Selecting Courses

For those enrolling in or after 2019, the major in Environmental Studies requires 44 credits of introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses. The requirements at the intermediate (200) level include courses from the natural sciences (Group A) and the social sciences and humanities (Group B). Through minors, students can chose several pathways that will prepair them for more tailored and specialized career paths. Those enrolling prior to 2019 could chose from seven concentrations with additional 200- and 300-level course requirements. Those who have already selected concentrations will be grandfathered into the new program structure. The lists of core courses approved for the major and minor (major/minor requirements) are available on the website and at the department office located at Clapp 302.

In addition to courses in the Environmental Studies Department, many of the courses for the major and minor are offered by other departments at Mount Holyoke. Students may also take courses within the Five Colleges, at other colleges and universities, and through accredited field studies programs around the world. Generally, one 200-level and two 300-level courses may be taken off-campus (study abroad, five colleges, etc.). Up to two additional 200- or 300-level courses may be taken within the Five Colleges. Appropriate courses taken off-campus may be counted toward the major or minor with the approval of the environmental studies advisor or department chair.

Selecting Initial Courses

Students interested in environmental issues should register for Introduction to Environmental Studies (Environmental Studies 100) during their first year. This course is required for both the major and the minor in environmental studies and provides a broad overview of the field. It also gives students a good sense of how to continue their studies in the environmental field.

Other courses that are very useful for first-year students include Biology 145, Chemistry 101, Geology 105, Geography 107, Geology 103, Geology 107, Physics 100, Physics 104, Physics 110, and Statistics 140.

A 100-level science course with lab is a required prerequisite for the 200-level science courses that environmental studies majors and minors must take as Group A core courses. A course in statistics—either Statistics 140, 240, 241 or 242, or Economics 220, or Biological Sciences 234 (depending on one’s concentration within the major) -- is also a requirement of the major, though its credits are not counted towards the credit requirements of the major.

Intermediate Courses

Intermediate courses for the major and minor should be chosen from the list of courses approved by the environmental studies faculty. Other courses may be counted toward this requirement with the approval of environmental studies advisor.

All students must take two courses from Group A and three courses from Group B (see major requirements checklist for comprehensive lists of Group A and Group B courses). In Group A, one of the courses must be ENVST 200, Environmental Science, or BIOL 223 Ecology, or GEOL 203 Surface Processes. (Note the two-course requirement in Group A can be met by taking two of these required courses.) In Group B, one of the courses must be ECON 203 Environmental Economics, ENVST 210 Political Ecology, or ENVST 241 Environmental Issues, and ONE must be an approved humanities course. Other recommended intermediate courses: BIOL 234 (Biostatistics), CHEM 201 (General Chemistry II), ECON 220 (Introduction to Econometrics), STAT 240 (Elementary Data Analysis and Experimental Design), STAT 241 (Applied Statistical Modeling and Data Visualization), STAT 242 (Intermediate Statistics). 

Advanced Courses

All majors must complete Environmental Studies 390 senior seminar, and complete the other 300-level requirements required by their concentration. Independent study (Environmental Studies 395) may be substituted for one of the required advanced courses, with approval of advisor.