Known for having one of the oldest and strongest programs in the nation, Dickinson’s Environmental Studies department offers two majors, a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. The Environmental Studies Department recognizes that solutions to the human predicament require an interdisciplinary effort, incorporating ecological and social perspectives. The goals of the program include providing a sound academic background and an opportunity for students to use their education through research and community outreach. Thus, students and faculty are involved in collaborative research at the local, regional, and national levels on a wide variety of environmental problems; ranging from monitoring stream health collaboratively with grassroots activists to researching the mechanisms of forest mortality, and examining the link between air quality and student athlete performance.

Introductory courses for the Environmental Studies major and the Environmental Science major are the same. Please check the Academic Bulletin for details on the upper-level courses required for each major.

Environmental Studies and Environmental Science major advising worksheets

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

Environmental Science (ENST) 131, and 130 or 132.  ENST 131 (fall) and either 130 or 132 (spring) are required for both the Environmental Studies and Environmental Science majors (and all three courses meet the college’s natural science distribution requirement). A student may not take both ENST 130 and 132. Prospective majors usually enroll in ENST 131 in the fall and then enroll in ENST 132 in the spring. Some students may start with ENST 130 in the spring, and then take ENST 131 during the fall of their sophomore year. A score of 4 or 5 on the Environmental Studies Advanced Placement Exam will substitute for ENST 131, in which case students will take ENST 132 in the spring of their first year.

ECON 100, Contemporary Economics or ECON 111, Introduction to Microeconomics.
ECON 111 is the required course for the B.S. major, whereas either course counts for the B.A. major. (These courses fulfill the prerequisite for ECON 222 Environmental Economics, which is required for both majors.)

ENST 111, Environment, Culture and Values or ENST 215, Jewish Environmental Ethics.

CHEM 131, 132 or PHYS 131,132: B.S. majors are required to take two semesters of either chemistry or physics. Generally, the 131 courses are only offered in the fall and the 132 courses are only offered in the spring, and the 131 courses are prerequisites to the 132 courses. Thus, B.S. majors must plan to take a full year of chemistry or physics, starting in the fall. B.S. majors who do not take this sequence in their first year should plan to take it in the sophomore year, to prevent conflicts with study abroad.

Notify the Environmental Studies department chair, Professor Tom Arnold (, that you are interested in majoring in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science prior to or during the course request period. This is essential because the department’s introductory (100-level) courses typically fill quickly. Whenever possible, space is reserved for likely majors, but this can only be done prior to or during course selection.

Please note that majors in the Environmental Studies and Environmental Science programs require more courses than most majors. Although these programs provide real opportunities to customize the major, they have some very specific requirements. This means that careful planning and consultation with a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department is essential. This planning and consultation can begin as soon as a student arrives on campus.

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

Humanities (Division I A): 
ENST 111, Environment, Culture, and Values
ENST 215, Jewish Environmental Ethics

Social Sciences (Division II):
ECON 100, Contemporary Economics
ECON 111, Introduction to Microeconomics

Laboratory Sciences (Division III): 
ENST 130, 131, and 132

Quantitative Reasoning (QR):
MATH 121 (Statistics) or other MATH courses beyond MATH 120

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The Environmental Studies and Science Department offers two separate degree programs, a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Science. In addition, many of its required courses are provided by other departments and programs as part of its interdisciplinary emphasis. As a result, it is very hard to provide a specific template or common plan of year-to-year progress through the major. It is thus VERY IMPORTANT for students to contact the department, the department chair, their academic advisor (especially their major advisor in ES), and their ES professors for advice and information about their ES program.

In addition, our web site provides a wealth of specific details about the program.

Especially valuable are the print-out sheets that provide a course-by-course breakdown for each of the two majors:

Please contact Academic Department Coordinator Deb Peters ( or Department Chair Tom Arnold ( with additional questions.


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 Chairperson.


The B.A. degree in Environmental Studies requires majors to complete transcript notation for 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.