The Environmental Studies Program (ENVS) is based upon a central concern for the long-term health and well being of the planet and its inhabitants—sustainability in the broadest sense of the term—and a commitment to thoughtful and well-informed action well-designed to protect and promote that state of health and well being.
The Environmental Studies Program was founded in 1972 and requires a double major, environmental studies, plus a disciplinary major of the student's choice from any college of the University. The ENVS courses have been developed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty with input from outside professionals to ensure students the greatest continuity, depth, and integration in their learning experiences.
The ENVS core curriculum embraces the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues through a combined scientific, social and humanistic approach to undergraduate scholarship. The curriculum consists of a set of core themes, or domains, that are key aspects of a modern environmental education:
Students may enter the ENVS curriculum through any of several different introductory courses, reflecting the many disciplines underpinning environmental study. Students follow a progression of coursework, in concert with their second major, that promotes a balanced and sophisticated appreciation of environmental issues, from a combined physical science, social science, and humanities perspective.
Students must take at least one course from each of the principle domains. Some domains may have only one option at present, but each domain is flexible and intellectually adaptive, and the ENVS faculty may include new courses, or appropriate topic courses, as substitutes as they become available.
At the advanced level, undergraduates are encouraged toward an interdisciplinary synthesis of knowledge and experience through a series of individually-selected, approved courses that emphasize practical training in research methods and applications, and through a senior capstone course. The senior seminar brings together ENVS undergraduates from diverse collateral majors, who work together as teams to address and grapple with real, complex environmental issues beyond the classroom.