Major & Minor

Walden Pond, Concord MA


Environmental Studies is a particular way of thinking, conducting research, and posing questions.

We recognize that knowledge of societies, the environment, and the complex and multifaceted relationship they share, emerges from a wide range of disciplines, including the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. An environmental studies major or minor aims to provide students with critical skills that will allow them to engage current environmental issues and prepare to recognize future ones.

Central to this goal is helping students develop independent critical thinking, problem framing, and problem solving skills across disciplines and cultures with which they can diagnose and prioritize a wide range of environmental issues, from the local to the international, from the most pressing to the most long-term. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues, the program draws upon courses from multiple departments. Each student will choose electives in consultation with her advisor to help focus her studies on an issue or approach that interests her.

Requirements for the Environmental Studies Major

There are four components to the 10-course major:

 

1. Two introductory courses, which may be taken in any order:

  • Science: ES 101: Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Laboratory
  • Interdisciplinary: ES 102 or ES 103 

2. One 200-level core course in each of these categories:

  • Science: ES 201 or ES 220 or BISC 201
  • Social Science: ES 214 or ES/ECON 228 (which requires ECON 101 as a prerequisite)
  • Humanities: ES 203 or ES 299 or PHIL 233 or or [ES 207] or [ES 215]

3. Four electives from ES courses and the list of Courses for Credit Toward the Major, at least two of which must be at the 300 level. (Students are encouraged to take more than four electives).

4. One capstone course: ES 300 or ES 399

Note that ES 102, ES 103, ES 201, ES 203, [ES 207], ES 214, [ES 215], ES 220, ES 299, ES 399, BISC 201, ES/ECON 228 and PHIL 233 can be taken as electives (but no single course can fulfill two requirements for the major). Two partial credit courses may be combined to count towards a single elective.

A student may petition to count a course not listed in the Courses for Credit Toward the Major list. Students should contact the Director for approval, and the Director will use her/his discretion in seeking guidance from the ES Advisory Faculty.

Courses from Away

Students may count no more than three courses taken away from Wellesley towards the environmental studies major. These courses should be approved by the Director prior to enrollment. AP credit in Environmental Science cannot be used to replace any Environmental Studies requirements.
 

Individual Study

ES 250 or ES 350 (Research or Individual Study) can be advised by any member of the advisory faculty in Environmental Studies. A partial unit course may only count as credit toward the major when combined with another partial unit course. Only two units of independent study may be counted toward the major. ES 350 courses may not be used to fulfill the minimum requirement that two electives be at the 300 level. ES 360 and ES 370 do not count toward the minimum major.
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Requirements for the Environmental Studies Minor

The minor is designed to provide all students with a set of core knowledge and exposure to a breadth of approaches and ideas important to environmental studies.

There are three components to the 5-course minor:
 

1. One introductory course:

  • ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103

2. One 200-level core course each in two of these three categories (two courses total):

  • Science: ES 201 or ES 220 or BISC 201
  • Social Science: ES 214 or ES/ECON 228 (which requires ECON 101 as a prerequisite)
  • Humanities: ES 203 or ES 299 or PHIL 233 or [ES 207] or [ES 215]

3. Two electives from ES courses or the list of Courses for Credit Toward the Major:

  • Introductory, core, and capstone courses may also count as electives, but no single course can fulfill two requirements for the minor.
  • A student may petition to count a course not listed in the Courses for Credit Toward the Major list. Students should contact the Director for approval, and the Director will use her/his discretion in seeking guidance from the ES Advisory Faculty.

Courses from Away

Students may count no more than one course taken away from Wellesley towards the environmental studies minor. This course should be approved by the Director prior to enrollment. AP credit in Environmental Science cannot be used to replace any Environmental Studies requirements.

 

Contact Us

Contact Us

Environmental Studies Program
Pendleton Hall East 227
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Jay Turner
Director

Jessica Hunter
Program Coordinator

Tel: 781.283.2800