The Environmental Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary minor designed to help students acquire an understanding of the complex issues and concerns associated with the environment. Building on courses in a variety of departments in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, the Environmental Studies Program minor offers a coherent curriculum addressing some of the most pressing ecological, political, economic, social, and ethical programs of the contemporary world.
Students who minor in Environmental Studies will study issues such as: global climate change; resource management, including excessive consumption and the just distribution of resources; genetically modified crops and organisms; biodiversity; wilderness preservation; pollution pressures on the land, air, and sea; sustainable development; the rights or value of non-human animals and nature; energy production; population and consumption; the role of the environment in local, national, and international politics; international agencies and treaties addressing environmental issues; and environmental justice.
The Environmental Studies Program and its curriculum is dedicated to fostering a genuine spirit of interdisciplinary exchange, across both traditional disciplinary as well as college definitions. Faculty from a variety of departments, schools, and colleges may teach courses cross-listed in Environmental Studies, and students from across the University community will find an appropriate niche in the program through its intentionally interdisciplinary nature.
Environmental Studies Minor Student Learning Outcomes
Environmental Studies minor students will know:
- The primary environmental issues confronting humans in the 21st century (e.g., anthropogenic climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource consumption, peak oil, etc.).
- The fundamental science that frames and makes comprehensible current debates about environmental issues (e.g., the carbon cycle)
- How to assess and grasp the moral and ethical significance of environmental crises and the possible responses to those crises using multiple approaches or frames (e.g., utilitarian, deontological, intrinsic value, virtue theory, pragmatic, etc.)
- The practical challenges (e.g., political, economic, etc.) associated with various possible responses to environmental crises.
Environmental Studies minor students will be able to:
- Apply diverse perspectives and methodologies (ways) of addressing environmental questions (e.g., philosophical, economic, scientific, political, theological, etc.), transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries in favor of a more holistic perspective
- Apply the knowledge and analytic skills they have acquired in the course of their studies to real-world issues, bridging the supposed gap between theory and practice
- Demonstrate the ability to write, speak, and think clearly and critically about the issues studied in the minor.
Environmental Studies minor students will value:
- The diverse perspectives and values (e.g., political, cultural, religous, etc.) amongst the various stakeholders in environmental challenges
- The importance of good science in framing environmental questions
- The role of both a) personal transformation (e.g., lifestyle choices, consumptive dispositions, etc.) and b) social transformation (e.g., community involvement, political action, addressing environmental justice and environmental racism, etc.) in any response to environmental challenges.