Degree Requirements

Environmental Studies Major

The Environmental Studies Major requires eight courses plus a thematic concentration (typically five courses) as part of a three-pronged program.

1.  Four required core courses:

ENVS 100Integrated Environmental Studies
ENVS 200Environmental Analysis
ENVS 301Environmental Practicum
ENVS 401Environmental Senior Project
or ENVS 451
ENVS 452
Senior Research
and Senior Research

2.  Four distribution courses: Students are to fulfill the requirements of the distribution categories listed below. No double counting is permitted among these distribution categories or between the distribution courses and the concentration. See the ENVS website for updates to the list of courses that may be used to fulfill these categories. Also note that some of these courses have prerequisites.

a.  One environmental methods course from the Humanities or the Arts. Examples include:

AHVC 263World Views: Spatial Imagination in East Asia
AHVC 302Medieval Art and Architecture
CLAS 312Ancient Identities
ENGL 291Nature and the Literary Imagination
ENGL 391Nature's Nation
ENVS 256Farmscape: Visual Immersion in the Food System
HIST 240Advanced Studies in Latin American History (when taught as "Environmental History of Latin America")
PHIL 260Environmental Philosophy
REL 205Religion and Nature
See the ENVS website for a complete and current list.

b.  One environmental course from the Social Sciences. Examples include:

ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
ECON 427Environmental Economics
COMM 215Special Topics in Communication (when taught as "Environmental Communication")
ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
ENVS 262Environmental Dispute Resolution
ENVS 284Environmental Planning and Design
ENVS 334Sustainable Agriculture
See the ENVS website for a complete and current list.

c.  A two-course sequence in the Natural Sciences. Examples include: 

BIOL 230Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 210 & 220 prerequisites)
ENVS 215Renewable Energy Systems (any 100 or 200 level science course prerequisite)
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management (any 100 or 200 level science course prerequisite)
EESC 200Environmental Geology
EESC 240Earth Resources

3.  A thematic concentration.  The concentration is a set of courses (typically five) that provides depth in an area of interest.  Concentration courses may not double count with the Core or Distribution categories above.  Approved concentrations are given on the ENVS website.  Examples include: Creative Environments, Ecosystem Conservation, Environmental Art History, Environmental Biology, Environmental Decision Making, Environmental Economics, Environmental Geoscience, Global Environmental Justice, Journalism, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Design, and Sustainable Development.  Students may also design their own thematic concentration, pending program approval, including coordinated double majors in Art History & Visual Culture, Biology, and Economics.  ENVS majors declare their concentration in the early Spring of sophomore year.  

Thematic Concentrations

Creative Environments

This arts- and humanities-based concentration offers students the opportunity to explore a range of ways humans and societies have represented, performed, mediated, and otherwise imagined built and natural environments. By studying verbal, visual, and performative representations of the environment across periods and traditions, students will think critically about cultural constructions of built and natural environments.  By immersing themselves in the imaginative process and creating artistic works that engage the environment, students will reflect on the ways our personal and cultural assumptions about the environment inflect the ways we represent, narrate, and otherwise imagine both built and natural environments. ENVS majors with this concentration will achieve a solid grounding both in the critical assessment and interpretation of mediated environments and in the creative, imaginative making of such mediations. Students who pursue this concentration will be well-equipped for jobs in the environmental arts and humanities in particular, but the skills developed in this concentration have broad application to a wide array of career paths.

This concentration involves five courses, and students may choose whether to emphasize critical approaches or creative expression in the arts and humanities.  The difference is in balancing two courses from one category and three from the other. 

Critical Approaches (choose two or three from this list):

AHVC 263World Views: Spatial Imagination in East Asia
AHVC 302Medieval Art and Architecture
CLAS 301Topics in Classical Studies (Ancient Idenities)
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Environmental Justice & Activism)
ENVS/ENGL 291Nature and the Literary Imagination
ENVS/ENGL 391Nature's Nation
HIST 240Advanced Studies in Latin American History (Environmental History of Latin America)
PHIL 260Environmental Philosophy
REL 205Religion and Nature

Creative Expression (choose two or three from this list)

ENVS 290/ARTS 165Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Drawing Terrain)
ENVS 290/ARTS 365Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Landscape Painting)
ENVS 256Farmscape: Visual Immersion in the Food System
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Confronting Climate Change through Photography)
THTR 195Special Topics in Theatre (Clothing as Activism)

Other relevant courses may be added to these lists as they are developed and offered by faculty.  Also note that appropriate Off-Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration. 

Ecosystem Conservation

The Ecosystem Conservation concentration offers students an integrated understanding of ecological systems, including theoretical foundations, practical applications and socio-ecological connections.  The three required courses provide a conceptual basis of systems ecology and the field, lab and data management skills that are essential for ecosystem practitioners.  The choices provide opportunities for application of conservation concepts in complex political and biological environments.  ENVS majors with a concentration in Ecosystem Conservation will be well-prepared for careers in such fields as environmental consulting, land use planning and regulation, land and water stewardship and geospatial analysis.

Ecosystem Conservation Concentration Requirements:    

ENVS 222
ENVS 223
Geographic Information Systems I
and Geographic Information Systems II
or GEOS 215 Special Topics in Geosciences
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management
or BIOL 370 Conservation Biology
One of the following Conservation Policy courses:
ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
ENVS 262Environmental Dispute Resolution
One of the following Organismal courses (pre-reqs: Biology core):
BIOL 312Herpetology
BIOL 313Vertebrate Zoology
BIOL 326Plant Evolution and Reproduction
BIOL 327Biology of Insects
One of the following Ecological Systems courses (not to double count with ENVS 274 or BIOL 370)
BIOL 310Wetland Ecology
BIOL 370Conservation Biology
BIOL 375Population and Community Ecology
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management
Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Environmental Art History

ENVS major and AHVC minor – presumably with careful planning a student could complete an AHVC minor and use all minor courses as ENVS concentration courses.

ENVS major and AHVC major – it would not be difficult to assemble an entire ENVS concentration with at least five of the 200- and 300-level distribution courses in the AHVC major, chosen carefully with close advising.

AHVC/ENVS course cross-over:

AHVC 101The Western World: Ancient to Baroque
AHVC 201Classical Art and Architecture
AHVC 203Early Renaissance Art and Architecture
AHVC 204High Renaissance and Baroque Art & Architecture
AHVC 263World Views: Spatial Imagination in East Asia
AHVC 302Medieval Art and Architecture

Environmental Biology

ENVS major and BIOL minor – presumably with careful planning a student could complete a BIOL minor and use BIOL 210 - Molecular Biology and Unicellular Life/BIOL 230 - Ecology and Evolution as the two natural science courses in ENVS, and all three 300-level BIOL courses toward the ENVS concentration, with careful planning.

ENVS major and BIOL BA major – it would not be difficult to assemble an entire ENVS concentration with five of the 300-level distribution courses in the BIOL major, chosen carefully with close advising. 

ENVS major and BIOL BS major – this would be the same arrangement as the ENVS/BIOL double major listed above, as there are no additional ENVS requirements for which the cognate science courses would play a role.  But we would encourage ENVS/BIOL-BS majors to prioritize the following cognate options:

EESC 200Environmental Geology
EESC 215Special Topics in Earth & Environmental Sciences
EESC 240Earth Resources
EESC 299Intermediate Topics in Earth & Environmental Sciences
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management
CHEM 428The Chemistry and Materials of Sustainable Energy

BIOL/ENVS course cross-over:

BIOL 230Ecology and Evolution
BIOL 310Wetland Ecology
BIOL 312Herpetology
BIOL 313Vertebrate Zoology
BIOL 317Diversity of Microorganisms
BIOL 320Plant Systematics
BIOL 321Plant Ecology
BIOL 326Plant Evolution and Reproduction
BIOL 327Biology of Insects
BIOL 334Comparative Physiology: Human and non-human animals
BIOL 336Invertebrate Zoology
BIOL 340Animal Behavior
BIOL 370Conservation Biology
BIOL 375Population and Community Ecology

Environmental Decision Making

This theme offers a lens onto the process by which environmental decisions are – and can – be made.  It is not content-specific, though certainly a student could focus attention on a particular category of decisions – a particular policy area – for some of the coursework chosen as part of the theme.  The courses included in the list below are all aimed at better understanding the factors that affect behavior and various frameworks in which environmental decision-making takes place ranging from the individual to the group, from the community to the institutional.  Some courses aim at skill-building while others emphasize a normative exploration or an emphasis on theory-building. 

ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
and two of the following Environmental Context Courses:
COMM 215Special Topics in Communication
ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS 262Environmental Dispute Resolution
ENVS 284Environmental Planning and Design
PHIL 260Environmental Philosophy
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies
and two of the following Decision Making Techniques courses:
BIOL 356Special Topics ((Biostatistics))
COMM 122Argumentation
or COMM 223 Rhetoric
CS 112Discovering Computer Science: Markets, Polls, and Social Networks
DA 101Introduction to Data Analytics
ENVS 222
ENVS 223
Geographic Information Systems I
and Geographic Information Systems II
or GEOS 215 Special Topics in Geosciences
POSC 201Analyzing Politics
Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Environmental Economics

ENVS major and ECON major – it would not be difficult to assemble an ENVS concentration with all four ECON advanced courses required for the major (plus one additional course to satisfy the ENVS requirement of five courses in the concentration), chosen carefully with close advising. 

Inclusion of 1-2 pre-approved off-campus study courses along with the four required ECON advanced courses would also be workable for the double major.

ECON minor and ENVS major do not provide any overlaps.

ECON/ENVS potential course cross-over:

ECON 201Economic Justice
ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
ECON 204Income Inequality
ECON 240General Topics in Intermediate Economics
ECON 412Economics of the Developing World
ECON 415Political Economy of the Middle East
ECON 427Environmental Economics
ECON 461Growth, Distribution, and Instability
ECON 462Health Economics

Environmental Geoscience

The Environmental Geoscience concentration provides ENVS students with an option in the physical sciences. The fundamentals of geology are combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and elective choices in earth systems and landscape science.  

Students choosing this option will complete the core and distribution requirements of the ENVS major and will fulfil their concentration as follows (concentration courses may not double-count with ENVS core or distribution courses).

EESC 200Environmental Geology
or EESC 240 Earth Resources
EESC 210Historical Geology
or EESC 211 Rocks, Minerals & Soils
ENVS 222
ENVS 223
Geographic Information Systems I
and Geographic Information Systems II
or EESC 215 Special Topics in Earth & Environmental Sciences
One of the following:
EESC 270Oceanography
EESC 300Geomorphology
EESC 313Environmental Hydrology
EESC 333Stable Isotopes in the Environment
One of the following:
ENVS 215Renewable Energy Systems
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management
ENVS 310Wetland Ecology
ENVS 334Sustainable Agriculture
Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Global Environmental Justice

In recent decades global environmental justice has grown to be both an important field of academic study and the basis for a major form of social action. Questions of justice arise both within societies and across nations and cultures. Environmental injustice can take many different forms in different countries, cultures and ecosystems. As a result, environmentalism as a form of social action can also take many different forms. Looking at environmental justice in a global framework involves studying the reasons for and consequences of such differences.

Students of global environmental justice study movements and processes that range in scale from the local to the global. In some instances, environmental justice involves protecting the environment from human-caused harm. In other instances, it involves disadvantaged people gaining and maintaining access to natural resources.

This field also involves asking such basic questions as “What is justice?” and whether it is a universal concept or rather one that has different meanings and is shaped in different ways according to culture and history. Important too, is the question of to whom environmental justice is owed—to fellow-citizens of a nation or community, to all humans, to future generations, and for that matter to animals or living organisms or perhaps nature as a whole?

In sum, this concentration involves an interdisciplinary investigation that looks at all three terms in its title as ones that require careful analysis, and are often contested by both activists and scholars: “global,” “environmental” and “justice.”

Due to the infrequency with which many of the courses in this concentration are offered at Denison, students who pursue this concentration are especially encouraged to do so through an off-campus study program, and in many cases may be able to pursue this concentration only by including two OCS courses. Double-counting within the concentration is not allowed.

Five courses; at least 2 in area I, and at least one each in areas II and III.  At least three of the courses must have explicit environmental content, i.e., are either listed as ENVS courses or are appropriate, pre-approved OCS courses.  No more than one course can be at the 100-level.

1. At least two courses that address the intersections among the three conceptual components of this concentration:

ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS/PHIL 260Environmental Philosophy
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Environmental Justice and Activism)

2. At least one course on conceptions of justice:

PHIL 126Social and Political Philosophy
REL 102Ethics, Society and the Moral Self
REL 224Religion and Social Ethics
PHIL 326Theories of Justice
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Environmental Justice and Activism)

3. At least one course on conceptions of globalization:

INTL 100Introduction to International Studies: The Making of the Modern World
HIST 380Research Seminar in Early United States History (Environmental History of Latin America)
ANSO 321Anthropology of Human Rights
ANSO 345Special Topics (Global Justice Movements)
WGST 306Transnational Feminism
WGST/REL 327Women and Social Ethics in the Global Context
BLST 345Advanced Topics in Black Studies (Global Health & Local Well-being)
PPA 344The United Nations and World Problems
PPA 345Human Rights in Global Perspectives
As noted above, appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Journalism

The Narrative Journalism concentration provides exploration and skill-building in long-format, in-depth storytelling that is both attractive to some ENVS majors and useful preparation for potential career paths.  Students interested in applying the new Journalism major toward an ENVS concentration should consult with the ENVS Program Director.

1.  Students choosing this option will complete the core and distribution requirements of the ENVS major and will fulfill their concentration as follows (concentration courses may not double-count with ENVS core or distribution courses):

ENGL 221Literary Nonfiction
ENGL 237Introduction to Creative Writing
ENGL 384Creative Nonfiction Writing

2. Two environmentally relevant courses that provide context, research skills, and/or intensive writing. These courses will be selected by the student under the direction of the ENVS and NJ faculty committees. Examples include, but are not limited to:

ENVS/COMM 215Renewable Energy Systems
ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
ENVS 334Sustainable Agriculture
ENVS 256Farmscape: Visual Immersion in the Food System
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management
ENVS/ENGL 291Nature and the Literary Imagination
ENVS/ENGL 391Nature's Nation

3. Journalism Colloquia participation

Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Sustainable Agriculture

The objectives of this concentration include exposing students to practical experiences in sustainable agriculture as well as multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives on the issue of food production and food distribution. These perspectives should allow students to think critically about the environmental, social, and economic impacts of food production and distribution. To this end, students will be asked to take two students will take 2 science courses related to plant biology, earth systems or climate change. Additionally, students will take a course on social movements and/or issues of justice to help identify the social factors that have played a role in the sustainability of food systems (e.g. worker’s rights, labor movement). The last requirement is flexible to include any food related course from any division, including courses off campus.

1)            ENVS 334 - Sustainable Agriculture          

2,3)        Two of the following Biology, Earth Systems or Climate courses:

BIOL 326Plant Evolution and Reproduction
BIOL 327Biology of Insects
ENVS 222
ENVS 223
Geographic Information Systems I
and Geographic Information Systems II
or EESC 215 Special Topics in Earth & Environmental Sciences
EESC 111Planet Earth
EESC 115Special Topics in Earth & Environmental Science (Climate Change)

4,5)        Two of the following Context courses:                                                                   

ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS 256Farmscape: Visual Immersion in the Food System
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Community Resilience)
REL 205Religion and Nature
Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Sustainable Design

This theme interrogates the ways we construct our built environment, with an eye to approaches that emphasize ecological harmony, local materials, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and stewardship in the form of both cultural and environmental sensitivity.  While Denison does not have any curricular dedication to architectural studies, there are a variety of courses which students can combine into a liberal arts examination of the core issues in this area of study.    Students who select this theme have the option of choosing a technological/structural or behavioral approach, and should be able to articulate individualized reasoning as to why particular courses are chosen for the orientation of interest.

1)            ENVS 284 - Environmental Planning and Design

2,3)        Two of the following Environmental Systems courses:

AHVC 302Medieval Art and Architecture
ENVS 215Renewable Energy Systems
ENVS 274Ecosystem Management
EESC 200Environmental Geology
ENVS 222
ENVS 223
Geographic Information Systems I
and Geographic Information Systems II
or EESC 215 Special Topics in Earth & Environmental Sciences

4/5)        Two of the following Context courses:

AHVC 204High Renaissance and Baroque Art & Architecture
CLAS 312Ancient Identities
COMM 215Special Topics in Communication
ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS 262Environmental Dispute Resolution
ARTS 265Special Topics in Studio Art (Landscape Painting)
or ARTS 165 Special Topics in Studio Art
Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Sustainable Development

In 1987, the Brundtland Commission defined this term for the ages: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Our Common Future).  While its focus may be largely on parts of the world where “needs” are unmet and poverty is endemic, a concentration in sustainable development will also seek to address the systemic nature of ecological, social, historical and economic crises the world over.  Therefore, the courses in this theme are generally international in their orientation, and aimed at fostering a culturally sensitive understanding of the distinct challenges faced by developing countries and post-industrial societies in their socio-economic development trajectory.

1)            Choose one of the following foundation courses:

ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
ANSO 218Sociology of International Development
ENVS 236Political Ecology

2-5)        Choose four courses from the following categories, including one from each (no double counting with #1 above):

                A.  Culture and historical setting -

AHVC 263World Views: Spatial Imagination in East Asia
AHVC 302Medieval Art and Architecture
CLAS 312Ancient Identities
LACS 200Special Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (Environmental History of Latin America)

                B. Context and application -

ENVS 334Sustainable Agriculture
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Food Equity & Empowerment)
INTL 250Global and Local Flows and Frictions
ANSO 321Anthropology of Human Rights
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Community Resilience)
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Environmental Justice and Activism)

                 C. Social process -

ANSO 340Social Movements
ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
ECON 240General Topics in Intermediate Economics (A Global Green New Deal)
ECON 427Environmental Economics
ENVS 236Political Ecology
ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
ENVS 262Environmental Dispute Resolution
ENVS 290Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Solving the Unsolvable)
Also note that appropriate Off Campus Study courses may count toward this concentration.

Environmental Studies Minor

The Environmental Studies Minor requires six courses. Regular offerings are listed here for each category. Check with the ENVS program office or website for a list of special offerings that may be allowed to fulfill each requirement. Also note that some of these courses have prerequisites.

  1. ENVS 100 - Integrated Environmental Studies
  2. ENVS 200 - Environmental Analysis

Four distribution courses: Students are to fulfill the requirements of the distribution categories listed below. No double counting is permitted among these distribution categories. See the ENVS website for updates to the list of courses that may be used to fulfill these categories. Also note that some of these courses have prerequisites.

  1. One environmental course from the Humanities or the Arts. Examples include: 
    AHVC 263World Views: Spatial Imagination in East Asia
    AHVC 302Medieval Art and Architecture
    CLAS 312Ancient Identities
    ENGL 291Nature and the Literary Imagination
    ENGL 391Nature's Nation
    ENVS 256Farmscape: Visual Immersion in the Food System
    HIST 240Advanced Studies in Latin American History (when taught as "Environmental History of Latin America")
    PHIL 260Environmental Philosophy
    REL 205Religion and Nature
  2. One environmental course from the Social Sciences. Examples include: 
    ECON 202Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability
    ECON 427Environmental Economics
    COMM 215Special Topics in Communication ((when taught as "Environmental Communication")
    ENVS 240Environmental Politics and Decision Making
    ENVS 262Environmental Dispute Resolution
    ENVS 284Environmental Planning and Design
    ENVS 334Sustainable Agriculture
  3. A two-course sequence in the Natural Sciences. Examples include
    BIOL 230Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 210 & 220 prerequisites)
    ENVS 215Renewable Energy Systems (any 100 or 200 level science course prerequisite)
    ENVS 274Ecosystem Management (any 100 or 200 level science course prerequisite)
    GEOS 200Environmental Geology (GEOS 111 prerequisite)
    GEOS 240Earth Resources (GEOS 111 prerequisite)

Additional Points of Interest

Choosing a Concentration for the ENVS major
Students who major in ENVS choose an area of concentration during the sophomore year.  Prospective ENVS majors are encouraged to discuss possible concentrations with any of the ENVS-affiliated faculty listed above prior to the sophomore year.    The concentration proposal deadline is typically early in the Spring semester.
 
ENVS courses and General Education (GE) requirements 
Courses taken under the ENVS heading typically fulfill the Interdivisional (I) General Education requirement.  In the case of cross-listed courses, students may choose to enroll under the ENVS heading to earn the Interdivisional (I) GE, or the heading of the home department to earn the GE designation appropriate for that department.  In either case, the course will count toward the ENVS major or minor.  Students are typically able to fulfill a maximum of five GE requirements through the ENVS major.
 
Off-Campus Study
Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs when appropriate to enhance the concentration area or otherwise supplement course offerings at Denison. Students who want to study abroad should plan to do so during their junior year. Courses taken abroad that serve as substitutes for courses listed above or that are otherwise used to satisfy elements of the Environmental Studies major must be approved in advance by the Environmental Studies Director, prior to the student's departure for the off campus program. A maximum of two off-campus courses may be used to satisfy requirements in the major for students who spend one semester off-campus, and a maximum of three off-campus courses may be used to satisfy requirements in the major for students who spend two semesters off-campus.

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