Majoring in Environmental Studies
Our program is one of the first in the U.S., founded in 1968 by nationally known ecologists and long-time faculty members William A. Niering and Richard H. Goodwin. The program is part of a College-wide commitment to conservation and sustainability. As a major, you choose from two tracks – one focused on natural science, the other on social science. Your professors are your instructors, advisers and mentors, and they push you to tackle issues from multiple perspectives. For example, you might take an environmental policy course focused on a particular area of the world, along with a class on the region's ecology, geology and plant life. Many students enroll in a semester-long immersion program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. You can also serve on the Environmental Model Committee, join an environmental club, work in the College's organic garden and get involved in numerous sustainability initiatives.
You have many research opportunities with faculty from any of 10 departments. Many students do summer internships with faculty, write peer-reviewed articles and travel with them to conferences or symposia. Others complete College-funded internships off campus. You may also apply to one of the College's five centers for interdisciplinary scholarship. Students in the Goodwin-Niering Center have interned at sites as varied as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Boston and organic farms in Costa Rica and Panama.
Our equipment and facilities include transmission and scanning electron microscopes, light microscopes, an extensive greenhouse, water quality instruments and a hydraulic flume that models stream and river hydrodynamics. Classes and research take full advantage of the College's Arboretum, including areas established for long-term study of vegetation change. Our freshwater ecology lab maintains interactive data on lakes in the northeastern U.S. as well as tools to identify microscopic algae.
What can you do with a majorcertificate in Environmental Studies?
Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:
Environmental studies, dance
Q: Why Connecticut College?
A: I wanted to pursue my interests in both environmental studies and dance, and was drawn by each of those programs here.
Q: What is it like to be an environmental studies major at Connecticut College?
A: The program is high-quality because students on both the natural and social science tracks are required to take a broad range of courses. I am on the social science track and have taken chemistry, botany and ecology courses. All contributed substantially to my understanding of environmental issues and gave me the skills for research, internships and career opportunities.
Q: Did you study abroad?
A: I went to Chile the spring semester of my junior year to study its social, economic, political and educational systems. The last half of the program was dedicated to independent research. I investigated the Chilean national science curriculum and its effects on environmental awareness and consciousness of urban youth.
- Environmental Studies as a Natural Science
- Environmental Studies as a Social Science
- Environmental Activism and its Political Impact around the Globe
- U.S. Environmental Policy and Politics
- Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
- Freshwater Ecology
- Plant Ecology
- Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
- Coastal Dynamics of Southern New England
- Geologic Hazards and Humans
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Law, Science and the Environment
- Environmental Economics
- Thinking Philosophically about the Environment