for a successful career. However, the program is also designed to allow students ample flexibility to pursue individual interests in preparing for careers or postgraduate study.

The six Ecology and Environmental Sciences concentrations allow a student to pursue a particular aspect of natural resources in depth with an eye toward future employment or postgraduate study. Students should decide on their area of concentration early in their programs so that course choices in the first and sophomore years will include the prerequisites for courses in their chosen concentration.

2. Biological and Ecological Sciences (7 credits)

5. Quantitative and Information Skills (6-7 credits)

6. Communication Skills (9 credits)

7. General Education

General Education requirements for mathematics, science and writing competency, a capstone experience, and ethics are met by the EES curriculum as outlined above. In addition, students must complete coursework in the following areas:

Human Values and Social Context (18 credits)
As part of the General Education requirements of the University of Maine, all undergraduates must complete the Human Values and Social Context (HVSC) requirement. Students must take at least three credits from each of five sub-categories. Depending on course choices, Social Context and Institutions or Western Cultural Traditions category is met within the EES core requirements.  The Population and the Environment category is also met within the EES core requirements.  Each student must complete electives in the remaining sub-categories (below) from an approved list:

* Western Cultural Tradition (3 cr.) OR Social Contexts and Institutions (3 cr.)
* Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives (3 cr.)
* Artistic and Creative Expression (3 cr.)

Students in the Honors College automatically meet the University’s general education requirement with the four-course Honors sequence (HON 111, 112, 211, 212).

8. Program Concentrations

In addition to the core requirements that establish the basic foundation, each student must complete one concentration of study in the program. At a minimum, a concentration will entail 21 credits of course work with at least 15 credits being 300 or 400 level (Junior or Senior) courses. Courses taken as part of the core curriculum cannot be counted towards concentration requirements. For example, if a student chooses SFR 220 to meet the EES Social Science core requirement, that course cannot be counted towards the Sustainability, Environmental Policy, and Natural Resource Management Concentration. Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all courses that are included in the concentration. Students work with an academic advisor to choose the combination of concentration courses that best meets the student’s academic goals. Some concentration courses may have required prerequisites which are not EES program requirements, but which must be completed before the concentration course is taken. Substitutions may be made for courses in the approved lists below with approval of the student’s academic advisor and the undergraduate coordinator. For well-qualified seniors, graduate courses may also be used with the approval of the advisor and the course instructor.


Students in the Earth and Environmental Sciences concentration will study in depth environmental processes from an earth science perspective with a focus on the physical and chemical processes associated with freshwater systems. Knowledge gained through this concentration will be applicable to many socially relevant environmental challenges including: climate and land use change, water quality problems, and water supply issues. This concentration is intended to prepare students for careers in environmental consulting, regulatory or conservation work in both government and NGO sectors, or to prepare students for graduate study in related areas.

Concentration Electives (21 credits)

Students must take 21 total credits, 15 of which are 300-400 level classes.


Building on the core courses in biological and ecological sciences, students in this concentration study in depth natural processes and ecological interactions. This concentration reflects the tremendous depth of faculty resources in ecology at the University of Maine and is designed to prepare students for both advanced study and professional work in ecology. Specialized tracks in the Ecosystem Ecology Concentration: Students in the EES Ecosystem Ecology Concentration may choose a generalist track with elective course selections representing a broad array of ecosystems or a study track that focuses on a specific ecosystem-type of interest to the student. Focus tracks include Forest Ecology, Wetland and Aquatic Ecology, and Marine Ecology. Students choosing a focus track will consult with an academic advisor in their chosen area and jointly develop a selection of concentration electives that suit their academic and career goals.

Required courses (12 credits)

Concentration Electives (21 credits)


Natural history is a broad term involving the interest in and study of diverse aspects of the natural sciences (e.g., botany, zoology, geology, chemistry), historical geography, anthropology (human development and history within an ecological framework), and conservation. Environmental studies is an academic field that focuses on human interactions with the environment. This interdisciplinary concentration places more focus on the social sciences related to human-environment relationships and may include topics in ethics, policy, sociology, and philosophy as well as environmental sciences. Students will have familiarity with the diversity of life in all its forms to provide the foundation for a broadly trained naturalist. Building on the core courses in biological, ecological, and social sciences, students in this will be prepared for professional work in environmental non-government organizations, consulting firms, state and federal agencies, environmental education, as well as graduate study.

Concentration Electives (18 required credits)

18 required credits, 15 of which need to be 300 or 400 level classes


Students in this concentration will study soil biogeochemical and hydrologic processes in depth. Their understanding and skills will be useful in addressing many societal challenges, including climate and land use change, environmental protection, ecosystem services, food security, and energy production in a range of employment settings. In addition this concentration prepares students for advanced study in related areas.

Required Courses (12 credits)

Recommended Course

Electives (21 credits)

(21 credits, 15 of which need to be 300 or 400 level courses.)


Building on the core courses in biological, ecological, and social sciences, students in this concentration study in depth interactions between human and natural systems. This concentration reflects the tremendous depth of faculty resources in anthropology, environmental economics, environmental policy, natural resource management, human ecology, human dimensions of natural resource management, and sustainability science at the University of Maine. This concentration is designed to prepare students for both advanced study and professional work in sustainability science, environmental policy, and natural resource management.

Concentration Electives (18 credits)

18 credits total, 15 of which must be 300-400 level courses.

Must take a minimum of one or two courses in each of these three areas (Economics, Social, and Resource Management/Policy/Ecology).

Individualized Concentration

In some cases, the defined concentrations may not meet the interests or career aspirations of students in the program. Students may develop and pursue an individualized concentration of study.

Individualized concentrations must deal with some aspect of ecology and environmental sciences as broadly reflected in the degree program. Individualized concentrations may not be developed for areas where degrees are already being offered at the University of Maine. So, for example, while “wildlife” is clearly part of natural ecosystems, this would not be an appropriate organizing concept for an individualized concentration since a degree program in wildlife ecology already exists at the University of Maine. Generally, the course work that makes up an individualized concentration should be largely drawn from courses offered at the University of Maine.

A student wishing to pursue an individualized concentration should do so in conjunction with an advisor who is a faculty member participating in the EES program. The student should prepare a brief proposal for the concentration, including a narrative explaining the organizing concept for the concentration and proposed name. The courses that will be taken to constitute the concentration should also be included. Individualized concentrations must include 21 credit hours of course work, at least 15 of which are at the 300 or 400 course level. An individualized concentration must be approved by the student’s academic advisor, the Undergraduate Coordinator, and the Director.

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