We offer a Bachelor's of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences degree that can be taken on-campus or online. Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability B.S. students can specialize in environmental consulting, sustainability policy, geographic information science, sustainable business, and more. The online option is available to both current and future students of the University of Illinois. Students new to the University of Illinois who wish to undertake the program apply to the University of Illinois as transfer students. All prior credit earned through the ENSU certificate can be applied to the ESES BS degree if you transfer to the program.


The online degree is the same degree as taken by on-campus students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, only the method of instruction is different. The University of Illinois is a top-ten public institution, and is the flagship University of Illinois. You'll have the same world-class professors, courses, resources and B.S. degree as our 150 on-campus majors. You'd be attending the 2nd oldest university in Illinois, a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. We're considered a Public Ivy; and our undergraduate program is ranked by US World and News as the 45th best program in the country. The University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools


Graduates from Illinois are recruited from companies across the nation. The ESE degree celebrated its first complete graduating class in May of 2011. Our students have gone on to graduate programs across the country - in Medicine, Law, Biology, Public Affairs, Journalism and more - and careers for organizations large and small, including positions in environmental consulting, business consulting, sustainability management, teaching, wetlands restoration, the Peace Corps and environmental engineering.


The online program is open to students transferring to the University of Illinois. You will need to have at least one year (about 30 credit hours of college credit) of previous work. The only coursework that you need to have taken is composition 1 (or have met this requirement through a sufficiently high ACT score or through AP credit). There are no other specific requirements, although if you are interested in the "Science in the Earth System" concentration (see below), we highly recommend at least a semester of chemistry with lab, and a semester of physics with lab (we don't offer lab courses online, and these are needed for this concentration). Many of our transfer students have an Associates Degree in Arts or in Science, but this is not required. Transfer students have often started Bachelor degrees at other institutions and wish to complete at Illinois - this is perfectly fine!


We deliver the majority of our classes asynchronously - this means that you don't need to log on at a specific time. Depending on the course, there are weekly readings, lectures, lessons, discussion forums, quizzes and/or assignments. Courses may also have final papers, projects and exams. Everything can be done off-campus and in any timezone (even our online exams are remotely proctored and have flexible start times). A very few of our elective major classes have live discussions (with times in the evenings or weekends) but these are not required courses, and if this is an issue you can always take a course that does not have a specific log-on time. 

Most of our classes are 8 weeks long. Some classes run for the full length (16 weeks) of Fall and Spring Semesters. All Illinois students are full time, which means at least 24 credit hours a year, which can be taken throughout the year - we offer classes in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. 


The latest academic year cost per credit hour is $416, which includes all fees (although there may be other minor course costs, such as textbooks or exam proctoring). In-state, out-of state, and international students pay the same rate. This means that a standard, 15 credit hour semester costs a little over $6,000. Online students qualify for financial aid - see for information about financial aid at Illinois. Veteran benefits are fully applicable (see for information about veteran services at Illinois). 


The major is set up to allow students with a wide variety of backgrounds to complete the degree. There is a choice of two concentrations:

  1. Science in the Earth System (for those with a natural science background/focus)
  2. Society and Environment (more flexible, for those with a social sciences or general background)

There are over 60 advanced hours available for the online major, and hundreds more elective and general education options from across the campus. All required courses are offered every two years, and many introductory courses are offered online too. 

For a full list of degree requirements, visit our Majors Page.

To find out more information (or just to talk to a person about the program), email or call the Program Director - Dr. Jonathan Tomkin (, 217 244-2928)