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Environmental Studies

The goals of the Environmental Studies program are to: 1) increase understanding of how the world as a bio-physical system works, foster awareness of the earth's vital signs, and sharpen the ability of students to understand the nature and results of science; 2) encourage a critical understanding of the various historical, political, economic, ethical, and religious forces that have shaped and continue to shape our world; 3) nurture an ecological frame of mind which is willing and able to see things whole and thus resist the narrow specialization that can blind us to the connections between disciplines and bodies of knowledge; 4) cultivate people who have sufficient knowledge, care, and practical competence to live in an ecologically responsible way; 5) provide opportunities for students to explore the connections between environmental issues and different religious and philosophical traditions, and to encourage students who are Christian to reflect on their faith and its vision of shalom.

The Environmental Studies minor consists of a minimum of 20 credits. Eight credits are required in the natural sciences, with courses taken from a particular set of GEMS courses. At least four credits must be met by one of the lab-based GEMS courses. Four credits are required in the social sciences: either Environmental Sociology, Environmental Public Policy, or Managing for Environmental Sustainability. Four credits are required in the humanities: either American Literature and the Environment or Environmental Philosophy and History. The final four credits are part of a senior integration experience: a two credit research project and a two credit internship in a local business, non-profit organization, governmental agency, or educational institution. In addition to the courses in the minor, there are a number of general education courses that address various environmental issues and themes and thus may be of special interest for Environmental Studies students.

The student who minors in Environmental Studies may major in anything. For students who major in one of the natural sciences, one of the Environmental Studies GEMS courses may be replaced by other appropriate science courses, with the permission of the program director. For a student who decides to minor in both Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, such a double minor does not constitute a major.