The Environmental Thought and Practice interdisciplinary major requires four prerequisites, three core classes, and seven electives. Before enrolling in the major students must meet the College's natural sciences and social sciences area requirements.


ETP students must take all four prerequisites in order to complete the major. At the time of application, students must be enrolled in, or have already completed, at least two of the prerequisites.

Core Courses

The following core courses are required of all majors:

*EVSC 3200, 3600, and 3300 all require one semester of calculus; EVSC 2800 recommends one semester of chemistry; EVSC 3200 recommends one semester each of chemistry and biology; EVSC 3300 recommends one semester of physics with lab. Labs are required with the core courses but are not required for electives.


Each student must also choose seven (7) classes distributed across the three areas indicated below, with the restriction that at least two (2) classes must be taken in Area I (Values, Culture, and History) and at least one (1) class must be taken in each of Areas II and III (two classes are required in Area I because there are no such classes in the core curriculum).

We recommend checking SIS frequently for environmetally-themed courses, as courses often come and go. Students who wish to have classes not specified here counted against their ETP elective requirements must submit their request plus the full course syllabus to Professor Vivian Thomson.  Please give this required information to Professor Thomson during her office hours or leave it in her Clark Hall mailbox.  ETP elective courses must be upper-level or graduate three- or four-credit classes and they must have environmental concerns as the central focus.  Requests to count courses that do not meet these basic requirements will not be considered.

I. Values, Culture, and History

If approved by one of the ETP Program Directors, students may count one (1) related 3000-, 4000-, or 5000-level class in History, Anthropology, Philosophy, English, Religious Studies, Landscape Architecture, or Technology, Culture, and Communication against the two-class requirement for this area.

II. Policy, Planning, and Society*

Students may fulfill their one-class requirement for this track by taking any one (1) of the following specific classes (there are no prerequisites for these upper-level Planning classes):

If approved by one of the ETP Program Directors, students may take one (1) related 3000-, 4000-, or 5000-level course in Economics, Government and Foreign Affairs, Sociology, the Law School, Darden, or Urban and Environmental Planning to meet the overall seven-course elective requirement, but not to meet the basic one-class requirement for this area.

*The College allows students to count 18 credits of classes in other schools toward the 120-credit graduation requirement.

III. Natural Science

Any 3000- or 4000-level EVSC course. If approved by one of the ETP Program Directors, students may take one (1) related 3000-, 4000-, or 5000-level class in Biology, Chemistry, or Environmental Engineering (e.g., MAE 4140, CE 2200) to meet the overall seven-class elective requirement, but not to meet the basic one-class requirement for this area. (Upper level EVSC classes build on the classes listed above under "Core Classes." Upper-level Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Engineering classes can have several prerequisites.) Labs are not required for Area III electives (but they are required for the core courses).

Pre-approved Non-EVSC or 2000-level courses include:

Requirements for the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP)

Majors with a minimum 3.6 GPA in the major (and 3.4 GPA overall) are eligible for a distinguished majors program (DMP) for their fourth year. DMPs take a year-long independent study with a faculty advisor, with the goal of producing a thesis that is evaluated by outside readers. To participate in the ETP distinguished majors program, set up an appointment with Professor Thomson during the spring semester of your third year.

Credit/No Credit Grades

Please note that the ETP program adheres strictly to the College of Arts and Science's policy regarding classes taken for CR (credit) or NC (no credit). Courses counting towards the ETP prerequisites, area requirements, and core courses may NOT be taken on a CR/NC basis.

The College does not permit students to take courses on a CR/NC basis in interdisciplinary programs, nor does it permit students to count courses taken on a CR/NC basis towards a major, minor, or College area requirements.

Double Majors / Minors

Many ETP majors pursue double majors and minors in a variety of other subjects. Please read the requirements about double majoring and minoring set forth by the College of Arts and Sciences:

"You may major in two subjects, in which case the application for a degree must be approved by both departments or interdepartmental programs."

And with respect to number of credits:

"Students must enroll in a either a major program offered by one of the departments or an interdepartmental program before the last day of classes in the fourth semester; the program must be approved by an official major advisor. In addition, the student must present to the College of Arts & Sciences, as part of their plan of study, a program that counts no more than two courses toward two majors. This double counting of courses requires the permission of both major departments or programs. A major may not be less than 24 credits nor more than 34 credits. The major program may also require up to 12 credits in related courses. (Courses counting for a minor may NOT count toward a major.)"

ETP policy allows for double counting courses so long as all of ETP's and the College's requirements are met. Since ETP is an interdisciplinary major, up to three courses may be double counted. In accordance with the College's policy on minoring, the ETP Program does not permit double counting between a major and a minor.

Study Abroad

The ETP program does not have any official positions on overseas programs. In the past, several ETP students have done Semester at Sea, an interdisciplinary global comparative program sponsored by UVa.  We also recommend that ETP students interested in studying abroad go to other universities’ websites for ETP-like majors and see if there are recommended programs through those universities.

In the course approval process, students must go to the UVa departments for which they seek credit. For example, if you would like credit for a civil engineering class taken abroad, you must go to the Engineering Department to file for this credit. Unless it is an ETP course, we cannot approve it for credit.


Internships cannot be counted for academic credit against the ETP major.



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