Environmental Studies Major

The interdisciplinary environmental studies major requires a minimum of 48 credits, an area of concentration, and an additional statistics course. Please note that the credits for the statistics course, although required for the major, will not be counted toward the total number of credits in the major. Two 200- or 300-level courses may be taken off campus (study abroad, five-college courses, etc.).


Two additional 200- or 300-level courses may be taken within the Five Colleges. Permission of the ES advisor is required for all off-campus courses and for all courses not included on the approved Core Intermediate (Group A and Group B) and Concentration course listings (see major requirements and concentration checklists). A maximum of two 200-level courses in the concentration may be used to fulfill the Group A and Group B requirements, where appropriate and subject to advisor’s approval.


Environmental studies majors must choose an area of concentration around which to organize their advanced course work. Students must choose their concentration by advising period of the second semester of their sophomore year. The concentration requirements worksheet (.pdf)
The recommended concentrations (and advisors) are:

Conservation (Hoopes, Ballantine)
The Conservation concentration allows students to focus on the science and policy behind conserving biodiversity and ecosystem function. (Statistics 240 is required for this concentration.)

Ecosystem Science (Ballantine, Hoopes)
Ecosystem Science is a field and lab-based interdisciplinary science concentration that examines the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. (Statistics 240 is required for this concentration.)

Environment and Development (Corson, Farnham, Kebbede, Savoy)
The Environment and Development concentration deepens student understanding of the relationship between global environmental issues and human well-being around the world. Courses ranging from the political economy to environmental justice offer students opportunities to explore factors that shape human-environment relations across both the industrialized world and the global South. (formerly Sustainable Development)

Environmental Politics, Policy, and Economics (Amy, Christiansen, Corson)
The Environmental Politics, Policy, and Economics concentration focuses on the study of the political, economic, historical, and cultural forces that shape environmental politics. Topics include: how environmental policies are made, which interests are most powerful in determining policies, how effective those policies are, and which groups are harmed or helped by those policy decisions.

Geoscience (Dunn,Werner)
Nearly all environmental issues occur near or at the Earth's surface and involve earth materials. A Geoscience concentration introduces students to the geology associated with environmental studies issues.

Natural History (Rachootin)
Natural History: the narratives of the natural world. Students in this concentration study the living worlds that have been and are being evolved, and can, if they wish, connect the living world to the physical processes that shape the Earth and produced the geological record. Planetary science, geology, biology, and physical anthropology guide these stories. Field experience is often an integral part of this endeavor. (formerly Organismal Biology)

Nature/Culture/History (Farnham, Savoy, Schwartz)
The Nature/Culture/History concentration allows students to explore the changing relationships between human beings and the natural world through time, using the perspectives and tools of the humanities (such as history, ethics, literature, or creative writing). Major aspects of study could include the effects of shifting cultural conceptions of nature on environmental change, how environments affect human communities, and how environments are shaped through cultural and historical change. By integrating different perspectives, students also consider the meanings and representations of "environment" in language and culture

Senior Seminar

ES majors must take ENVST 390 (Senior Seminar) in the fall of their senior year.

Environmental Studies Minor

The minor requires a minimum of 20 credits, beginning with Environmental Studies 100, Introduction to Environmental Studies. Minors take at least 16 credits above the 100 level, including one 300-level course.

The ES Minor is a 5-course, 20-credit course of study. All students must take ENVST 100 (Introduction to Environmental Studies) and four additional courses at the 200- or 300-level related to Environmental Studies (one 300-level course is required). Two of these courses must be in the Natural Sciences (Group A), and two must be in the Social Sciences/ Humanities (Group B). Courses in the same department as the student’s major may not be counted towards the minor in Environmental Studies.