Environmental Sciences

The Environmental Sciences major prepares students for meaningful and productive post-baccalaureate employment and/or admission to high-quality graduate programs. Although administered by GEMS, the Environmental Sciences major is truly interdisciplinary in nature, both in its curriculum and faculty, and crosses social, politcal, and scientific boundaries. All environmental sciences majors will participate in extensive fieldwork, exploring a rich diversity of ecological environments and acquiring the knowledge and skills required for a wide range of potential careers. Depending on an individual student’s area of interest, an environmental sciences major may study such subdisciplines as cell and molecular biology, environmental biogeochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, plant ecology, forest dynamics, climate change, or coastal processes.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the following requirements for the Environmental Sciences Major may be satisfied by taking similar coursework through Rider Approved Study Abroad Programs. Please contact your academic advisor, the GEMS department chair, and/or Rider's Center for International Education (CIE) for further information.

TOTAL CREDITS REQUIRED: 64-65 (In addition to CLAES core requirements). Environmental Sciences majors also will take either MTH-105: Algebra and Trigonometry or MTH-210: Calculus I to satisfy their CLAES mathematics core requirement.

Completion of a OSHA HAZWOPER Training Course is recommended for those students planning on employment within the environmental industry. This 40-hour course fulfills the requirements for the OSHA Hazardous Materials Technician, Level A and the 29 CFR 1910.20 regulations. Students who complete the course are fully certified to handle hazardous materials and waste products. Because OSHA certification normally is required for job positions in the environmental industry, OSHA-certified students are more competitive for summer, part-time, and full-time employment opportunities.

A minor or double major in Biology, Chemistry, or Marine Sciences is recommended.

1PHY-101 and 101L also are strongly recommended for students considering a graduate program in Environmental Sciences.

2Introduction to Field Marine Sciences courses are taught at various field stations on a rotating basis during the Summer I or Summer II terms and include:

  • Subtropical Environments; MAR-227
  • Boreal Environments; MAR-228
  • Tropical Environments; MAR-229

3All upper-level MAR courses require MAR-120: Oceanography and MAR-121: Introductory Oceanography Lab as prerequisites.


4IND-316 usually requires travel to foreign countries (destination varies from year to year) at extra cost. Travel normally occurs during the winter break or during the summer. Exact travel dates vary, depending on destination.


Graduation with Honors in Environmental Sciences is awarded in recognition of majors who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability. Enrollment in the program is by invitation of the GEMS faculty. Eligibility requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses required for the major and the satisfactory completion of a senior thesis. In addition, an honors candidate must maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0.