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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP)

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
0220 Symons Hall, 301-405-8571
Director: J. Sullivan (Interim Director)
Lecturers: J. Goger (Lecturer), J. Murrow (Lecturer), G. Schnaar (Lecturer)

The Major

Environmental Science and Policy is a broadly multi-disciplinary, undergraduate major, drawing courses and faculty from 8 departments and three Colleges (the Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences).

New ENSP students begin in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where they will be guided through a structured, exploratory advising process. ENSP students are expected to declare a concentration by the end of their third semester in the program and, once they declare their concentration, will move administratively to the College and department sponsoring the concentration. There, they are advised by a faculty member in their discipline.

The ENSP faculty and staff aspire to provide a strong identity for the students enrolled in this major, and we encourage students to take advantage of the rich resources available at a Research I Public University.  Experiential learning through research, internships, and study abroad is strongly encouraged.

Program Objectives

The curriculum of Environmental Science and Policy comprises an introductory core of lower-level courses in environmental science, environmental policy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, geography, economics, calculus, and statistics.  This is followed by in-depth and focused training in one of eleven areas of concentration in biological resources, earth systems, or the human dimensions of the field; and two upper-level courses in applied science and policy.  The educational philosophy of the program is to train students broadly using a multi-disciplinary approach at the introductory level so that they are exposed to the myriad ways there are to learn about environmental systems and to address human-environment issues.  This introductory approach precedes the concentration in which the students are prepared for post-graduate study or work in a discipline-based field.  The combination of the lower-level core courses and upper-level depth in a concentration prepares graduates to work and study independently or as members of teams in which they will be asked to be experts in one area, while understanding and using effectively other natural and social science knowledge and investigative approaches.

Admission to the Major

Incoming students who wish to enter ENSP may do so by selecting ENSP-Undeclared (Science) or ENSP-Undeclared (Policy) on their application for admission.   On-campus students may declare ENSP during a meeting with the Assistant Director.  Please review the ENSP website at www.ensp.umd.edu to learn about the program and its requirements prior to your first advising meeting.

Requirements for the Major


1. Two introductory courses and three credits each semester, emphasizing Environmental Science in ENSP101 and Environmental Policy in ENSP102.

2. At least one course each from four of the following five groups:     
        a. Biology (BSCI160&161)   
        b. Chemistry (CHEM131/132)   
        c. Earth Sciences (AOSC200/201, ENST200, GEOG201/211, GEOL100/110, GEOL120/110)   
        d. Economics (AREC240, AREC241, ECON200)
        e. Geography (GEOG130, 140, 170, 202)

3. One semester of Calculus (MATH130, MATH140 or MATH120 or MATH220)

4. One semester of Statistics (BIOM301, ECON321, PSYC200, SOCY201, STAT400)  

5.  One course in Applied Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP305, ENSP330, ENSP340, ENSP342, ENSP350), to be taken in the junior or senior year.

6. The Capstone course (ENSP400 in the senior year)

Areas of Concentration

Biodiversity and Conservation Biology; Environment and Agriculture; Environmental Economics; Environmental Geosciences and Restoration; Environmental Politics and Policy; Global Environmental Change;  Land Use; Marine and Coastal Management; Society and Environmental Issues; Soil, Water, and Land Resources; Wildlife Ecology and Management. Changes may occur in  concentrations.  Students should consult the program office or visit the ENSP web site ( www.ensp.umd.edu ) for updated information.

Grading Policy  

Students who entered the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ENSP) in spring 2002, and thereafter, are required to earn grades of "C-" or higher in all courses taken within the ENSP core, in all required courses, and restricted electives of the selected area of concentration. 


Advising is mandatory for all ENSP students in all areas of concentration, regardless of GPA, concentration, or credit level.  We want to help you meet program requirements while achieving your academic and career goals.  Refer to the ENSP webpage at www.ensp.umd.edu to find advisor assignments.

Undergraduate Research Experiences

We encourage all interested students to gain research experience. Many beginning ENSP students gain their first research experience by participating in the Maryland Student Researchers Program, which is coordinated by the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research. More advanced students gain research experience working with their faculty members; in a field assistantship at the USDA - Beltsville Agricultural Research Center or the US FWS - Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge; or by participating in an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).  Additionally, highly motivated and capable students are encouraged to enroll in Honors-in-ENSP to pursue a self-directed, individual project. Details about all of these opportunities are available on our website.


Practical experience is an important part of learning.  Whether gained by volunteering, clubs, internships, and/or research -- all experience contributes to students' professional development, helps determine what they enjoy doing, and makes classwork more meaningful. ENSP maintains an extensive list of internship opportunities on its website ( www.ensp.umd.edu ) and students receive weekly listserv announcements generated from the Advising Blog ( www.enspadvisingnews.blogspot.com ).  Six of ENSP's concentrations require an internship; and most ENSP students complete at least two such experiences.  To earn credit for an internship, review program requirements on the program webpage and contact the Assistant Director at (301)405-8571 regarding ENSP386 - Internship in Environmental Science and Policy.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in Environmental Science and Policy provides energetic and capable undergraduates the opportunity to engage in independent study. Interested students must have 45-75 credits at the time of application; a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher; and a 3.5 or higher in all courses required for ENSP. Transfer students with equivalent academic records are also encouraged to apply. All students who meet the application requirements are eligible to apply; they need not have been a member of University Honors Program.  The research will be conducted under the supervision of a faculty mentor, usually in the student's area of concentration, and will result in an Honors thesis.  More information about admission, program requirements, and academic resources is available on the website ( www.ensp.umd.edu ).

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu

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