Degrees and Certificates
Environmental Science: Bachelor of Science (B.S.),Bachelor of Science
Environmental Studies: Bachelor of Science (B.S.),Bachelor of Science
Environmental Studies Minor,Minor
In this course, students learn to take a whole systems approach to some of the interconnected social, economic and environmental issues that impact human quality of life on personal, regional and global levels. Students will examine some of the ecological and value-based drivers of these challenges. They will explore ways that the active integration of mindsets, practices and tools from multiple fields can leverage deeper understanding and more effective, broad-based solutions.
Through a 40-hour minimum internship, students gain professional experience in applying the skills and methods associated with a B.S. degree in environmental studies or environmental science. In addition to working at the internship site, students critically evaluate their site for sustainability practices and environmental impact, submitting weekly reports to their faculty sponsor that address these issues, among others. Students must follow the internship requirements developed by the staff of the Harrington Center for Experiential Learning. This internship opportunity does not satisfy the internship requirement for the majors (ENV485).
The third year is the defining characteristic of the environmental program. All students majoring in environmental studies and environmental science take ENV 301 and 302 for 12 total credits during the third year. In addition to traditional classroom and laboratory exercises students are immersed in an in-depth, yearlong analysis of a local environmental issue with detailed fieldwork and extended site visits. A new project is developed each year with a local community partner. A $50 lab fee will be charged.
In this course students learn the history and application as well as interpretation of environmental policy and law. Several of the most important federal environmental laws and acts are studied and a number of international agreements such as the Montreal and Kyoto protocols. Current environmental challenges are explored especially with respect to how they might be addressed using law and policy.
Permaculture is the study and practice of the way human beings as individuals and societies can participate in the creation of ethical and ecological support systems. This course will present a whole systems design approach that integrates plants, animals, buildings, people, communities and the landscapes that surround us. The course is designed to introduce students to the ethics, principles and practice of permaculture design through collaboration on real-world projects with an eye towards repairing, restoring and regenerating human ecosystems.
Extra fee for community members.
We eat food every day, but our choices have implications. A food system is the function of several forces and factors like history, laws, policy and economy. Not only does our personal wellbeing depend on food, but public health, poverty and community resilience are all related to food. This course will focus on the production, distribution and consumption of food - in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the topic and will look at food systems from multiple perspectives.
Marine Communities is a field course where the student will learn about and apply aspects of several disciplines including biology, ecology, geology, ornithology, as well as others. As we study these topics we will bring together a broader picture of understanding as we tie all of it in with socio-economic aspects unique to these communities. We will explore how humans both impact and have been impacted by marine communities as well as the responses to these impacts. We will use Martha’s Vineyard as a living classroom to gain a deeper understanding of these topics and venture to apply our understanding to other marine communities around the world. There is an additional fee for this course; please see course schedule for details.
This course utilizes a global framework to situate sustainability. Weaving environmental, developmental, cultural, historical, political, psychological, philosophical and economic perspectives to understand sustainability, we will investigate the complex nature of global crises now confronting humankind and the natural world. Working cooperatively, students will research and present global solution sets for these manifold problems. Students will address these complex global problems by acting locally and by working with a community partner on a local issue. Examples include food security, public health, personal wellbeing, biodiversity.
Soil and Water Chemistry is the application of chemical principles to the study of the geosphere and hydrosphere. Soil chemistry includes soil formation, solid and solution phase chemistry, ion exchange processes and soil nutrients. Water chemistry concentrates on chemical equilibrium, acid-base chemistry, oxidation-reduction reactions and chemical limnology. Students will build upon fundamentals gained in Principles of Chemistry and Water Resources, focusing on local soil and surface water resources. Students will perform standard analytical techniques in laboratory classes to assess soil and water samples, preparing them for careers in analytical labs and further graduate study. A $50 lab fee is charged.
This field-based course exposes students to the societal needs for water, such as potable urban use, agriculture and industry, as well as the need to sustain the biological functions of the river systems using the Colorado River system as a case study. Part of the field experience is a four-day raft trip on the river studying the geology, biology and historical artifacts. There is an additional fee for this course; please see course schedule for details. Participants in this course receive a grade of incomplete at the end of the spring semester. Final course grades are posted upon returning from the field component after the spring term has ended. Students should consider this as it may delay official graduation of seniors until the final grade is submitted.
The White Mountains region of New Hampshire is relatively small, has always been sparsely populated and is a difficult region to navigate. In this field study course we will look at issues relating to history, societies, cultures, business, ecology, politics and environmental impacts of the region, including its extensive alpine zone. The region is within a day’s drive to a quarter of the nation’s people, and as such, the land has been abused and overused in many areas. Today debates rage over proposed roadless areas, how much and where logging should occur, who should have access to certain areas and what activities should be permitted. In addition to our in-classroom study, we will travel to the region for a day trip and spend 4 days camping and hiking on Mt. Washington.
Tropical communities will explore the importance of earth’s most diverse ecosystem, coral reefs, on not only marine plant and animal biodiversity but also on the local and global economy and environment. We will investigate the impact of climate change, fishing, land-use practices, ocean acidification and pollution on these ecosystems. Students will build a foundation of knowledge on the biology, tropical ecology and geology of these marine ecosystems on an island. We will examine the culture, epidemiology and history of the island so as to develop an appreciation of the impacts marine ecosystems have on food, culture, people, health and climate both locally and globally. The course will conclude with a 10-day trip to an island during the January break. During the trip students will work in small groups to complete a unique research project.
This is a field study course to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Students apply ecological principles to the Sonoran Desert in order to understand how this region is similar and different to their own biome and to other deserts in the southwest. Students meet regularly before and after the trip and travel to Arizona during spring break. There is an additional fee for this course; please see course schedule for details.
The senior seminar is designed to facilitate the integration of conceptual and practical learning in Environmental Studies and Environmental Science and serve as a transition between college and career. The seminar will focus on professionalism, lessons learned from the ENV485 internship experience and career building practices. It is an opportunity to learn from professionals in the field and practice presentation and interview skills. A mock job interview, an internship presentation and various professional writing and reporting assignments are required.
Through a 160-hour minimum internship experience, students gain professional experience in applying the skills and methods associated with a B.S. degree in environmental studies or environmental science. In addition to working at the internship site, students critically evaluate their site for sustainability practices and environmental impact, submitting weekly reports to their faculty sponsor that address these issues, among others. Students must follow the internship requirements developed by the staff of the Harrington Center for Experiential Learning.
This independent research project is completed in an area relevant to the study of environmental studies and sciences. Students learn to develop a research question, become familiar with quantitative and qualitative research methods and write a literature review and a research proposal. Class sessions are discussion based as students apply the readings to the development of their research question and proposal.
The final component of the major is an independent research project. In consultation with faculty member students identify a topic, complete a literature review, determine research and analytical methodologies, prepare a proposal, conduct research and analysis and present their findings in a final written report and an oral presentation. This course also addresses professional development following graduation.