The Connecticut College environmental studies major ranks as one of the oldest in the country, founded as the "human ecology" major in 1968 by two long-time faculty members and nationally renowned ecologists, Richard H. Goodwin and William A. Niering. The College honors both with its Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment.
The environmental studies program is strongly interdisciplinary and includes over 20 participating faculty from 10 academic departments. You can choose from two tracks: one natural science-based, the other with a strong social science perspective.
The environmental studies major is part of a College commitment to conservation and sustainability. In 1999, the College became the first in the nation to sponsor a carbon offset program. Today we purchase a portion of our energy needs from renewable sources. As a student on campus you 'll have several ways to participate, among them joining the Energy Conservation Club or helping out in the College's organic garden, Sprout.
Whether in the classroom, laboratory or field, our faculty will push you to tackle issues from multiple perspectives. For example, you might take classes on freshwater ecology and hydrology and then devise a research project to examine restoration efforts in a local river, lake or wetland. Or, you may take a course on environmental policy in the Southwest along with a class examining the region's ecology and geology.
Every two years the Goodwin-Niering Center sponsors a highly interdisciplinary conference focused on a particular environmental issue. Recent conferences focused on "Feeding the Future," "The Quest for Global Environmental Equity in an Increasingly Inequitable World," "Biological Diversity," "Acid and the Environment," "Our Changing Coastline," "Water Scarcity and Conflict" and "Smart Growth? Environmental and Social Implications."
Many of our students participate in research with faculty during both the academic year and summer, with students often presenting their work at national and international symposia and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
Our graduates are in strong demand in industry, government and consulting and many pursue advanced degrees in numerous environmental fields.
Please plan a visit, but be warned that if you do, you will probably end up deciding to stay for four years! We hope that you will.