The environmental studies major will provide students with an educational specialty grounded in the subjects and issues related to the natural environment and the relationship of the human being to the natural environment.
Students study the built and natural environment, learn about human views and interactions with nature, and examine ways that politics, economics, the sciences, history, ethics, and philosophy influence human behavior in the natural world.
The major offers the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary inquiry, integrating knowledge across the natural sciences, behavioral sciences, and humanities. The major develops analytical tools and skills for understanding the environment, while emphasizing the role of beliefs, values, and ethics in shaping human behavior.
The goal of the Master’s degree in environmental studies is to train students to become proficient in the natural and physical sciences, as well as to be aware of social and cultural influences upon environmental problems facing society today. In addition to introductory social science courses, the degree preparation requires a full year of introductory biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus. The upper-division and outside concentration, while still interdisciplinary and flexible, limit the number of social science and humanities courses a student may take. The majority of environmental studies electives, as well as the outside concentration, are restricted to physical and natural science disciplines.
The Environmental Studies Program strongly encourages its students to participate in experiential elective courses such as the Environmental Studies Internship Program, study abroad programs, or any other academic opportunities which enhance their environmental education. The environmental studies curriculum has a number of special courses which allow students to conduct independent research projects, work as a research assistant for one of its faculty members, or pursue a senior thesis on a topic of their choice. Approximately one-half to two-thirds of all environmental studies majors complete at least one environmental field studies or study abroad program before graduating.