Frequently Asked Questions for new majors

If I plan to major in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science what is the first thing I should do?
Enroll in ENST 161.  This is the gateway course to both of our majors.  It is taught each Fall semester.  This course provides foundational material, introduces you to the department, and provides advising for new majors.  After your first semester you should declare your major and choose an advisor in the department.  Fill out the major declaration form and have it signed by your new advisor, your old advisor, and the department chair.  You may drop the form off in the department office and it will usually be signed within 24 hours.  Having an advisor in the department ensures that you get the best advising and email updates.  You may change your academic advisor at any time.

Do I need to take the two introductory courses – ENST 161, and 162, in sequential order?  
Yes. These courses form the core of your degree and they build upon one another to prepare you for upper level course work that you will take as a major. ENST 161 is offered each fall semester, followed by ENST 162 in the spring semester.  In the future ENST 252, a course exploring "methods" in Environmental Studies and Science will be taken in the next fall. However, ENST 252 is not required for students entering the college in 2015, 2016 and 2017.    

I have AP credit.  Can I skip one of the introductory courses?
No.  The introductory courses are designed to work together to prepare you for upper-level coursework in the major.  It is important that you take all three.  You can, however, receive general college credit for a suitable AP text score in environmental science.

Can I start the sequence as a sophomore?
Yes.  Just be sure to plan ahead to accommodate the remainder of your major requirements, especially if you want to study abroad.

Can I start the sequence as a junior?
Probably not.

I’m not a major, can I still take a course in environmental studies?
Yes!  Our non-majors course (with lab) ENST 121 is perfect for non-majors interested in environmental studies and environmental science.

What if I take ENST 121 and then decide to become a major?
You will need to start the core sequence, beginning with ENST 161 as soon as possible.  ENST 121 will not take the place of any other introductory courses for majors.

Can I minor in Environmental Studies?
No.  In 2016 the College discontinued the minor in Environmental Studies.  But there are other good options!  You may consider similar programs and certificates in Food Studies or Health Studies, or become involved with the Center for Sustainability Education, ALLARM, or the College Farm.

Can I double major in Environmental Studies and something else?
Probably.  It’s best to make the decision early in your academic career.  Double majors require extra effort, of course.  You may explore the possibilities – and predict what your future semesters might be like – using the “what if?”  function of the College’s online advising system DegreeWorks.  Once you declare your major you will have an academic advisor in the department who can help to advise you.  Be aware that our department can not guarantee that our courses and courses taught in other departments will not pose scheduling challenges for potential double majors.  We try.  It usually works out.  But good planning is a must.    

How should I find courses that will satisfy the degree requirements?
On the website or on Banner.  You need a number of courses in several categories.  The number and type of courses depend on your major, Environmental Studies or Environmental Science.  These categories are: Humanities, Arts, & Environment; Society and Environment; Foundations of Environmental Science; Applications of Environmental Science; Environmental Studies Specializations; and Disciplinary Specializations.  We try to keep updated lists of courses from each category on our website.  In addition, the online course registration systems highlights these courses – they have “tags” so that they are easily identified.  You can even search for them in the Banner system.     

Can I study abroad?
Of course!  Many of our majors do.  As you plan your study abroad experience please consult with your advisor.  Course credits transferred back to Dickinson may or may not satisfy specific major requirements.  It’s smart to check before you go abroad or while you are registering for these courses.  When you return you will need to submit the “courses from another institution” form to the department.

Am I required to do an internship or conduct research with a faculty member?
No.  You may want to though.  Both can be excellent experiences that add to your education.  They are not, however, required for either degree.

For students who entered the college before FA16, information about the old curriculum can be found at


Courses appropriate for prospective majors

Environmental Studies / Environmental Science

A new student with a strong interest in the Environmental Studies or Environmental Science major should take:

  1. FY Seminar (already assigned)
  2. Language
  3. ENST 161 
    One additional course required for the Environmental Studies or Environmental Science degrees, selected from one of the five categories: Humanities/Arts & Environment, Society & Environment, Foundations of Environmental Science, Applications of Environmental Science, Environmental Studies Specialization, or Disciplinary Specializations.  Students who are especially interested in environmental science are urged to select a course designated Foundations of Environmental Science.

NOTE: non-majors should not enroll in ENST 161; they should enroll in ENST 121.

Category lists of courses satisfying these requirements are available on the Banner system, and on the department website.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Environmental Studies and Environmental Science or the department web site.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Environmental Studies Advising Guide, March 2016

*For students enrolled in the new curriculum (starting Fall 2016)

The Environmental Studies program offers two majors – B.A. Environmental Studies (13 courses) and B.S. Environmental Science (16 courses) – that provide students the opportunity to develop their own academic programs within a structure that provides breadth and depth. Students are expected to engage with their academic advisor as they define their interests and goals (an ongoing process), and then select relevant courses that will meet the major requirements.

Both majors share a core of 4 required courses: ENST 161, 162, 252, and 406 (ENST 252 is not required for students entering the college in 2015, 2016 and 2017.)

B.A. Environmental Studies majors must complete an additional 10 courses from the categories below. At least three courses must be ENST courses and at least three must be at the 300-level or above.

Humanities/Arts & Environment – at least 1
Society & Environment – at least 2
Foundations of Environmental Science – at least 1
Applications of Environmental Science – at least 1

Other courses may be taken from the Humanities/Arts & Environment, Society & Environment, Foundations of Environmental Science, Applications of Environmental Science, Environmental Studies Specialization, or Disciplinary Specialization lists.  No more than two Disciplinary Specialization courses can be applied to the degree.

NOTE:  No more than two may be numbered 550 or 560

B.S. Environmental Science majors must complete an additional 13 courses from the categories below.  At least three must be ENST courses and at least five of which must be at the 300-level or above.

Humanities/Arts & Environment – at least 1
Society & Environment – at least 1
Foundations of Environmental Science – at least 3
Applications of Environmental Science – at least 5

NOTE:  No more than two may be numbered 550 or 560

For both majors, note that a single course may satisfy more than one requirement. However, this does not reduce the total number of courses required for the majors.

Humanities, Arts, & Environment courses.  Humanities, Arts, & Environment courses explore humanity’s relation to the earth from perspectives offered by the arts, literature, philosophy, and religion. Such classes may include aesthetic, spiritual, and ethical principles employed to assess natural and social scientific ideas.

ARTH 130 Art and sustainability
ARTH 160 Sustainable Practices in Public Art
ENGL 212 Writing About the Natural World
ENGL 329 Ecocriticism
ENGL 379 Thoreau, Leopold, Abby, McKibben
ENST 111 Environment, Culture, & Values
PHIL 113 Philosophy and the Environment
RELG 115 Native American Religions
RELG 215 Jewish Environmental Ethics
RELG 250 Mother Earth: Religion and Sustainability
RELG 311 Buddhism and the Environment
RUSS 248 Russian Culture and the Environment
SPAN 231 Environmental Issues in Contemporary Chilean Literature

Society and Environment Courses.  These courses address the ways human societies are affected by the environment and also the ways that human actions alter that same environment. Courses focus on the roles of social, political, economic, and scientific processes in shaping various environmental challenges.

ANTH 214 Ecological Anthropology
ARCH 261 Environmental Archeology
ENST 290/SOCI 230 Environmental and Social Justice
ENST 330 Environmental Policy
ENST 370 Environment and Society
ENST 371 Global Environmental Politics
ECON 222 Environmental Economics (ECON 111 prerequisite required)
ECON 332 Economics of Natural Resources (ECON 222 prerequisite required) 
HIST 206 American Environmental History

Foundations of Environmental Science.  These courses present students with disciplinary knowledge from the natural sciences foundational to environmental science.  They may or may not consider how this knowledge relates to environmental science and include courses at introductory through advanced levels.

ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
BIOL 120 Life at the Extremes: A Survival Guide
BIOL 121 Alien Worlds
BIOL 122 The Biochemical Basis of Metabolic Disorders
BIOL 123 Interactions of Plants, Animals and Fungi
BIOL 124 Biology of Behavior
BIOL 125 Understanding Cancer
BIOL 126 Infectious Disease versus Immune Defense
BIOL 127 This Is Your Life
BIOL 128 The Secret Life of Plants
BIOL 213 Cell and Tissue Biology
BIOL 215 Evolution
BIOL 216 Genetics
BIOL 221 Animal Diversity
BIOL 313 Cell Biology
BIOL 315 Evolution
BIOL 318 Animal Development
BIOL 321 Invertebrate Zoology
BIOL 323 Algae, Fungi & Lichens
BIOL 326 Microbiology
BIOL 333 Physiology
BIOL 334 Vertebrate Biology
BIOL 343 Metabolism
BIOL 401 Field Natural History Mosaic
BIOL 416 Population Genetics
BIOL 417 Molecular Genetics
BIOL 425 Biology of Cancer
CHEM 131 General Chemistry I
CHEM 132 General Chemistry II
CHEM 141 Accelerated General Chemistry
CHEM 241 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 244 Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 342 Structure and Function of Biomolecules
CHEM 343 Metabolism
CHEM 347 Concepts of Inorganic Chemistry
COMP 131 Introduction to Computer Science I
COMP 132 Introduction to Computer Science II
ENST 218 Geographic Information Systems
ERSC 121 Habitable Worlds
ERSC 141 Earth's Hazards
ERSC 142 Earth's Changing Climate
ERSC 201 Surface Processes
ERSC 205 Introduction to Soil Science
ERSC 206 Volcanology
ERSC 221 Oceanography
ERSC 301 Field Geology
ERSC 305 Earth Materials
ERSC 306 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
ERSC 307 Paleontology
ERSC 309 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
ERSC 331 Chemistry of Earth Systems
MATH 121 Elementary Statistics
MATH 151 Introduction to Calculus
MATH 170 Single-Variable Calculus
MATH 171 Multivariable Calculus
MATH 211 Discrete Mathematics
MATH 225 Probability and Statistics I
MATH 241 Numerical Methods
MATH 262 Introduction to Linear Algebra
MATH 270 Integration and Infinite Series
MATH 271 Differential Equations
MATH 325 Probability and Statistics II
MATH 331 Operations Research
PHYS 131 Introductory Physics
PHYS 132 Introductory Physics
PHYS 141 Physics for the Life Sciences
PHYS 142 Physics for the Life Sciences

Applications of Environmental Science.  These courses apply scientific tools and methods to address environmental challenges.  A substantial component of the course must consider interactions between humans and the environment.

BIOL 128 Field Natural History
BIOL 129 Changing Ocean Ecosystems
BIOL 131 Topics in Ocean Ecology (formerly BIOL 129 Changing Ocean Ecosystems)
BIOL 131 Field Natural History
BIOL 224 Plant Geography and Ecology
BIOL 301 Columbian Exchange
BIOL 301 Wildlife Ecology
BIOL 314 Ecology
BIOL 322 Plant Systematics
BIOL 324 Plant Geography and Ecology
BIOL 325 Plant Physiology
BIOL 332 Natural History of Vertebrates
CHEM 243 Modern Chemical Analysis
ENST 310 Agro-ecology
ENST 310 Air Pollution and Health
ENST 310 Environmental Health
ENST 310 Environmental Health Methods
ENST 310 Ornithology
ENST 311 Field Biology, Tools, Techniques and Protocols
ENST 318 Advanced Applications in Geographic Information Systems
ENST 335 Analysis & Management of the Aq. Environment
ENST 361 Role of Natural Science in Environmental Studies
ENST 362 Principles of Natural Science for Environmental Studies
ERSC 202 Energy Resources
ERSC 204 Global Climate Change
ERSC 208 Environmental Hazards
ERSC 220 Environmental Geology
ERSC 310 Environmental Geophysics
ERSC 311 Introduction to Arctic and Alpine Climate Change
ERSC 320 Hydrogeology
PHYS 114 Climate Change and Renewable Energies
PHYS 314 Energy & Environmental Physics


Environmental Studies Specializations.  Interdisciplinary courses that study an aspect of human-environment interactions. Normally, courses would include one of the following: four weeks of environmental content or the application of a foundational concept or idea (e.g. inequality, sculpture, development, ethics, etc.) to an environmental issues for at least two weeks.

AFST 220/ENGL 101 Black Sustainability in African Diasporic Literature
ARCH/ANTH 110 Archeology and World Prehistory
ARCH/ANTH/LALC 262 South American Archeology
EASN 206/POSC 290 Asian Urban Ecology
EASN 206 Politics of Environmental Protection in Asia
EASN 305 Nature and the Environment in Japanese Literature and Film
EASN 306/POSC 390 Politics of Environmental Protection in Asia (seminar)
ECON 314 Limits to Growth and the Macroeconomics of Climate Change
ENST 311 Energy Justice
ENST 311 Environment, Conflict and Peace
ENST 311 Environmental Leadership and Organizing for Sustainable Social Change
ENST 311 Environmental Activism
ENST 311 Food, Poverty and Place
ENST 311 Sustainable Agriculture
ENST 311 Sustainability, Social Justice, Human Rights
ENST 550/560
GRMN 210 Exploring German Cultures
GRMN 215 German Environments
GRMN 400 Mountains in the German Imagination
HIST 151 History of the Environment
HIST 211 Food and the American Environment


Disciplinary Specialization courses.  Disciplinary specialization courses provide students the opportunity to place their understanding of environmental studies within the broader context of traditional and emerging academic disciplines. Environmental studies is built upon and connects to most disciplines. In many cases, progress within environmental studies requires drawing on these disciplines and communicating with practitioners in these disciplines. Disciplinary specialization courses are entirely optional. Offering these courses and inviting students to consider including them in their major program is consistent with the liberal arts.
INST 290: Population Issues in Developing Countries
Africana Studies
AFST 100 Introduction to Africana Studies

101 Anthropology for the 21st Century
212 Development Anthropology
216 Medical Anthropology
222 Contemporary Peoples of Latin America
229 Principles of Human Variation and Adaptation
233 Anthropology of Religion
255 Global Eastern Africa
256 Health and Healing in Africa
310 Nutritional Anthropology
331 Principles of Human Evolution

American Studies

AMST 101 Introduction to Native American Studies
AMST 201: Introduction to American Studies

251 Paleolithic Archaeology
261 Archaeology of North America
290 Archaeological Methods

Art & Art History
101 An Introduction to the History of Art
102 An Introduction to the History of Art
108 Introduction to the Arts of Asia
122 Fundamentals of Composition and Drawing
206 Museum Studies
221 Introduction to Photography

Creative Writing
CRWR 219 Creative Nonfiction:  Writing about Food

East Asian Studies
101 Introduction to East Asia

111 Introduction to Microeconomics
112 Introduction to Macroeconomics
214 Political Economy of Gender
223 American Capitalism and Social Justice
228 Economic Analysis of Policy
236 Issues in Developing Economics
288 Contending Economic Perspectives
314 Gender and Development

Educational Studies
120 Contemporary Issues in American Education
130 History of American Education
140 Educational Psychology
260 Introduction to Educational Research

220 Introduction to Literary Studies
312 Advanced Expository Writing

240 Food, France, and Cultural Identity

Health Studies
201 Introduction to Health Studies

150 History of Science
151 History of Environment
257 European Intellectual History
281 Recent U.S. History
350 American Science, Technology and Medicine
377 Consumerism, Nationalism and Gender
389 Native Peoples of Eastern North America

International Business & Management
100 Fundamentals of Business
110 Fundamentals of Accounting
200 Global Economy
230 International Organizational Behavior
240 Marketing in a Global Context

International Studies
170 International Relations
260 History of International Relations
271 Ethics and International Security
273 International Political Economy
280 American Foreign Policy
290 Global Health
290 International Development

200 Newspaper Journalism

Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies
235 Introduction to Caribbean Studies

101 Intro to Philosophy
102 Moral Problems
180 Political Philosophy
251 Philosophy of Religion
252 Philosophy of Art
254 Philosophy of Science
255 Philosophy of Law
256 Philosophy of Mind
265 Non-Western Aesthetics
275 Beauty
280 Recent Political Thought
285 Justice in World Politics
302 Ethical Theory
303 Epistemology

Policy Studies
200 Foundations in Policy Studies
230 Negotiation and Advocacy
248 The Judiciary
255 Philosophy of Law
301 Policy and Leadership

Political Science
120 American Government
150 Comparative Politics
170 International Relations
180 Political Philosophy
204 Competing Political Ideologies
222 Public Policy Analysis
231 Public Administration
242 Political Behavior
243 Mass Media and American Politics
244 Public Opinion
245 Political Parties and Interest Group
246 The Legislative Process
248 The Judiciary
256 The City
258 Human Rights

PSYC 130 Perception, Memory & Thought
PSYC 140 Social Psychology
PSYC 150 Intro to Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSYC 175 Intro to Community Psychology

Public Speaking
101 Introduction to Public Speaking

110 Religion and Modern Culture
115 Native American Religions
121 Hinduism
122 Buddhism
130 Religions of East Asia
201 Tibetan Buddhism
206 Jews and Judaism in the United States
208 Religion in the United States
210 Religions of Africa

Science, Technology & Culture
259 Writing Science News

110 Social Analysis
236 Inequalities in the U.S.
238 Consumer Culture
240 Qualitative Methods
244 Quantitative Research Methods
270 Social Movements, Protest and Conflict

Women’s and Gender Studies
WGST 200: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies



The distinction of Honors in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies is awarded by the Department to graduating seniors who have met the requisite academic standards. These include completion of a two-credit independent research project under faculty guidance and maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.4 in all courses required or applied toward the major. The student's final GPA must be certified at the end of the Senior year just prior to graduation.

The honors project must have both oral and written components. The oral components consist of presentations at department seminars, a professional conference and before a faculty review committee consisting of selected Environmental Studies department faculty and the Faculty Research Advisor. The written component may be done with acknowledged assistance from the Faculty Research Advisor and must demonstrate deep understanding of the context and implications of the research.

Detailed guidelines for department honors are available on the department website and through the department chair.


Many majors are interested in an internship or research experience. There are many opportunities for such both on campus and in the Carlisle/Harrisburg community.  Students often complete this requirement during the summer break as well.  

Co-curricular activities/programs

The Environmental Studies department has numerous employment, internship, and research opportunities in our two major community outreach co-curricular programs: The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) and the College Farm. Detailed information on these programs can be found on the department web site.

Students majoring in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science also often find employment, internship, and research opportunities with the Center for Sustainability Education.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Environmental Studies students are encouraged to participate in the following programs abroad: School for Field Studies, where students can participate in a field-based integrated environmental studies curriculum in one of five locations around the world; the Dickinson Science Program in Norwich, England, where environmental studies and science majors can take courses at an internationally-known environmental science center at the University of East Anglia; the Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where students can participate in a rigorous field-based program in aquatic sciences; and the Dickinson Program in Queensland, Australia, which offers a wide variety of excellent Environmental Studies and Science courses. Information on many other opportunities for Environmental Studies students is available at the Center for Global Study and Engagement.