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!

students at research site

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 (Effective Spring 2021)

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Bachelor of Science (Prior to Spring 2021)

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Major Elective List

Honors Scholars Checklists

Honors Scholars (Track 1 or Track 2) have modified requirements in our degree programs and follow separate checklists. (Please visit the CSU University Honors Program for information on how to apply to be an Honors Scholar.)

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Honors Track 1 (Prior to Fall 2018)

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Honors Track 1 (NEW and Effective Fall 2018)

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Honors Track 2 (Prior to Fall 2018)

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability – Honors Track 2 (NEW and Effective Fall 2018)

Watershed Science – Honors Track 1 (Prior to Fall 2018)

Watershed Science – Honors Track 1 (NEW and Effective Fall 2018)

Watershed Science – Honors Track 2 (Prior to Fall 2018)

Watershed Science – Honors Track 2 (NEW and Effective Fall 2018)

Departmental Professional Development and Engagement

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

Watershed Science students must enroll in NR 220* Natural Resource Ecology and Measurements. Optionally, those Watershed Science 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.

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability students must complete one of the four options below, and as outlined in the ESS curriculum:

NR 220 Natural Resource Ecology & Measurements (5 credits)

ESS 487 Internship (5 credits) – Contact Dr. Kaye Holman to learn more

ESS SUPER Program (ESS 220/ESS 221/ESS298, 5 credits total)

Department-Approved Study Abroad Programs — Scroll to Study Abroad Placements

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.

Some CSU Academic Department and Colleges provide standardized options for challenge exams including the CSU English Department and College of Business for the following exams:

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 ScienceMelissa McHaleSyllabus
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 Reid
ESS 474LimnologyEd HallSyllabus
ESS 486Ecosystem PracticumVariousSyllabus
ESS 487InternshipKaye HolmanSyllabus
NR Courses
NR 322Introduction to GISElizabeth TulanowskiSyllabus
NR/GR 323Remote Sensing of Natural ResourcesMichael Lefsky
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