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Environmental Studies Major

The environmental studies major develops a common core of knowledge through extensive interdepartmental coursework, complemented by a concentration in a specific area in either the environmental humanities, sciences, or social sciences. The student may elect one of 10 areas of concentration — anthropology, art, biology, chemistry, economics, geology, humanities, physics, politics, sociology, or an individually planned major (psychology, for example) in the environmental studies major.

The Core Environmental Studies Requirements link below outlines the courses required of all Environmental Studies majors.

The Environmental Studies Combined Major Requirements link leads to each of the individual combined majors listed above. 

Courses are based on the 2022-2023 college catalog.

The following course of study is required of all environmental studies majors. Students earn a minimum of 25 credits in Environmental Studies (including foundation courses), and combine these credits with an area concentration. No more than eight transfer credits may be applied to the Environmental Studies requirements. Semester in the West and Whitman in the Wallowas are programs run by Whitman College and count as credit earned on campus. Courses taken P-D-F may not be used to satisfy requirements for the environmental studies major.

Introductory coursework:

Take the following courses:

Environmental Studies 120 Introduction to Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies 207 Methods of Environmental Analysis

Foundation coursework:

Satisfy requirements in the two areas listed below that are outside the area of your declared Environmental Studies major. Course substitutions for foundation area courses must be approved by the Environmental Studies Committee.

Humanities area coursework:

Take a minimum of two of the following:

Art History and Visual Culture Studies 226/Classics 319/Environmental Studies 319 Landscape and Cityscape in Ancient Rome
Art History and Visual Culture Studies 352 Art/Environment
Environmental Studies 202: Animals and Animality in Greek and Roman Culture
Environmental Studies 205 /Classics 205 Women and Nature in the Ancient World
Classics 217/Environmental Studies 217 Classical Foundations of the Nature Writing
Classics 226 / Environmental Studies 226 Conceptions of Nature in Greek and Roman Thought
Environmental Studies 230 The Cultural and Literary Life of Rivers
Environmental Studies 235 The Pastoral, the Wild, and the Commons
Environmental Studies 247 The Literature of Nature
Environmental Studies 302/German Studies 301 ST: Moles, Memoirs and Metamorphosis: Animals and Text
Environmental Studies 308 (Re)Thinking Environment
Environmental Studies 335 / German Studies 335 Romantic Nature
Environmental Studies 339 / German Studies 339 Writing Environmental Disaster
Environmental Studies 340 Environmental Radicals in Literature
Environmental Studies 347 The Nature Essay
Environmental Studies 349 Regional Literatures of Place: The West and the South
Environmental Studies 358 Ecocriticism
Environmental Studies 360 Environmental Writing and the American West*
Environmental Studies 365 Other Earths: Environmental Change and Speculative Fiction
Geology 338 Pages of Stone: The Literature of Geology
Philosophy 120 Environmental Ethics

Philosophy 208 Food: What’s for Dinner?
Philosophy 227/Environmental Studies 227 Concepts of Nature in Modern European Philosophy
Philosophy 262 Animals and Philosophy
Global Literature 328 Haiku and Nature in Japan

* Offered only to students admitted to Semester in the West

Natural/physical science area coursework:

Take a minimum of two of the following courses from different departments, including at least one course with a laboratory:

Biology 114 Tree Biology
Biology 115 Regional Natural History
Biology 118 Agroecology
Biology 130 Conservation Biology

Biology 177 Ecology of the American West*
Chemistry 100 Introduction to Environmental Chemistry
Geology 125 and 126 Environmental Geology with Lab
Geology 229 Geology and Ecology of Soils
Physics 105 Energy and the Environment

* Offered only to students admitted to Semester in the West

Social science area coursework:

Take a minimum of two of the following courses from different departments:

Economics 100 Principles of Microeconomics and the Environment
Environmental Studies 313 Communism, Socialism and the Environment
History 155 Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral: Natural Resources in Global Environmental History
History 205 East Asian Environmental History
History 206 European Environmental History to 1800
History 231 Oceans Past and Future: Introduction to Marine Environmental History
History 232 Changing Landscapes: Introduction to Terrestrial Environmental History
History 262 People, Nature, Technology: Built and Natural Environments in U.S. History
History 263 From Farm to Fork: Slow Food, Fast Food, and European Foodways
History 335 Pacific Whaling History
Politics 119 Whitman in the Global Food System
Politics 124 Introduction to Politics and the Environment
Politics 228 Political Ecology
Politics 287 Natural Resource Policy and Management
Politics 309 Environment and Politics in the American West*
Politics 339 Nature, Culture, Politics
Sociology 229 Environmental Sociology

* Offered only to students admitted to Semester in the West

Interdisciplinary Course Requirement:

Environmental Studies 259 Culture, Environment and Development in the Andes
Environmental Studies 305 Water in the West
Environmental Studies 306 Culture, Politics, Ecology
Environmental Studies 307/History 307 Beastly Modernity: Animals in the 19th Century
Environmental Studies 314 Art and the Anthropocene
Environmental Studies 322 Anthropocene
Environmental Studies 327 Biodiversity
Environmental Studies 329 Environmental Health
Environmental Studies 353 Environmental Justice
Environmental Studies 362 The Cultural Politics of Science
Environmental Studies 408 Western Epiphanies: Integrated Project*
Environmental Studies 459 Interdisciplinary Fieldwork

* Offered only to students admitted to Semester in the West

Senior coursework:

Take Environmental Studies 479 Environmental Citizenship and Leadership

Additional senior year requirements vary by combined major. For majors where a thesis is required, students must complete an interdisciplinary research project with a grade of C- or better. In addition, all environmental studies majors must pass an oral examination within their area or department of concentration. For majors that do not require a senior thesis, or if a student’s senior thesis is deemed insufficiently interdisciplinary by the Environmental Studies Committee, an oral examination in Environmental Studies also is required.

Environmental studies majors are encouraged to study for a semester or a year in a program with strong environmental relevance. Particularly appropriate are Whitman College’s field program in environmental studies, Semester in the West; and the School for Field Studies. See Special Programs section in this catalog. Also, consider the University of Montana’s Northwest Connections Field Semester.

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