Environmental Studies Major

Overview of the Department

Environmental Studies combines the strengths of work in contributing departments together with interdisciplinary studies, giving both broad and focused perspectives on environmental problems and issues. The department offers a Major in Environmental Studies with three areas of emphasis in which students may choose to focus their work: Natural Science, Social Science and Arts and Humanities. In many cases work in these areas of emphasis overlaps with traditional departmental curricula, and students may choose to complete a second major there.

All students majoring in Environmental Studies take a common introductory course, an integrative topics course with experiential learning, and a capstone course. Additional coursework provides both breadth and depth within a study area and emphasizes the multidimensionality of environmental study. Students wishing to count courses not specifically designated as satisfying requirements for the major may petition the Chair prior to enrollment.

Requirements for the Major

  1. INTEGRATIVE COURSES (ENVST 137, 237, 399)  All students majoring in Environmental Studies take the integration and applications course (237) in the sophomore or junior year and take the senior seminar (399) in the fall semester of their senior year. Students planning to be abroad during the fall semester may register for the 399 course as juniors, provided they have taken at least one course in each of the areas of emphasis.
  2. AREA STUDY  Each area of emphasis requires students to develop proficiency with the way a given area approaches study of the environment.
  3. COURSES IN OTHER AREAS OF EMPHASIS  All students majoring in Environmental Studies take at least one course from each of the other areas of emphasis and take a total of three courses in this category.  This provides opportunities to explore the breadth of thought and experience through which others approach environmental issues and seek solutions.

Worksheets for the Major Areas of Emphasis:


Core Courses ENVST 137: Intro to ES

ENVST 237: Integration App

ENVST 399: Seminar

ENVST 137: Intro to ES 

ENVST 237: Integration Application ES

Arts & Humanities ENGL 280: Nature Writing

REL 241: Ecology, Justice & Christianity

ENVST 381: Advanced Topics TBD

SPAN 240: Politics & Environment (Puerto Rico) ENVST 202: Culture of Nature

ENVST 281: Biophilia

RUSSN 250: Environment in Russian Literature

Social Science ECON 121: Principles of Economics

ECON 242: Environmental Economics

ECON 260: Intro Econometrics

ENVST 232: Env Policy & Regulation

ENVST 281: Architecture and Ecology

ID 234: Human Geography

PSCI 220: Analyzing Politics

SOAN 247: Disasters

ECON 121: Principles of Econ

ENVST 245: Global Env Politics

ECON 121: Principles of Economics

ECON 242: Environmental Econ

ECON343: Development Economics

ES/PS 276: Environmental Politics

PHIL 257: Environmental Ethics

SS Methodology PSYCH 230: Research Methods

SOAN 371: Found Soc Sci Research 

STAT 110: Principles of Statistics

STAT 172: Statistics 1

STAT 272: Statistics 2

ENVST 255: Remote Sensing GIS

ECON 260: Intro Econometrics 

PSCI 220: Analyzing Politics

PSYCH 230: Research Methods

STAT 110: Principles of Statistics

STAT 172: Statistics 1

STAT 272: Statistics 2

Natural Science BI/ES 226: Conservation Biology

BIO 261: Ecological Principles

CHEM 255: Analytical Chemistry

ENVST 396: Research- Winter is Coming

BI/ES 228: Environmental Health

ENVST 245: Global Climate Change

BIO 261: Ecological Principles

CHEM 248: Organic Chem II

CHEM 255: Analytical Chemistry

NS Methodology ENVST 255: Remote Sensing GIS

STAT 110: Principles of Statistics

STAT 172: Statistics 1

STAT 272: Statistics 2

STAT 172: Statistics 1 STAT 110: Principles of Statistics

STAT 172: Statistics 1

STAT 272: Statistics 2


A description of the college’s understanding of distinction can be found in the college catalog.  Distinction is an academic honor awarded to a limited number of students (up to 10%) in Environmental Studies who have demonstrated high academic achievement and the ability to produce an independent work of excellence in their area of study. The Environmental Studies Department invites senior majors to apply and each spring will review their record of academic achievement in Environmental Studies and their independent project. The project may take a variety of forms from a scientific research project to a work of art.

NOTE: In August 2021, the faculty of the Department of Environmental Studies voted to stop granting of Distinction in Environmental Studies.   The Department will offer Department Distinction through the Class of 2025 according to the criteria and guidelines listed below.

Guidelines  A candidate for Distinction must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 in the department. Initially the grade point average will be calculated based on work through the student’s junior year. Candidacy for Distinction will be continued if the minimum GPA is maintained through Interim of the senior year. Students seeking Distinction are advised not to take any of their EnvSt coursework pass no-credit (S/U).  Eligible students will be notified by the Distinction Committee Chair at the beginning of the fall of their senior year and asked to apply for Distinction by November 15.

Criteria  Candidates for Distinction will prepare a substantial piece of original academic work that is beyond normal classroom assignments. Types of projects may include a scholarly paper, artistic endeavor, or musical composition. The work may originate in summer research projects, independent study/research, the Environmental Studies experiential component, or directed undergraduate research groups if the student has a part of the project that is their own. A public presentation in the form of a poster presentation, talk, or exhibit of the project is expected. If the candidate is being considered for Distinction in more than one department, they must have a separate project for each department.

Timetable  Seniors applying for distinction will inform the chair of the Environmental Studies Department, in writing, by November 15 and select a faculty advisor from the Environmental Studies faculty. The faculty advisor will work with the student on the presentation of the project documentation/distinction application due to the Distinction Committee by April 7. The Chair will notify candidates of the decision in writing by early May.  (revised & adopted by EnvSt 17 Apr 2014)

Intended Learning Outcomes

Click on the department’s intended learning outcomes for ES majors to discover more about them.

In addition to the major the department offers a Concentration in Environmental Studies for students wishing to complement a disciplinary major with a smaller core of courses and electives focused on the environment.

For those students, class of 2020 and earlier, using the old version of the major, see the links below for those worksheets.   Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities