Prospective Students

What is the Restoration Ecology Program?

REP is an interdisciplinary program that draws from majors across campus. REP students have studied the arts, languages, business, psychology, and environmental studies. What unites this diverse group is that every REP student shares a concern for environmental and social issues – our students are looking for meaningful ways to engage with the world, and REP gives them an opportunity to pursue real-world solutions to real-world problems.

The REP is bridging the gap from being consumers of information to producers of information. We are de-mystifying what it is to be a doer

Program philosophy

Integrating science, practice, and social dimensions in restoration

  • Our practice decisions are informed by the ecological theories that help us understand ecosystem development and function

  • We view restoration practice as an acid test for our science and understanding of ecosystems

  • We believe in using restored sites to inform science and improve future restoration projects

  • We approach the science and practice of restoration as mutually informing

  • We study social dimensions of restoration projects around the world, and consider these dimensions central to our work here on campus

  • We do all of this by involving students and community members in real world projects with tangible impacts

Why study restoration at Mount Holyoke College?

This is the only program of its kind where students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines can use their liberal arts training to work with each other in groups on real restoration projects, developing tangible skills and individual expertise they can then apply to whatever they do next.

The REP instills critical thinking, problem solving, group work, and the ability to carry out projects from beginning to end as lifelong habits.

We know of no other campus that makes use of its natural setting as a campus field station as MHC does. We are uniquely positioned to take advantage of our rural location and our on-campus forest, lakes, and streams. Rather than driving long-distances to our field station, we walk outside our classes and are surrounded by it.

Restoration Ecology Course
(ES 316)

ES 316 is the core course that introduces students to the science, practice, and social dimensions of restoration. Students in Mount Holyoke’s Restoration Ecology course study ecological principles, visit completed restoration projects, meet with professionals in the field, and contribute to real campus restoration projects. Students in previous iterations of the course identified and researched the site for the Project Stream wetland restoration project and have developed monitoring protocols for a suite of properties at the site. As a direct result of their work, restoration action began in Summer 2015 to construct over 5000 square feet of new wetland, remove invasive species in the existing Project Stream wetland, and install an outdoor classroom for use by future students and community members.

Research and internship opportunities

The REP offers students a wide variety of ways to get involved in undergraduate research and pursue unique internship opportunities. Each summer, the REP connects students with paid restoration-based research positions and internships, both on-campus, and at partner organizations around the world! Students have worked at restoration sites near Cape Cod, in Washington state, and in Costa Rica, and we are always working to develop new opportunities to match students with cutting edge projects.

REP students also present research at professional and academic conferences, and take part in volunteer work on local restoration efforts.

After college: curriculum to career

Career opportunities in restoration ecology and practice are extremely varied, but all demand experience in carrying out original projects, critical thinking, problem solving, and group work. Numerous REP students have said that their experience working on a real project with real consequences was one of their most inspiring, empowering, and educational experiences, and were told by reviewers that it was helpful when interviewing for jobs and writing graduate school applications.

After graduating, REP students have gone on to study restoration in graduate school and to work on restoration projects around the country and around the world. Countless ongoing and planned restoration efforts are taking place internationally, especially in developing countries where communities seek to improve grazing land, agroforestry opportunities, and water availability through restoration of local habitats.

Bottom line: students trained in Restoration Ecology use what they learn in the program to develop ways to take care of what they love.

Get in touch!

For questions or for more information about the Restoration Ecology Program, please contact us:

Restoration Ecology Program
Mount Holyoke College
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075


Phone: Julianne Busa, Program Coordinator 413.538.3611

Mount Holyoke College Admissions