Current Students

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.

  • ECON 2010 Principle of Microeconomics

  • Any Environmental Sciences class other than those taken to meet the core or Natural Science area requirements

  • One of the following Statistics classes: STAT 1120, STAT 2120, STAt 2020, SOC 3110, SOC 3130, ECON 3710 (requires MATH 1210 or equivalent), ECON 3720, EVSC 5030 (requires MATH 1110, STAT 2120, or equivalent), MATH 3120 (requires MATH 3100), APMA 3120 (requires APMA 3100 or equivalent), or PSYC 3005/3006 (taken together)

  • PLAN 1010 Introduction to Community and Environmental Planning [or] ETP 2020 / ARCH 5150/2150 / COMM 3880 / ENGR 2595 / EVSC 2559 Global Sustainability [or] RELG 2210 Religion, Ethics and Environment

Core Courses

The following core courses are required of all majors: 

  • EVSC 2030/ETP 2030/PLAP 2030 Politics, Science, and Values: Introduction to Environmental Policy (fall only)

  • Either EVSC 2800/2801* (Physical Geology) or EVSC 3200/3201* (Fundamentals of Ecology) or EVSC 3600/3601* (Physical Hydrology) or EVSC 3300/3301* (Atmosphere and Weather)

  • ETP 4010 Environmental decisions (majors only, taken in fourth year) (spring only)

*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 (Systems of Thought and Values) 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 towards their ETP elective requirements must submit their request plus the full course syllabus to Professor Richard Handler.  Please give this required information to Professor Hander during his office hours or leave it in his 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. Systems of Thought and Values

  • AAS/WGS 3250 Motherlands: Mapping Landscapes of Hunger/Futures of Plenty, from the Plantation South to the Global South
  • ANTH 3340 Ecology and Society: An Introduction to the New Ecological Anthropology
  • ANTH 5590 The Nature of Nature
  • ENMC 3500 Jungle Stories
  • ENWR 3665 Writing About the Environment
  • ETP 3559-001/ ENSP 4500-003 Plants and Empire
  • GDS/HIST 3112 Ecology and Globalization in the Age of European Expansion
  • LAR 4120 History of Landscape Design
  • LAR 4130 History of American Landscape Architecture (requires LAR 4120)
  • LAR 4140 Intro to Theories of Modern Landscape (requires LAR 4120)
  • LAR 5230 Cultural Landscapes
  • LAW 9158/ENSP 8559 Literature, Law and the Environment
  • HIST 2559/SEMS 3500-509 Global Environmental History
  • IHGC 5559 The Moral Ecology of Food
  • MDST 4210 Global Environmental Media
  • PLAN 5840 Environmental Ethics and Sustainability
  • GDS/ RELG 3820 Global Ethics & Climate Change
  • RELG 5559 Environmental Ethics

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 towards 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):

  • ARCH 3500/ARCH 5500/GSVS 3559 Sustainable Communities

  • COMM 4821 Managing Sustainable Development: Business Solutions to Global Challenges
  • COMM 4822 Investing a Sustainable Future
  • ECON 4430 Environmental Economics (requires ECON 3010 or 2010)
  • ETP 4810/ PLAP 4810 Class, Race and the Environment 
  • ETP 4800/ PLAP 4800 Politics of the Environment
  • EVSC 4030 Environmental Policymaking in the United States
  • GSGS 3559 Water Worlds/Water Wars: An Element in Social Context
  • PLAN 3030 Neighborhoods, Community, and Regions
  • PLAN 3060 Law, Land, and the Environment
  • PLAN 3860 Cities + Nature
  • PLAN 4040 Planning in Government
  • PLAN 5500 Psychology of Environment and Space
  • PLAN 5620 Sustainability and Adaptive Infrastructure
  • PLAN 5810 Sustainable Communities
  • PLAN 5830 Environmental Policy and Planning
  • PPOL 3280 Urban Environmental Policy
  • SARC 5559/GSVS 4559 Urbanization Challenges in South Africa
  • STS 2500 Global Environmental History
  • ETP 4693 The Business of Saving Nature

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. Scientific Understandings 

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:

  • BIOL 3450 Biodiversity  and Conservation
  • CE 3100 Water for the World
  • CE 2100 Intro to Environmental Engineering
  • EVAT 5300 Environmental Climatology
  • EVSC 2800 Physical Geology
  • EVSC/ANTH 4559 Human Impact on the Environment
  • LAR 5370 Natural Systems and Plant Ecology
  • PLAN 5120/EVSC 3020 Geographic Information Systems

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 Handler 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.


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at