Majoring in Environmental Studies
Our program is one of the first in the United States, 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 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.