Dec 07, 2023  
2023 - 2024 College Catalog 
2023 - 2024 College Catalog

Environmental Studies, BA

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View Environmental Studies Program website

Environmental studies is broadly defined as the study of nature, including the relationship of humans to the rest of the natural world. Presently, human activities are altering the life systems of our home planet. Climate change, species extinction, atmospheric pollution and loss of ancient forests are common knowledge, as is 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 environmental studies major and minor are two-fold: 1) to help students achieve cross-disciplinary perspectives on the environment, and 2) 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.

To complete a major or minor in environmental studies, a student must satisfy the following requirements designed to establish the breadth and depth of knowledge consistent with the goals of the environmental studies study area.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain core concepts in the natural sciences underlying major environmental issues
  • Explain policy aspects of major environmental issues using the lens of anthropology, sociology or economics
  • Explain major environmental issues using the lens of history, philosophy, religious studies, the arts, or literature
  • Interpret environmentally related quantitative information
  • Communicate environmental ideas effectively in writing and oral presentation
  • Construct a well-supported argument or creative work about environmental issues
  • Integrate classroom and co-curricular learning related to civic engagement and environmental stewardship

Degree Requirements

General College Requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Environmental Studies, a student must satisfy the General College Requirements (see “Curriculum ” section), including the following requirements to satisfy the major:

Foundational Course Requirements

Students must complete each of the following four requirements:

Toolkit Requirement

Students must complete one of the following Toolkit Courses:

Application Requirement

Students must complete one of the following:

Depth Requirements

Students choose one track to fulfill their depth requirement to provide significant expertise in a focused area. There are three available tracks: Environmental Science; Environmental Policy and Social Science; and Environmental Arts and Humanities. Depth requirements can be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

  • 16 ENST or ENST cross-listed credits, all within a single ENST track; eight (8) credits of which must be at the 300-400 level


  • Successful completion of an additional Major AND 8 credits must be ENST or ENST cross-listed credits within ENST depth track

Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirement: Eight (8) Credits of ENST or ENST Cross-Listed Courses consisting of four (4) credits from each of the two tracks not used to fulfill the depth requirement.

ENST Seminar Requirement

Students must complete ENST 490 - Environmental Studies Junior Seminar *

*Should be taken in the junior year prior to enrolling in the capstone experience.

Capstone Requirement

The capstone experience must consist of 8 credit hours, a student can satisfy it one of the following ways:

Credit Requirements

* See the SMCM Catalog for additional information on major credit count, courses offered, and other information on major.

  • A minimum of 59 credits is required to fulfill the major.
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or better, and maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 or better, in courses used to satisfy the major.

Environmental Tracks

The following courses, as well as other identified, occasional, ENST cross-listed course offerings, can be used to satisfy the elective requirements of the major and minor:

Environmental Arts and Humanities Track

Summary of Environmental Studies Major Requirements

  • Credit Hours: 4
  • Science Requirement
  • Environmental Science Track
  • Elective Requirement
  • Environmental Policy/Social Science Track Elective Requirement
  • Environmental Humanities Track Elective Requirement
  • Additional Elective Requirement

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