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.



GEMS (26 Credits)
  ENV-100 Introduction to Environmental Sciences 4
  ENV-200 Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences 4
  ENV-205 Introduction to Geographical Information Systems 3
  ENV-220 Weather and Climate Change 3
  GEO-100 or 113 Earth Systems Science or Environmental Geology 3
  GEO-102 Earth Materials and Processes Lab 1
  GEO-350 Soils and Surficial Processes 4
  GEO-407 Hydrology and Water Resources 4

Biology (12 Credits)
  BIO-115 Principles of Biology I 4
  BIO-116 Principles of Biology II 4
  BIO-350 General Ecology 4

Chemistry (12 Credits)
  BCH-225 Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry 4
  CHE-120 Principles of Chemistry 3
  CHE-121 Principles of Chemistry Lab 1
  CHE-122 Introduction to Chemical Systems 3
  CHE-123 Quantitative Methods Lab 1

Physics (4 Credits)1
  PHY-100 Principles of Physics I 3
  PHY-100L Principles of Physics I Lab 1

Select one course from each of the following three groups.

Group A: Biotic Processes (4 Credits) Select one course from the following:
  BIO-250 Field Natural History 4
  BIO-272 and 272L Introduction to Marine Biology and Lab 4
  BIO-321 Microbiology 4
  BIO-335 Modern Plant Biology 4
  BIO-372 Behavior of Marine Organisms: An Evolutionary Approach 4
  MAR-227-229 Introduction to Field Marine Sciences course2,3 4
  MAR-360 Plankton Ecology3 4

Group B: Abiotic Processes (3 or 4 Credits) Select one course from the following:
  ENV-350 Environmental Toxicology 3
  ENV-375 Environmental Biogeochemistry 3
  GEO-201 Elements of Mineralogy 4
  GEO-305 Petrology and Petrography 4
  GEO-306 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy 4
  MAR-330 Chemical Oceanography3 4
  MAR-410 Physical Oceanography3 3

Group C: Social Processes (3 Credits) Select one course from the following:
  AMS-250 America and the Future 3
  AMS-304 Technology and Science in America 3
  BHP-231 Natural Adventures: Journeys in American Ecology and History 3
  BHP-232 Issues at the New Jersey Shoreline-Science and Politics 3
  BHP-259 The Environment: A Conflict of Interest 3
  HIS-299 American Environmental History 3
  IND-316 Nature's Business4 3
  PHL-320 Philosophy of Science 3
  POL-215 Global Politics 3
  POL-328 Environmental Policy and Politics 3
  POL-329 Comparative Environmental Policy 3
  SOC-225 Population Study 3

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.