Note: Updates on our new major and revised minor in Environmental Studies coming soon. Please revisit our website soon for exciting news, information, and resources.
Environmental Studies is broadly defined as the study of nature, including the relation of humans to the rest of the natural world.
Presently, human activities are altering the life systems of our home planet.
- Species extinction
- Atmospheric pollution
- Loss of ancient forests
- The planetary impact of human populations and consumption habits
These problems have a biological basis that requires the application of the scientific method to understand them, to discern cause and effects, and to pose scientifically tenable solutions. However, concern for and stewardship of the planet is not solely the purview of the scientist.
Our understanding of these issues is impossible without social, cultural, political, ethical, and economic considerations. The work of understanding these trends and forming alternate visions for the future draws upon ideas, information, and insight from disciplines across the curriculum as well as from co-curricular activities.
The goals of the minor are two-fold:
- To achieve cross-disciplinary perspectives on environmental studies
- To create a community of concern among students and faculty who participate in the study area, a community that encourages learning how to act as well as to understand. Even if no environmental problems existed, students and faculty would study how natural systems function, how the arts and social studies reveal connections between humanity and nature, and how the environment has nurtured philosophical and religious ideas about the place of humans in the universe.
Courses offered through the Environmental Studies program invite students to expand their understanding of the environment beyond the confines of one discipline. While pursuing the minor, students enroll in environmentally-focused classes from several disciplines to encourage developing that breadth of knowledge. An ecological Biology is one requirement, but electives range from Poetry and Science to Biological Anthropology to GIS Applications to Natural Resource Economics.