The Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS) program is an interdisciplinary program that recognizes that the need to understand, respond to, and redirect the impacts of human activity on the natural systems of the planet is immediate and unprecedented. Current and future generations of students will be faced with the challenge to re-think, re-design and re-create how humans make use of all natural resource based systems on earth. The driving force behind the ESS Degree Program is to educate our students to meet these challenges and prepare them to succeed in the emerging green economy through experiential learning, which involves connecting coursework to the larger world.
The ESS major focuses upon how scientific, cultural, economic, and political ideas shape our behavior toward the natural environment, and how the natural environment in turn affects society. The curriculum is truly interdisciplinary, weaving together courses in environmental science and policy, the social sciences and the humanities, business and engineering. In this way, students explore human connections to the natural world, ethics and values, how natural systems function, technological and economic relationships to sustainability, how to motivate environmentally sustainable behavior, and effective pedagogical strategies for integrating sustainability.
The ESS curriculum is designed to emphasize experiential learning, with many of the courses cultivating particular skills students will find helpful in developing solutions to environmental problems. Students will develop competencies in a variety of approaches to sustainability while also building a focus in a more specialized domain. Internships and the Senior Project encourage students to utilize these competencies in the community. There are also opportunities for independent research, service, and international study.
The curriculum is designed to be rigorous yet flexible, requiring a set of core courses but allowing students to pursue their own interests within the broader world of environmental studies.
All ESS majors are strongly encouraged to pursue either a second major or a minor within a field related to the major, for example, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, Education, Civil Engineering, Social Justice, etc.