Environmental Studies

Eric Baack (program director)

The interdisciplinary major in environmental studies is designed to provide students with fundamental resources for understanding the complex and dynamic relations between humans and the natural world. The major integrates perspectives from the social sciences, the natural sciences, and humanities to develop the conceptual and analytic skills required for a balanced approach to environmental issues. Students completing a major in environmental studies also gain depth of knowledge in one specific area of study through a concentration.

Required for a major: Twelve courses in approved environmental studies courses including five core courses, a four or five course concentration in one area, and two or three elective courses from an approved list. Students pursuing the major must choose one of the three options for a concentration listed below. Six of the 12 courses must be at the 200 level or above. No more than three courses counting for another major or minor may be applied to the environmental studies major. Writing requirement completed with ENVS 485.

Core Courses: ENVS 134, 485; PHIL 140, BIO 151, POLS 258.


  1. Environmental Policy: ECON 255; POLS 355; two of SOC 356, PHIL 230, HIST 291, REL 243, PAID 450: Ethics, Energy and Climate Policy, PAID 450: Food and the Environment.
  2. Environmental Science: BIO 256; one of the following: CHEM 151 and 152 or CHEM 201; two courses (8 hours) from a single discipline of which at least 4 hours must be at the 300-level from the following: ENVS 220, 230, 310, 320, 330, 389 (if completed through the Earth and Environment in Italy Semester), BIO 246, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 354, 365, CHEM 202, 241, 344, 345.
  3. Individualized: Students develop a proposed course of study for their concentration in consultation with an environmental studies faculty member. This proposal must explain the four courses to be taken for the concentration, how they link together, and the rationale behind the proposal. Such proposals are typically completed during the spring semester of the sophomore year and must be submitted to the Environmental Studies Steering Committee no later than Dec. 1 of the junior year.

Required for a minor: Five courses in approved environmental studies courses including ENVS 134 or BIO 151, PHIL 140 or POLS 258, and ENVS 485. No more than two courses counting for another major or minor may be applied to the environmental studies minor.

In addition to all environmental studies courses serving as electives for the major or minor, courses from other departments approved for use as major or minor electives for environmental studies include:

ANTH 101,102, or ANTH 104 Cultural or Biological Anthropology or Archaeology

ANTH 203 Environmental Anthropology

ANTH/AFRS 221 Anthropology in East Africa: Culture Change Among the Maasai

ANTH 301 Experimental Archaeology

ANTH 302 Field Methods in Archaeology

ART 115 Scandinavian Fine Handcrafts

BIO 112 Insects, Humans, and the Environment

BIO 140 Introduction to Ecology of the Southwest

BIO 149 Introduction to Winter Biology

BIO 151 Principles of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity

BIO 152 Principles of Biology: Molecules, Cells, and Genes

BIO 240 Ecology of the Southwest

BIO 243 Microbiology

BIO 245 Ecology of Ecuador

BIO 246 Ornithology

BIO 247 Subtropical and Marine Biology

BIO 248 Genetics

BIO 249 Winter Biology

BIO 250 Restoration and Conservation Biology

BIO 251 Entomology

BIO 252 General Botany

BIO 253 Invertebrate Zoology

BIO 255 Physiology

BIO 256 Biostatistics

BIO 258 Vertebrate Natural History

BIO 354 Evolutionary Biology

BIO 365 General Ecology

CHEM 114 The Environment: A Chemical Perspective

CHEM 151, 152 General Chemical Principles I & II

CHEM 201 Advanced Chemical Principles

CHEM 202 Analytical Chemistry

CHEM 241 Organic Chemistry I

CHEM 344 Instrumental Methods: Spectroscopic Techniques

CHEM 345 Instrumental Methods: Separations and Electrochemistry

DAN 105 Movements Fundamentals I: Practices of Alignment and Function

ECON 255 Environmental Economics

ENG 247: Literature and Ecology

HIST 291 Environmental History

INTS 302 The Challenge of Global Climate Change

PAIDEIA 450 Food and the Environment

PAIDEIA 450 Ethics, Energy and Climate Policy

PAIDEIA 450 Ethics and Technology

PAIDEIA 450 Green Germany: Advanced Models of Sustainability

PAIDEIA 450 Here on Earth: Vocation in a Sustainable Global Community

PAIDEIA 450 Impacts of Mining and Tourism on Indigenous Peoples and the Environment in N. Chile

PAIDEIA 450 People and Parks: Pastoralism and Conservation in East Africa

PHIL 120 Ethics

PHIL 140 Environmental Philosophy

PHIL 230 Philosophy of Science

POLS 258 Environmental Politics and Policy

POLS 355 Constitutional Law

REL 243 Environmental Ethics

SCI 123 Introduction to Meteorology

SCI 139 Belize: Impact of Eco-adventure

SOC 356 Environmental Sociology