Environment and Sustainability Major

Broadly stated, the goal of the Environment and Sustainability major is to prepare students to analyze and address complex environmental issues from a variety of perspectives. Because all environmental systems are connected, issues such as climate change, land use, sustainable development, pollution, human and ecosystem health, and sustainable energy, food, and water systems cannot be studied in isolation. Facing these challenges requires basic knowledge in a variety of disciplines including the natural sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Through a core of common coursework, students develop a foundation in both science and policy. A focus on place-based study and the integration of knowledge across disciplines allows for creative examination of real-world problems on local, regional, national, and international levels.

Administered chiefly through a steering committee chaired by Deborah McGrath.

The Environment and Sustainability major requires 11 courses, including

(1) three common core courses, (2) a course in Environmental Economics, together with two Environmental Policy courses, (3) one foundational science course, (4) one course in Research Methods, and (5) a thematically focused grouping of three courses (Foci).

1. Core Courses: All Environment and Sustainability majors must complete the following three courses:
   ENST 101 Introduction to Environmental Studies
   ENST 320 Environment and Sustainability Colloquium 
   ENST 421 Environment and Sustainability Capstone

2. Environmental Economics and Policy
   The following course must be completed:
   ECON 335 Environmental Economics (Prereq: ECON 101) 

   Two of the following must be completed:
    ECON 381 The Political Economy of Sustainable Development (also listed as POLS 381)
    ENST 334 Environmental Policy and Law 
    ENST 336 Environmental Land-use Policy 
    FORS 270 Water Resource Policy and Law
    POLS 260 Political Theory of the Environment
    POLS 382 International Environmental Policy 
    ENST 332 Archaeological Resource Management and Policy

3. Foundational Science:
     A 200-level course (or higher) in Biology, Forestry and Geology, Chemistry or Physics. 
     ENST 240 (Island Ecology) may also be used to satisfy this requirement.

4. Research Methods: One of the following must be completed: 
    CHEM 211 Chemical Methods of Environmental Analysis (new title; Prereq: CHEM 120)
    ENST 217 Fundamentals of GIS
    ENST 340 Tools for Environmental Policy Analysis
    ENST 341 Environmental Data Analysis
    STATS 204 Elementary Statistics

5. Student-Designed Focus Topic Three courses must be completed to fulfill the designated focus topic.
Students design their own focus in collaboration with their advisor and two faculty members participating in the program (or two participating faculty if one is their advisor). This focus must contain three courses from a minimum of two departments (preferably three) that have a central theme related to the student’s senior capstone project. Courses listed above under Environmental Economics and Policy but not selected to fulfill the requirement, may be applied toward a focus. An appropriate special topics course or independent study (ENST 444) may also be used to satisfy one of the foci requirements. The Environment and Sustainability steering committee must approve each self-designed focus prior to the end of the second semester of the junior year. The ultimate goal of the foci is to provide students with a cohesive interdisciplinary experience while preparing them to complete capstone projects, in collaboration with faculty mentors, that offer substantial research potential.

Questions? Please contact the E&S Steering Committee Chair Dr. Deborah McGrath (