Program Description

The nationally-popular interdisciplinary field of Environmental Studies is premised on the idea that nature and culture are inextricably linked. Nature provides the context in which "culture" is constructed, and culture acts as a lens through which humans define "nature."

Environmental Studies challenges students to examine both the ecological and social underpinnings of environmental issues and the complex interplay between natural and social systems, from local to global scales. Since humans are integral parts of ecological systems, an understanding of the biosphere must include studies in both the humanities and natural science. Knowledge of the structure and function of natural systems is crucial, as well as an understanding of the ways culture affects the way we perceive nature. Thus, a degree in Environmental Studies is not a degree in Environmental Science nor Environmental Technology, but is inherently a liberal arts degree useful for students seeking academic or professional paths in public policy on the environment.

Because environmental issues transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, the structure and content of the Environmental Studies curriculum emphasizes transdisciplinary thinking. Classroom activities and field studies allow students to engage in real world issues. The curriculum is designed to sharpen critical thinking and problem solving skills by encouraging students to translate theory and classroom learning into practice.

The Environmental Studies faculty is a highly-credentialed group with a wide variety of research and teaching experience sharing a common interest in exploring the relationship of nature and culture.