ESS Undergraduate Program Curriculum and Course Offerings

Curriculum Highlights

Two exemplary field experiences that are included in our curriculum are:

A summer program at CSU’s Mountain Campus, our majestic retreat and outdoor laboratory located in the spectacular mountains west of Fort Collins.

A one-week field practicum prior to the Fall semester exploring Colorado’s ecosystems and visiting the state’s numerous management projects and natural areas.

Are you transfer student?  Check out our WCNR Transfer Student guides!

Colorado University Students in the field studying

Curriculum Checklists

The Department offers two undergraduate degree programs and a minor program of study.  Learn more about these programs on our Undergraduate Degree Tracks page.  Below you will find our curriculum checklists and supporting documents with degree elective options.

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Bachelor of Science

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Major Elective List

Honors Scholars

Are you an Honors Scholar?  Honors Scholars (Track 1 or Track 2) have modified requirements in our degree programs and follow separate checklists.  You can refer to your degree progress audit in Ramweb to view these requirements, as well as speak to your advisor directly.  (Please visit the CSU University Honors Program for information on how to apply to be an Honors Scholar.)

Departmental Professional Development and Engagement

All Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and Watershed Science and Sustainability majors in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (ESS) are required to complete a Professional Development and Engagement requirement in their degree program.

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability students must complete one of four options as outlined in the ESS curriculum and on the ESS Professional Development and Engagement webpage.

Watershed Science and Sustainability students must enroll in NR 220 Natural Resource Ecology and Measurements.*

*Those Watershed Science and Sustainability students participating in specialized research programs, certain study abroad programs, or other eligible experiential learning placements may submit a request for substitution for NR 220 to pursue other research or professional development opportunities away from the CSU Mountain Campus.

Accelerated Master’s Program in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability

The Professional Science Masters in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (PSM-ESS) leverages world-leading greenhouse gas, climate change, water resource, and food-systems expertise from across Colorado State University (CSU) and helps students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to make a difference. The aim of the PSM-ESS program is to prepare young professionals to enter the field to put solutions into practice. The CSU PSS-ESS AMP allows undergraduates in certain CSU bachelor’s degree programs to begin studies in the PSM-ESS program while they are still undergraduates.

Starting the PSM-ESS program while still completing an undergraduate degree can save time and money! Up to 9 credits of 500-level graduate course work can be counted to both a bachelor’s degree and the PSM-ESS while paying undergraduate tuition rates.

Check out the Accelerated Professional Science Masters in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability page for more information about the program and application process!

Course Equivalency Credit and Challenge Exams

Students may earn credit for general introductory coursework through equivalency tests or challenge exams. These assessment options allow qualifying students to meet requirements for courses typically related to All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC). Although equivalency tests and challenge exams have costs and fees associated with them, student who earn credit through such tests or exams will typically have significant cost savings related to their undergraduate tuition. They may also accelerate their program of study to graduate early.

Colorado State University provides equivalency tests through the College-Level Examinations Program (CLEP), which offers general examinations in more than 30 areas of study. When a CLEP Exam is not offered for a particular course, a challenge exam can be requested from the CSU Academic Department or College offering the course.

CSU Academic Departments provide standardized options for challenge exams, including the CSU English Department for awarding credit through the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay related to CO 130 and CO 150 AUCC requirements.

Please visit the University Testing Center for the complete set of policies and procedures on CLEP and Challenge Exams.

ESS Course Offerings

The following courses are taught by Ecosystem Science and Sustainability faculty. Refer to the CSU General Catalog for additional information and course descriptions.

Course NumberTitleInstructorSyllabus
ESS Courses
ESS 120Introduction to Ecosystem and Watershed SciencesSteven Fassnacht, Monique RoccaSyllabus
ESS 129Information Management for SustainabilitySteven FassnachtSyllabus
ESS 130Introduction to Systems Theory for SustainabilityJohn MooreSyllabus
ESS/GR 210Physical GeographyWei GaoSyllabus
ESS 220Skills for Ecological Research IStacy LynnSyllabus
ESS 221Skills for Ecological Research IIStacy Lynn
ESS 311Ecosystem EcologyEd HallSyllabus
ESS 312Sustainability ScienceVariousSyllabus
ESS 320Internship and Career PreparationKaye HolmanSyllabus
ESS 330Quantitative Reasoning for Ecosystem ScienceVariousSyllabus
ESS 365Global Climate JusticeGillian BowserSyllabus
ESS 400Global Perspectives on SustainabilityGillian BowserSyllabus
ESS 401Sustainability of Park and Protected PlacesGillian BowserSyllabus
ESS 411Earth Systems EcologyDaniela CusackSyllabus
ESS/MIP 432Microbial EcologyEd HallSyllabus
ESS 440Practicing SustainabilityJulia Klein, Robin ReidSyllabus
ESS 474LimnologyEd HallSyllabus
ESS 486Ecosystem PracticumVariousSyllabus
ESS 487InternshipKaye HolmanSyllabus
NR Courses
NR 322Introduction to GISElizabeth TulanowskiSyllabus
NR/GR 323Remote Sensing of Natural ResourcesVarious
NR 426Programming for GIS IElizabeth TulanowskiSyllabus
NR 427Programming for GIS IIElizabeth TulanowskiSyllabus
NR 493Seminar on GIS and Remote Sensing ApplicationsElizabeth TulanowskiSyllabus
WR Courses
WR/GR 204 (formerly WR/GR 304)Sustainable WatershedsVariousSyllabus
WR 406Seasonal Snow EnvironmentsSteven FassnachtSyllabus
WR 416Land Use HydrologyStephanie KampfSyllabus
WR 417Watershed MeasurementsTim CovinoSyllabus
WR 418Land Use and Water QualityMatt RossSyllabus
WR 419Water Quality LabMatt Ross
WR 440Watershed Problem AnalysisTim Covino, Stephanie KampfSyllabus
WR 474Snow HydrologySteven FassnachtSyllabus
WR 486Watershed PracticumVariousSyllabus