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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

Environmental Studies Program

Chair: Richard B. Howarth

Professors D. T. Bolger, R. B. Howarth, C. S. Sneddon, R. A. Virginia, E. J. Wilson; Associate Professors V. B. Chaudhary, M. E. Cox, N. J. Reo, D. G. Webster; Assistant Professors, T. W. Y. Ong, S. J. Tumber-Dávila; Professor Emeritus A. J. Friedland, Research Associate Professor L. E. Culler,  Research Assistant Professor D. A. Lutz; Adjunct Professor M. B. Burkins; Visiting Professor B. D. Roebuck; Senior Lecturers C. A. Fox, R. T. Jones; Lecturers J. T. Erbaugh, F. E. Krivak-Tetley, G. A. Mejía, M. E. Peach, S. B. Smith

To view Environmental Studies courses, click here

In the Environmental Studies Program (ENVS) we seek to motivate and prepare students to rise to the challenges and opportunities associated with human-environment interactions.  Environmental degradation is an escalating problem from local to global scales. Training students to understand and address these environmental problems is our core mission and is why we believe that environmental studies is an essential component of a modern liberal arts education.

The field of Environmental Studies views the earth, and our place in it, as a set of complex, interacting socio-ecological systems.  To understand this complexity, ENVS draws on concepts and methods from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, as complementary lenses through which to view these systems.  But we also seek to overcome the limitations of any one of these perspectives by applying innovative approaches that integrate the traditional disciplines in new and productive ways. Research and teaching strengths in the program include environmental governance, ecosystem science, environmental and ecological economics, biodiversity conservation, climate change, and sustainable food systems.

A defining element of environmental studies is active engagement with real-world environmental problems.  One contemporary concept we employ to frame this practical engagement is sustainability.  The quest for sustainability asks the difficult question, how can humans live well on the planet without compromising the ability of current and future generations to do the same? A number of our courses have a specific focus on “hands-on” engagement with sustainability (ENVS 3: Environment and Society: Towards Sustainability, ENVS 50: Environmental Problem Analysis and the Africa Foreign Study Program).

To meet the needs of our students, we offer a major in Environmental Studies and three minors: Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, and Sustainability.  We also offer the Africa Foreign Study Program that travels to South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia where we explore the themes of environmental studies within the particular environment, culture and history of the southern Africa region.

Requirements for the Major, Modified Major, and Minor

The Environmental Studies Major

Prerequisites (3 courses): (a) Math 3 or Math 10 or the equivalent statistics course; (b) Chemistry 3 or 5 or Physics 3 or Biology 16 or Earth Sciences 1; (c) Economics 1 or Economics 2

Requirements (2 courses): (a) ENVS 2 or the equivalent (It is possible to substitute other course combinations for ENVS 2 on a two-for-one basis. The following may be combined with Biology 16: EARS 1, 6, ENVS 12 or GEOG 3. If BIOL 16 is taken as a partial substitute for ENVS 2, it may not be used as a prerequisite.); (b) ENVS 3 (It is possible to substitute other course combinations for ENVS 3 on a two-for-one basis.)

Core Courses (3 courses): Please choose three, including at least one from each of the two groups

(a) Natural Sciences for Environmental Governance: ENVS 20, ENVS 25, ENVS 26 or ENVS 30;

(b) Social Sciences for Environmental Governance: ENVS 55, ENVS 56, ENVS 61, ENVS 65 or ENVS 67

Critical Issues in Environmental Studies (1 course):  ENVS 12; ENVS 14; ENVS 15; ENVS 17; ENVS 18; ENVS 28.

Elective Focus Courses (3 courses): Three related and relevant non-introductory (i.e., 10 or above) courses, at least one from ENVS.

Culminating Experience: ENVS 50, ENVS 84, ENVS 85, or ENVS 91

The Environmental Studies Honors Program

A candidate for the Honors Program in Environmental Studies must satisfy the minimum College grade requirements and complete Environmental Studies 91 (Thesis Research). Environmental Studies 91 may be taken two times, both for course credit, but can only count once toward the major. The minimum requirement for admission is a grade point average of 3.0 in the major and a 3.0 general College average at the beginning of the senior year or at any other time that an application for admission is made. Those students who satisfactorily complete the Honors Program with a ‘B+’ average or better will earn Honors recognition in their major or, in appropriate cases, High Honors. High Honors will be granted only by vote of the ENVS faculty on the basis of outstanding independent work. An interim evaluation of honors students will be made after one term and continuation recommended for those students whose work demonstrates the capacity for satisfactory (B+) work. Enrollment in Environmental Studies 91 does not imply admissions into the Honors Program nor does completion of a senior thesis require the awarding of Honors in the major.

The Culminating Experience

The culminating experience requirement for the major in Environmental Studies may be met by completing either ENVS 50, ENVS 84, ENVS 85, or conducting Honors Research (ENVS 91).

The Environmental Studies Minor

Prerequisites (1):  ENVS 2 or ENVS 3

Requirements: And five other related non-introductory courses, numbered 10 and above, including at least three from Environmental Studies. Up to two courses from outside Environmental Studies may be used with permission of the Chair. (Exception: ENVS 2 or ENVS 3 can also be among these five if not taken as a prerequisite.)  

The Environmental Science Minor

Prerequisites: (a) ENVS 2 or equivalent; (b) CHEM 3 or 5 or PHYS 3 or BIOL 16 or EARS 1

Requirements: (a) ENVS 3 or 11 or 42, (b) ENVS 20 or 25 or 28 or 30

Three other related non-introductory Environmental Studies science courses (numbered 10 and above). One class from outside ENVS may be used if from an approved list or with permission of the Chair.

Another Major Modified with Environmental Studies

Prerequisites: none

Requirements (2): ENVS 2 or 3; ENVS 50

Three additional Environmental Studies non-introductory courses, not including 2, 3,

or 7. One of these may be substituted by an appropriate course from another department,

with permission from the ENVS Chair.

Africa Foreign Study Program

Prerequisites: There are few formal prerequisites to participate in the ENVS Africa FSP.  The program benefits from having diverse perspectives among the student participants, and all majors are welcome to apply. What we do look for is individuals who are prepared to engage in a rigorous field-based educational experience.  We do ask that you take one of the following courses in preparation.

AAAS 11/ANTH 12.23: Intro to African Studies

AAAS 14 /HIST 5.01: Pre-Colonial African History

AAAS 15/HIST 66: History of Africa since 1800

AAAS 19/HIST 5.08: Africa and the World

AAAS 40/WGSS 34.02: Gender Identities and Politics in Africa

AAAS 42/REL 66/WGSS 44.03: Women, Religion and Social Change in Africa

AAAS 44/ANTH 36: Anthropology and Contemporary Africa: Exploring Myths, Engaging Realities

AAAS 46/HIST 67: History of Modern South Africa

AAAS 50/ENVS 45/HIST 75: Colonialism, Development, and the Environment in Africa and Asia

AAAS 51/COLT 51: African Literatures: Masterpieces of Literatures from Africa

AAAS 54/THEA 23: Topics in African Theater and Performance

AAAS 83.02/GEOG 80: Food and the African World

AAAS 87.05/GOVT 42: Politics of Africa

AAAS 87.09/ANTH 12.14: African Popular Culture

AAAS 88.02/WGSS 38.02/HIST 6.30: Women & Gender in the African Diaspora

GEOG 6/INTS 16: Introduction to International Development

ENVS - Environmental Studies Courses