Our Majors

We offer an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts major in Environmental Studies for students who have an abiding interest in the general environmental problems faced by humans, and with special concern for their humanistic, policy, and social science aspects. Themes for this major include Environmental Policy, Politics and Economics, Environmental Planning, Environmental Ethics/Humanities, Environmental Advocacy, International Environmental Perspectives, Environmental and Human Health, and Perspectives on Sustainability.

We also offer a Bachelor of Arts major in Environmental Science as a coordinate major. This major is only available to students who also major in biology, chemistry, or geology, and therefore may be thought of as a means of adding an environmental concentration to a B.A. science degree. Complementing the depth of knowledge in the student's primary area of study, the B.A. in Environmental Science provides breadth across the interdisciplinary field of environmental science.

Environmental Studies Program Mission, Goals & Characteristics

ENST Mission

  • The program is motivated by society’s need for an on-going critical evaluation of humanity’s relationship with the environment
  • The program seeks to provide students with these mutually reinforcing competencies:
    • critical interdisciplinary understanding of the origins of environmental issues, as societal phenomena entwined with natural processes.
    • an ability to analyze one’s beliefs and place in the world, growing toward a more empathetic environmental engagement.
    • the capacity to seek solutions to such problems, acquired through theoretical, analytical, interpretive, and experiential learning.
  • Faculty and students seek to foster an academic environment based on pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and meaning within a respectful, diverse, and inclusive community.
  • The environmental studies program strives to situate itself within the communities that surround and support the university, seeking to use its strength and its privileges to address environmental challenges as they affect all people.

Goals

During and following their educational experiences, our graduates will:

  • Acquire focused expertise within the academic fields that contribute to environmental studies.
  • Gain in-depth understanding of how natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering interact as the students seek to understand and respond to humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
  • Reflect on their place in the world, by critically articulating a relational sense of self in comparison to other cultures, schools of thought, the non-human world, moments in time.
  • Appreciate the world around them, seeing the environment itself as an actor in the human drama.
  • Develop robust skills in critical thinking, reading and writing, observation and recording, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and verbal communication.
  • Develop the capacity to address specific environmental problems by working collaboratively to define, critically evaluate, and respond in a socially appropriate way to real-world environmental problems

Program characteristics

Our program attains these goals by means of:

  • hierarchical curricula, which
    • begins with the conceptual underpinnings of environmental problem-framing and values definition
    • introduces essential technical and social-science understandings
    • provides careful training in research methods and design
    • invites students to explore those parts of the broad environmental field most relevant to their personal and professional goals
    • culminates in the translation of these capacities into field- and community-based projects and independent student research
  • an interdisciplinary curriculum, in which students learn to value the methods and perspectives of a variety of disciplines while seeking to integrate them in the context of environmental issues
  • a liberal arts curriculum that emphasizes the skills of critical rhetoric, self-conscious reflection on values, qualitative and quantitative research, project and team management, and exploration across the breadth of human inquiry
  • an inclusive curriculum that pays attention to diverse populations and other historically excluded groups
  • an integrated curriculum that respectfully brings together a variety of academic departments, research centers, and community partners to produce opportunities for genuine learning and meaningful change
  • a flexible curriculum, in which students and faculty can respond creatively to new environmental realities and emerging fields of knowledge by building unique concentrations within the major, a flexible curriculum, permitting students to concentrate in either natural sciences or social sciences/humanities
  • the modeling by faculty and staff of the engaged and productive citizen-scholar
  • opportunities for extensive experiences beyond campus, in the local region, at distant field sites, and through formal off-campus and international education. The Program offers two majors, a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Environmental Science (which is a second major to a required first major in biology, chemistry, or geology), and a minor in Environmental Studies
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