An Interdisciplinary Major and Minor

Environmental Studies examines the interdependent relationships between humans and the environment. The Environmental Studies department aims to provide values, skills, and experiences that equip our students with both confidence and empathy as they prepare to tackle pressing environmental issues as scholars, scientists, activists, health care workers, policymakers, planners, artists, storytellers, and more.  


  1. Justice. Systemic inequities underlie all environmental issues. Environmental Studies examines how racism, colonialism, and power shape environmental problems, their consequences, study, and solutions.

  1. Scale. Environmental issues at all scales matter. Environmental Studies recognizes the interconnectedness and importance of natural and human systems across time and space. 

  1. Complexity. Environmental issues are rarely simple. They involve ambiguity, ethical dilemmas, and uncertainty. Environmental Studies engages this complicated work in a spirit of shared vulnerability and collaboration.


  1. Conceptualizing. Environmental Studies is inherently forward looking. It empowers students with a broad set of skills and tools to address unsolved problems. Students learn to ask productive questions, deploy the necessary tools, and work collaboratively across scholars, activists, policymakers, and communities to address both emerging and longstanding environmental issues.  

  1. Analyzing. Environmental Studies provides students with the tools to construct, describe, and evaluate environmental models and narratives. Students work to understand social, physical and biological processes using data, argument, and case studies.  Underpinning this work are systems-based approaches focused on the interdependence of humans and the environment.  

  1. Contextualizing. Environmental Studies draws upon multiple ways of knowing, spanning cultures and disciplines. This requires centering marginalized voices and sources of knowledge, and reflecting on the limitations, biases, and assumptions of conventional sources of expertise.

  1. Communicating. Environmental Studies empowers students to communicate about environmental issues, engaging different communities and cultures. Whether creating policy briefs, research posters, art installations, blog posts, op-eds, or lesson plans, students learn to communicate effectively across a variety of mediums and audiences.


  1. Learning. Environmental Studies often blurs the boundaries between the classroom and the world. It is as much about application as it is about content. Students benefit from synergies among curricular, co-curricular, off-campus study, study abroad, and applied experiences.  

  1. Research. Student-initiated research and peer learning are central to Environmental Studies. Students join a transdisciplinary and collaborative learning community where student peers, faculty, staff, alumnae, and the wider public are all valued sources of expertise.

  2. Mentorship. Environmental Studies aims to provide students with a rich advising experience that supports their individual interests and goals. This advising experience includes strong relationships with faculty and staff, alongside opportunities to connect with alumnae and other practitioners in the field.