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.
The Environmental Studies department has developed a new curriculum, which was recently approved by the College. This new curriculum balances breadth, depth, and rigor and matches the expertise of the faculty members in our growing department. It also supports the automated degree audit program in the Banner system, so that students can track their progress towards graduation. The new curriculum includes new degree requirements for the B.A. in Environmental Studies and the B.S in Environmental Science. The new curriculum, with these new degree requirements, applies to students entering Dickinson beginning in the Fall 2016. The new curriculum is described on the department’s webpage and in the College Bulletin.
Current majors, enrolled before Fall 2016, will remain in the “old” curriculum and be subject to those degree requirements. The “old” curriculum is described in previous editions of the College Bulletin, which are available on the registrar’s page.
Students with questions about the degree requirements or the new course numbering system should meet with their major advisor.
Courses appropriate for prospective majors
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Environmental Studies and Environmental Science or the department web site.
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.
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.
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.