Virginia Tech®home

ENSC 1015-1016: Foundations of Environmental Sciences

Foundations of Environmental Science (ENSC 1015 or 1016) is a 3 credit course for students interested in learning the basics of environmental science, specifically the background and science behind many topical issues. The course is discussion focused, forcing students to consider all sides of the issues discussed, as well as their place and impact on the world. Emphasizing the relationship between human and natural systems, ecosystem services, and resource management, a student will gain a national and global perspective on the environment and societal concerns about it.

Why take it?

Environmental degradation and the loss of ecosystem services are two of the biggest challenges faced by the modern world. This course will allow students to examine the impact human beings have on the environment from both an individual and societal standpoint. Students will develop and foster skills such as critical thinking, communication, ethical reasoning, inquiry, and creativity, which will serve them well in their future academic, professional, civic, and personal lives.

Foundations of Environmental Sciences fulfills a requirement or elective in the following Pathways minors:



There are no prerequisites for this course.

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Reasoning in the Natural Sciences and Intercultural and Global Awareness.

How is this class unique?
“This is class is especially unique because of how relevant it is… it opens up so many new perspectives on what is going on in the world right now. We are all being impacted by the environment day-to-day, week-to-week, and there is a lot we need to do as individuals and as a community to step up and this class really pushes you to make that difference- at least think about it - and realize how much is going on across the globe.”
- Brendan, Multimedia Journalism

Has this course increased your interest in the subject so far?
“Yes, normally dealing with climate change with the environment I knew it was a problem, but it wasn’t really a problem that I ever really dived into. I knew about carbon emission, the polar ice caps melting but other than that I’d never done or seen any hard evidence or actual research. It’s really interesting to see not only how it affects other countries but ourselves as well.”
- Bridget, International Public Policy and Spanish

What has been your favorite project in this class?
“My favourite project so far in this class has been the current events... This class has forced me to keep up with that and become more personally involved with the current issues in the scientific community like global warming.. And different space programs.. This class has forced to keep up with what is happening in the world.”
- Kathleen, Urban Affairs & Public Relations