BS in Coastal Environmental Studies

coastal city.jpgThe Coastal Environmental Studies major, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, provides the skills, knowledge, and preparation for students to assess and address coastal environmental problems. The curriculum integrates principles and methodologies from physical sciences, natural sciences, and physical geography, combined with an understanding of environmental ethics, environmental policy, and environmental law.

The major prepares students for entry-level employment in the public, private, or non-profit sectors concerned with assessment, abatement, or regulation of a wide range of coastal environmental problems. The major prepares students for graduate study in environmental science, marine science, geoscience, environmental planning and related fields.

Coastal zones have always concentrated people and economic activities because of their natural resources and trading opportunities. Many of the world’s largest cities are on seacoasts and at the mouths of the great rivers. The development of coastal zones around the world has created an array of environmental problems and water and land resource issues, further complicated by the sea level rise.

Stony Brook is located close to environmentally sensitive areas and provides access to the Shinnecock Bay, Peconic Estuary, Atlantic Ocean, and the Central Long Island Pine Barrens, as well as the presence of several groundwater wells and rare plant and tree species on campus which allows for hands-on instruction in a range of relevant topics. As part of the degree requirements, students will work in teams with students enrolled in related majors to solve problems collaboratively. Students are encouraged to take advantage of independent research opportunities, internships, and field camps to gain real-world experience.


Note:  One course passed with a C may be applied to the major. Course taken with the Pass/NC option may not be applied to the major.

Please click here for the Major Checklist of courses for COS major.
Please click here for the Upper Division Writing Requirement Form.
To contact the faculty director of the major please email :

To find out more about jobs relating to this major, please click here to visit the Career Center webpage for the COS major.

(Click on the course number for a full description)

A: Foundation Courses (34-35 credits)

MAT 125/126 or MAT 131-C Calculus (4-6 credits)
CHE 131-E/133 and CHE 132 General Chemistry I and II
SBC 111
Introduction to Sustainability Studies
SBC 113-E/114 Physical Geography (4 credits)
SBC 201 Systems and Models (1 credit)
SBC 205 Introduction to Geospatial Analysis (1 credit)
BIO 201-E Fundamentals of Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems (3 credits)
BIO 204 Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry in the Biological Sciences (2 credits)
ENS 119 Physics for Environmental Studies (4 credits)
AMS 102 Elements of Statistics

B: Career Leadership Skills (6 credits)

CSK 102 Career Leadership Skills: Working in Teams (1 credit)
CSK 302 Technical Writing and Communication (3 credits)

Plus two from the following (1 credit each):

CSK 101 Career Leadership Skills: Advocacy and Change
CSK 104 Career Leadership Skills: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (1 credit)
CSK 105 Career Leadership Skills: Leadership
CSK 106 Communication Methods and Strategies
CSK 107 Assessment

C: Core Courses (29 credits)

MAR 333-H Coastal Oceanography (3 credits)
ENV 315 Coastal Groundwater Hydrology (3 credits)
ENV 316 Coastal Zone Management (3 credits)
GSS 313 GIS Applications and Design (3 credits)
GSS 314 GIS Application and Design Lab (1 credit)
ENV 320/321 Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (4 credits)

As part of the Core Requirements students are required to select 9 credits from Group A and three credits from Group B:

  • GROUP A: Environmental Studies Electives
    BIO 351-H Ecology (3 credits)
    BIO 352 Ecology Laboratory (3 credits)
    EDP 305 Risk Assessment and Sustainable Development (3 credits)
    ENV 304-H Global Environmental Change (3 credits)
    ENV 310 -H -Sustainability and Renewable Energy in Costa Rica (4 credits)
    ENV 340 Contemporary Topics in Environmental Science (3 credits)
    ENV 317 Coastal Pond Algal Ecology (3 credits)
    ENV 487 Research in Environmental Science (1-3 credits)
    ENV 405 Field Camp (3-6 credits)
    MAR 303 Long Island Marine Habitats (3 credits)
    MAR 304-E Waves, Tides, and Beaches (3 credits)
    MAR 315-H Conservation Biology and Marine Biodiversity (3 credits)
    MAR 336 Marine Pollution (3 credits)
    MAR 388 Tropical Marine Ecology (4 credits)
    EHI 310 Restoration Ecology (3 credits)
    ENS 380 Stony Brook in Tanzania: Lake Victoria Environment and Human Health (4 credits)

  • GROUP B: Environment, Society and Policy
    SBC 309 Global Environmental Politics (3 credits)
    SUS 341-H Environmental Treatises and Protocols (3 credits)
    SBC 307-K(4) Environmental History of North America (3 credits)
    SUS 342-HEnergy and Mineral Resources (3 credits)
    EHI 340 Ecological and Social Dimensions of Disease (3 credits)

    (One of the following three-credit courses can be used as a substitute for any of the courses in Group B, but each of these courses below has a prerequisite outside the major.

    SUS 301 or PHI 366 Environmental Ethics
    SUS 303 Demographic Change and Sustainability
    EDP 301 The Built Environment
    EDP 309 Planning, Policies, and Regulations
    SBC 308-K American Environmental Politics
    SBC 311-F Disasters and Society: A Global Perspective
    SBC 312-F Environment, Society, and Health
    SBC 330-G Extreme Events

D: Systems Course (3 credits)
One integrative, collaborative systems project course:

ENV 301 Sustainability of the Long Island Pine Barrens
SBC 401 Integrative, Collaborative Systems Project

With permission of the Program Director, a student is allowed to take SBC 488 Internship in lieu of a Systems Course

E: Upper Division Writing Requirement

Proficiency in writing, oral communication, and computer literacy will be encouraged in all students. In addition to CSK 302, these skills will be developed within the context of other formal coursework and no additional credits are required. To meet the upper-division writing requirement, students must submit two papers from any 300-level or 400-level course in the major to the faculty advisor of the COS major.

Sustainability Studies Program    W0511 Melville Library     Phone: (631) 632-9404

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