Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Environmental Studies students…

  • See how environmental problems require an interdisciplinary approach and global perspective
  • Develop primary research skills from field studies
  • Gain insights into environmental issues and problems from a non-U.S. perspective
  • Help students see the connection between community, place and environment
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Environmental Studies department?

  • Field study programs with opportunities to engage in research with the local community
  • Interdisciplinary field experiences

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Environmental Studies prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • During off-campus studies students gain research and learning opportunities in a global context
  • First-hand experience with the complexity of environmental issues
  • Exposure to on-the-ground career work in conservation and environmental management

Which requirements can Environmental Studies majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Specific courses in the major such as ENVS 459 Interdisciplinary Fieldwork or general ES foundation requirements
  • General Studies distribution requirements
  • General degree credit

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the Environmental Studies Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • First-year students should take ENVS 120 Introduction to Environmental Studies.
  • Second-year students should take ENVS 207 Methods of Environmental Analysis and as many ENVS requirements as possible in order to have more flexibility for off-campus studies.
  • For planning tips related to your specific field of concentration, please refer to the Advising Sheet for that major (e.g. ES-Biology majors should refer to the OCS Advising Sheet for Biology for tips about the biology side of the major).

Credit Limitations

The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Environmental Studies major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) is 8 credits in ES courses with the approval of your major adviser.  For credit limits in the courses for your particular area of concentration (e.g. politics, biology), please consult with your major adviser.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Environmental Studies Department?

The following programs all fulfill the interdisciplinary course requirement for the ES major with the exception of the DIS program.  For SFS and CIEE programs, the Directed Research course fulfills the requirement.  For SIT programs, the Independent Study Project course fulfills the interdisciplinary requirement.

  • CIEE Thailand: Development and Globalization (Khon Kaen)
  • SIT Australia:  Sustainability and Environmental Action (Byron Bay)
  • SFS Australia:  Center for Rainforest Studies (Queensland)
  • SIT Brazil:  Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology (Belem)
  • CIEE Costa Rica:  Tropical Ecology and Conservation (Monteverde)
  • SFS Costa Rica:  Sustainable Development Studies (Atenas)
  • DIS Denmark Institute for Study Abroad (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • SIT Ecuador:  Comparative Ecology and Conservation (Quito)
  • IES Freiburg:  Environmental Studies and Sustainability (Germany)
  • SIT India:  Sustainable Development and Social Change (Jaipur)
  • SFS Kenya/Tanzania:  Center for Wildlife Management Studies
  • SIT Madagascar:  Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management (Fort Dauphin)
  • SFS Panama:  Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation Studies
  • SFS Turks & Caicos Islands: Center for Marine Resource Studies (Caribbean)
  • AU Washington DC Semester for the International Environment and Development track (USA)
  • SeaSemester (Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA)

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.