Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

Program Requirements

The major and minor in Environmental and Urban Studies (ENST) is now the major and minor in Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU). Students who declared before the CEGU major was launched will continue to follow the requirements of the Environmental and Urban Studies (ENST) major and minor as outlined here.

Students will choose the Environmental Track or the Urban Track as their course of study. A student interested in urban environmental topics can design a program of study through either track.

  • The Environmental Track of the major emphasizes critical thinking and rigorous applications to the study of the environment through the social sciences and humanities. Central concepts to this track include human behavior and its relationship to the environment, moral and ethical dimensions of environmental preservation and conservation, the evolution of environmental discourse, communications, and media, and cultural and historical constructions of nature and the human. The track provides emphases in environmental economics and policy, law and politics, sustainable development, human ecology, environmental ethics and justice, and the social and humanistic study of climate change.
  • The Urban Track of the major emphasizes perspectives on human interaction with the urban, built environment. The track encourages a spatial and place-based urban perspective, meaning that built form and environmental context provide the conceptual core through which the social, economic, and political understanding of urbanism is pursued. The track approaches the nature, dynamics, and human experience of cities by capitalizing on the growth of interest in urban design, urban planning, and emerging urban science.

All students must take the Environmental and Urban Studies foundational courses:

Starting in academic year 2023–24, ENST 21201 Human Impact on the Global Environment and ENST 21301 Making the Natural World: Foundations of Human Ecology will be replaced with new courses. Students in the ENST major who have not yet taken ENST 21201 or ENST 21301 should take the following courses instead:

  • ENST 20011 Climate Change, Environment, and Society replaces ENST 21201 (all ENST majors)
  • ENST 20012 The Politics of Environmental Knowledge replaces ENST 21301 (ENST majors in the Environmental Track)

These courses provide an overview of contemporary environmental issues and the theoretical and empirical approaches used to understand and address them. Students are encouraged to take these courses in their 2nd or early in their 3rd year. Students must also take a series of methodological and elective course requirements depending on their thematic track.

Honors: In addition to a minimum GPA of 3.25 overall, and 3.7 in the major, students must complete the BA Thesis Track and receive a high pass grade on the Thesis to receive honors for the major.

Grading: Students who are majoring or minoring in Environmental and Urban Studies must receive quality grades in courses taken to meet the requirements of the program.

The full course requirements for the major and minor can be found on the Environmental and Urban Studies College Catalog page.↗

See our full list of approved ENST courses.↗