EVS Program FAQs

As the EVS Program continues to grow, the Program Office has compiled this page as a portal to answer some of your most frequent questions.  If you have an idea for something that should be added to this page, please let us know.

Current EVS Student FAQs

Prospective Student FAQs


Current Student FAQs

Advising: Where To Go

Prior to selecting your track (while your major is listed as “EVS-Entry”), you can be advised by the EVS Program Office or in your college’s advising office.  After declaring your track you should begin working primarily with your college’s advising office, as they will be the office that ultimately sees you through to graduation.  Your college’s advising office can also answer questions about things like concurrent enrollment and petitioning to have degree requirements modified or waived:

School (Track) EVS-Entry Advising Track-Specific Advising
Natural Sciences (Biology) First Year / Transfer Students Advising
WCH 1.106
(512) 471-3796 (website)
Biological Sciences Advising Center
NHB 2.206
(512) 471-4920 (website)
Liberal Arts (Geography) Geography Advising
CLA 1.216
(512) 232-6344 (website)
Geography Advising
CLA 1.216
(512) 232-6344 (website)
Jackson School (Geology) Geosciences Advising
JGB 2.108
(512) 232-4545 (website)
Geosciences Advising
JGB 2.108
(512) 232-4545 (website)

Advising through the EVS Program Office is available for declared EVS majors on an appointment and walk-in basis. Please call 512-232-4545 to schedule an appointment or to inquire about weekly walk-in hours.

Four Year Plans & Course Lists

Updated EVS Degree Plans for all active catalogs, Course Lists, and Sample Four-Year Plans can be found on the EVS Current Student Forms page.

Declaring Your Track

Declaring your track is simple, and can be done anytime after you have started taking the Introductory Field Seminar in Environmental Science & Sustainability (EVS 311).  Just:

  1. Complete a Declaration of EVS track form.
  2. Complete a “Transferring to another College or School” if necessary.
  3. Drop the form(s) off at the EVS Program Office anytime.

Declarations are generally processed at the during the first 8 days of each long term or the first 4 days of each summer session, if a student is registered for summer courses. Track declarations submitted over the course of the term will go into effect at the start of the next semester enrolled.

How to Run a Degree Audit

To run your degree audit, click here and launch IDA 2.0 (Interactive Degree Audit 2.0) then select “Create Audit” from the left-hand menu. Choose your college, your degree (B.S. Environmental Sciences) and your catalog (usually it has the same year as you started at UT).

Submit your audit, look at the results, and make sure all your courses and credits are properly counting towards your degree requirements. An accurate degree audit is essential for two reasons:

  1. Registration appointments are allocated based on the percentage of your degree completed as determined by your degree audit.
  2. You cannot graduate until your degree audit reads 100% complete.

Common Audit Issues

  • If UGS 303 (Sustaining a Planet) is not satisfying the “approved geological sciences course in sustainability” requirement complete a Request for Audit Correction
  • If thematic course listed as satisfying a requirement on the course list (e.g. a Policy or climates & Oceans class) is not satisfying that requirement on the audit, then complete a Request for Audit Correction
  • If advanced placement credit sent to UT is not being reflected on the degree audit, then make sure you have claimed the AP credit (click here to view scores and claim credit).
  • If a previously requested correction is not appearing on the audit after more than 4 weeks, make sure you are using the correct catalog year (try re-running your audit in a different catalog).

Correcting Your Audit

If something is not properly registering on your degree audit, complete a Request for Audit Correction. These requests typically take 3-4 weeks to fully process.  Note: Audits cannot be corrected until you have declared your track and are enrolled in the college from which you will graduate. Go here for information on how to declare your track.

Petitioning to Modify or Waive a Requirement

If you have taken a course that you believe should satisfy an existing requirement (either at UT Austin or at another school), or if you would like to request a waiver of a requirement due to unforeseen, exigent circumstances, you can petition to have the requirement modified or waived in your individual circumstances.

  • Core Curriculum petitions, such as government and history, must be made online through the School of Undergraduate Studies.  Click here for more information.
  • Prescribed Work petitions (relating to the coursework common to all three EVS tracks) should be made by completing this form and providing it to the EVS Program Office.  In this form you are required to explain the basis for your request and providing any supplemental material (e.g. a course syllabus) you would like the EVS Faculty Committee to consider.  Note these requests can take up to 6 weeks for complete processing.
  • Track-Specific petitions (including the “Additional Prescribed Work” that is part of the geography track) should be made by contacting the track’s advising office pursuant to that office’s particular process. These petitions are within the sole purview of the resident school or college.

Concurrent (Dual) Enrollment

Taking courses at another college or university (including University Extension) while you are also currently enrolled at UT Austin is called “concurrent enrollment.”  Each college has its own rules pertaining to concurrent enrollment, and the following general descriptions of each schools’ policies are presented solely for illustrative purposes only.

  • EVS-BIO: “The College of Natural Sciences permits concurrent enrollment with certain restrictions. Math or science courses cannot be taken concurrently and counted toward a degree unless specifically approved in advance by the college. Students must see their academic advisor for detailed information and to petition for approval.” Click here for more information.
  • EVS-GRG: “The College of Liberal Arts permits concurrent enrollment with certain restrictions.”  Click here for more information.
  • EVS-GEO: “Concurrent enrollment is enrollment simultaneously at the University and at another educational institution or in University Extension.  During a long-session semester students in the Jackson School enrolled at the University are not allowed to take courses at another school or institution or by correspondence or extension at the University unless specifically approved in advance by the Dean.  Exceptions are considered on a case by case basis after the student meets with their academic advisor and submits a Concurrent Enrollment Petition to the Undergraduate Student Services Office in advance.   Exceptions to this policy for math and science courses are considered only in extremely rare circumstances.  No more than 30 percent of the semester hours required for any degree in the Jackson School may be completed online with by correspondence or University Extension.”  Click here for more information (EID login required).

Petitioning to Increase Maximum Hours

Undergraduate students may register for up to 17 credit hours in any long-session semester (or 14 hours in the summer) without approval from their dean. Students who wish to take more than the maximum number of hours must petition with their dean’s office; each college has its own rules pertaining to increasing maximum hours, as described below:

  • EVS-BIO: “If a student wishes to carry more than 17 hours, approval is required in the Dean’s Office (WCH 1.106).” Students should complete the petition form in WCH 1.106, which will then be routed to the CNS advisors for review. Approval is based on: at least a 2.5 GPA for coursework completed in residence at UT Austin, proposed courseload, and successful completion of 14-15 hours in a recent UT Austin semester.
  • EVS-GRG: “In Liberal Arts, a student must earn at least 42 grade points during the previous long-session semester to gain permission to increase their maximum hours.”There are a couple exceptions to the 42-grade point requirement:
      • Students attempting to graduate may also request to raise their maximum hours.
      • Students participating in a Maymester Study Abroad program may request their maximum hours be raised.
  • EVS-GEO: Jackson School students must have a 3.0 UT GPA, have successfully completed 14-15 hours in a recent semester, and submit a proposed course load for review by the Advising Office. Petition forms to increase max hours can be picked up at the front desk in JGB 2.108.

Sustaining a Planet (the “Approved Geological Sciences Course in Sustainability”)

All EVS students are strongly encouraged to take Sustaining a Planet (UGS 303) as their first year signature course. This course will not only satisfy your core curriculum signature course requirement, but it will also relieve you of your “approved geological sciences course in sustainability.” It is, in fact, the only way to complete this requirement of your EVS degree.  It is offered each fall, so incoming freshmen should plan on taking it their first term at UT Austin.

If you came to EVS after completing your signature course, or if you were required to take a different signature course as part of a first year academic enrichment program, please contact the EVS Program office to discuss your options.

The EVS Capstone Research Experience

All EVS students complete a senior capstone experience prior to their graduation. The majority of EVS students complete a two-semester, independent research-project (EVS 271 & EVS 371).  Under this option students find a faculty lab in which to work whose research is of personal interest to them.  They complete a contact with the faculty mentor and complete a project designed to prepare them for graduate school or professional practice.  If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, click here for a list of topics your EVS predecessors have addressed and for the EVS Capstone Research Experience contract.

Students should start thinking about their capstone experience before or during the start of their junior year in order to ensure adequate time to plan and execute their intended project.

Career Services & Opportunities

EVS is continuing to work on developing support for its students as they begin to take their first steps outside the university, and since EVS is coordinated through the Environmental Science Institute, we regularly hear about fantastic internship and volunteer opportunities for EVS students.  Although we sometimes highlight these by emailing you (particularly if the opportunity is exclusively for EVS students) all opportunities for EVS students (regardless of track) are collected on the Jackson School’s  Career Connections.  Additional information about popular recurring opportunities is collected on our student opportunities page.

Prospective Student FAQs

What is the “EVS Program”?

The EVS Program is the name given collectively to the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science degrees offered by the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Jackson School of Geosciences.  In other words, everyone pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Science UT Austin is participating in the EVS Program.

What is the difference between the EVS Program and the B.A. in Sustainability Studies (B.A.S.S) degree?

Starting on the 2016-2018 catalog, the UT College of Liberal Arts began offering the Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies (B.A.S.S.). While both the EVS Program and the B.A.S.S. offer students the ability to study the environment from an interdisciplinary perspective, key differences exist between the programs:


EVS Program


Application: Competitive admission; internal transfer applications accepted each spring. Open admission, no application at this time.
Degree type: Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Arts
STEM requirements: Major-level calculus, chemistry, biology, physics, geology, and ecology. Basic University Core requirements, non-major-level math and science will count.
Emphasis areas:  Tracks available in:





Students are housed in the college that offers their track.

Thematic concentrations available:

-Trajectories in Sustainability

-Sustainable Choice in a Diverse World

-Natural Resource Management

Students are housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

Hands-on experience:  EVS 311: Intro Field Seminar

EVS 121: Intro to Research in Environmental Science

EVS 271 & 371: Two-semester Capstone Research Experience

EVS 141 & 151: Professional Development and Scientific Communication Seminars

Research Design

Experiential Learning (field-based or internship course)

Capstone Experience

Good fit for: Students interested in the interdisciplinary science underlying the environment, and who want a strong technical training in field and research science to solve environmental problems. Students who are interested in the intersection of geography, earth science, and social justice as related to sustainability and environmental issues, but are less interested in the hard sciences.

How can I apply to the EVS Program?

Students not already enrolled at UT Austin can apply to the EVS Program by selecting “environmental science” as their desired major at the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts, or the Jackson School of Geosciences.  Applications from all internal transfer students (those already enrolled at UT Austin) are accepted and evaluated each spring semester. Detailed information about applications to EVS is available here.

How can I declare myself as an EVS major?

The EVS Program is a restricted degree , so you can only declare yourself after applying and being admitted to the program.

How many students does the EVS Program admit each year?

Because of the hands-on nature of our coursework, EVS classes have to stay small. This means that they are a fantastic way to explore environmental science, but it also means that we have to limit our enrollment. Since each EVS course can hold a maximum of 25 students, and since we are only equipped to manage two sections of each required course per year, we can only accommodate approximately 50 students each year.

How competitive is the EVS Program?

Since it is a small program at a large university, and since interest in the subject matter is high, the EVS Program is extremely competitive.

What does EVS look for in an applicant?

Freshmen and external transfer applicants are evaluated through the university’s Office of Admissions, and therefore are evaluated according to the official application review factors (available here).  Internal transfer applicants are also asked about any field or lab experience, as well as about their interest and commitment to environmental science.

What is the “Math Readiness Requirement”?

To be considered for admission to the Environmental Science major as an incoming freshman or external transfer student, you must meet the calculus readiness requirement. You can show calculus readiness by submitting one of the following by the admissions deadline: A SAT Math score of 620 or above (on exams taken after March 2016; a score of 600 or above is considered for exams taken prior to March 2016); an ACT Math score of 26 or above; an AB or BC Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Test score of 3 or higher; an International Baccalaureate (IB) HL or SL Mathematics score of 4 or higher; or, an official college or university transcript showing credit for a college-level Calculus I (or higher) course with a grade of “C” or higher.

Are there other options to explore environmental science at UT?

Yes! While the EVS Program is the only way to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, the subject is a huge one, and lots of different schools at UT have programs that explore the scientific aspects of the environment.

Can I double major in EVS and another major?

The EVS Program is an extremely rigorous Bachelor of Science degree program, requiring 126 credit house of coursework, including the traditional studies in calculus, chemistry, biology, and physics, as well as thematic science classes and intensive field and lab work. Therefore, unless you intend to complete the double major with another related course of scientific study, a double major will likely not be possible within a standard time frame.

Can I minor in EVS?

No. If you are interested in adding a sustainability element to your current course of study, you may be more interested in the Bridging Disciplines Program. The 19-hour program functions a lot like a minor, and may be the best way to explore the issues while continuing on your current course of study.

What types of classes would I be taking as an EVS major?

EVS coursework is both interdisciplinary and hands-on in nature.  This means you can expects to take lots of classes in a variety of disciplines, and you can expect to get your hands dirty.  A full discussion of the EVS curriculum is available here.

In what college will I be enrolled as an incoming student?

Incoming freshmen and transfers who have been admitted to the EVS Program will be able to begin their coursework in any of the participating colleges – Natual Sciences, Liberal Arts, or the Jackson School.  Student currently enrolled at UT and admitted to the EVS Program can remain in their college of residence until they determine what “track” of the EVS Program they will pursue.

What if I am already enrolled in a different college, such as Engineering or Business, but I’m interested in pursuing EVS?

We recommend you do not transfer colleges until you have applied and been formally admitted to the EVS Program. If you need to transfer prior to applying to EVS, consult your academic advisor to discuss your options.

Can I take EVS courses without being admitted to the EVS Program?

Not usually. Because these courses are required for those pursuing an EVS major, we have to make sure that all admitted EVS students are accommodated.  That said, there are occasionally open seats in EVS courses for students who are interested in pursuing the major but who are not yet admitted.  In those rare cases, we let academic advisors know and they can point you towards additional information.


We hope you found this helpful.  Feel free to contact us at evs@esi.utexas.edu if you have suggestions for additional topics!