Introduction

Welcome to the Department of Environmental Studies and Environmental Science.  This page provides important and up-to-date information for those interested in the major, or those that are currently majors.  

Students may choose to pursue either a B.A. in environmental studies or a B.S. in environmental science.  Both majors include an introductory core (ENST 161 and 162), a specific number of courses taken from specified course categories and chosen by students in their areas of interest, and a concluding senior seminar.  

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the complex interactions between humans (individuals, communities, countries, societies, institutions) and their environment.  It strives to understand how the environment affects humans, how and why humans affect the environment, and what can be done to address perceived environmental challenges.  The field draws on the humanities (philosophy, religion, literature, arts), social sciences (economics, politics and policy, history, psychology) and the natural sciences (biology,chemistry, mathematics, physics).  Majors in environmental studies tend to focus on social, political/policy, and economic dimensions of human-environment interactions, while integrating knowledge of the natural sciences.   

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on using and integrating the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics) to understand how environmental systems are structured, how they function, and how humans (individuals, communities, countries, societies and institutions) interact with, alter, or are impacted by their environment.  Majors in environmental science tend to focus on the natural sciences, but leverage ideas and concepts from the humanities (philosophy, religion, literature, arts) and social sciences (economics, politics and policy, history, psychology).  

The environmental studies or environmental science majors are both organized to provide students with breadth and depth in the field.  They are designed to provide interdisciplinarity, rigor and flexibility so students are able to pursue their academic and professional goals.  

Students with questions about the major are encouraged to meet with the Chair of the Environmental Studies Department.  

Want to declare the major?  Fill out the Major Declaration Form.  

 

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

First-Year Courses for Majors or Prospective Majors
A new student with a strong interest in the Environmental Studies or Environmental Science major are encouraged to take the following courses in their first and second semesters.

First Semester

  1. FY Seminar
  2. Language
  3. ENST 161
  4. One additional course selected from one of the following categories: Humanities/Arts & Environment, Society & Environment, Foundations of Environmental Science, Applications of Environmental Science or Environmental Studies Specializations. Students interested in environmental science are urged to select a course designated Foundations of Environmental Science.

Second Semester

  1. Language
  2. ENST 162
  3. One additional course selected from one of the following categories: Humanities/Arts & Environment, Society & Environment, Foundations of Environmental Science, Applications of Environmental Science or Environmental Studies Specializations. Students interested in environmental science are urged to select a course designated Foundations of Environmental Science continue with biology, chemistry, physics sequence.
  4. Elective

**Students that are not considering the major should enroll in ENST 121, not ENST 161**

Information about Major Requirements:
ENST courses are those offered by the Department of Environmental Studies and taught by department faculty.  

Students may not major in both environmental studies and environmental science.  

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

300-level or above classes must be taken at Dickinson (in any department).  

Global-education classes may count toward some major requirements, if approved by the department.  

Research or independent study courses may count toward the major requirements, although no more than two may be numbered ENST 550 or 560.

For requirements for the majors, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Environmental Studies and Environmental Science.

Track of your Progress through the Major:

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Refer to the Academic Bulletin: Environmental Studies and Environmental Science for the description of course categories.

Courses that fulfill the Humanities, Arts, & Environment requirement can be found at this link.

Courses that fulfill the Society and Environment requirement can be found at this link.

Courses that fulfill the Foundations of Environmental Science requirement can be found at this link.

Courses that fufill the Applications of Environmental Science requirement can be found at this link.

Courses that fulfill the Environmental Studies Specializations requirement can be found at this link.

Courses that fulfill the Disciplinary Specialization requirement can be found at this link.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

Example four-year plans for meeting Environmental Studies and Science requirements including for students that declare the major in their second year.

B.A. Environmental Studies (starting in 1st year)

Yr Fall Semester Spring Semester
1 ENST 161
Humanities/Arts & Environment
ENST 162
Society & Environment
2 Environmental Studies Specializations
Foundations of Environmental Science
Applications of Environmental Science
3 Society & Environment
Environmental Studies Specializations
Additional major course
 
4 Environmental Studies Specializations
Additional major course
ENST 406

B.A. Environmental Studies (starting in 2nd year)

Yr Fall Semester Spring Semester
1    
2 ENST 161
Humanities/Arts & Environment
ENST 162
Society & Environment
3 Environmental Studies Specialization
Foundations of Environmental Science
Applications of Environmental Science
4 Society & Environmental 
Environmental Studies Specialization
Additional major courses
ENST 406
Environmental Studies Specializations
Additional major courses

B.S. Environmental Science (starting in 1st year)

Yr Fall Semester Spring Semester
1 ENST 161
Foundations of Environmental Science
ENST 162
Foundations of Environmental Science
2 Foundations of Environmental Science
Humanities/Arts & Environment
Society & Environmental
Applications of Environmental Science
3 Applications of Environmental Science
Applications of Environmental Science
Additional major course
 
4 Applications of Environmental Science
Applications of Environmental Science
Additional major course
ENST 406
Additional major course

B.S. Environmental Science (starting 2nd year)

Yr Fall Semester Spring Semester
1 Foundations of Environmental Science Foundations of Environmental Science
2 ENST 161
Humanities/Arts & Environment
ENST 162
Society & Environment
Applications of Environmental Science
3 Applications of Environmental Science
Applications of Environmental Science
Foundations of Environmental Science
Additional major courses
4 Applications of Environmental Science
Applications of Environmental Science
Additional major course
ENST 406
Applications of Environmental Science

Notes:

  1. For students that begin Environmental Studies or Environmental Science in their second year it is possible to complete the major.  In fact, many students go on and do it. 
  2. A significant majority of our Environmental Studies and Environmental Science students, go abroad for part or all their junior year. Foundations of Environmental Science, Applications of Environmental Science, Environmental Studies Specializations and Humanities/Arts & Environment can be earned at programs abroad. Generally, 1-3 abroad credits come back and count toward the major. 

Honors

Departmental honors is a distinction awarded at graduation to students who have successfully completed an outstanding independent research project and achieved a distinguished academic record. To be considered for honors the student must have:

  • Completed two semesters of independent research.  This research must be a significant project commensurate with a full year's worth of work. The student must have clear objectives, an appropriate study design, and explicit conclusions based on thoughtful analysis.
  • Orally presented their project at the Earth Issues seminar series in both the fall and spring semesters. 
  • Presented their research at a professional conference.
  • Submitted a written report (thesis) on their completed independent research project with references to key literature. The paper must be clearly written in the appropriate format, as determined by the faculty research advisor. 
  • Complete a formal discussion of their research projects with the faculty on their committee. During this discussion, the student must demonstrate a deep understanding of their work and its context. Faculty research advisors may set additional requirements.
  • Achieved a distinguished academic record, including a GPA of 3.4 or higher.

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

Independent study and independent research

According to the College Bulletin an independent research course "should be designed as original research and practice in presenting the results of an investigation. This pursuit must culminate in the student's own contribution to a discipline, whether in the form of fully-supported conclusions or in the form of a creative effort.” In other words, the goal of independent research is to answer a question, not simply to gather information. Unlike independent study, independent research projects must have the potential to yield new knowledge.

In the Environmental Studies and Science Department, independent research projects involve field, laboratory, and/or library research. Research questions may come from the independent research student, the faculty research advisor, or both. The work may range from very independent activity by the student under the guidance of a faculty member to collaborative work with one or more faculty members and, perhaps, other students. The process of conducting independent research begins early in a student's career by talking with faculty about research and by generating ideas for possible research topics. Detailed procedures for pursuing independent research is available here.

Independent study courses are those that allow students to pursue an academic interest outside the listed course offerings, and under the direction of a faculty member. The requirements for independent study are devised in consultation with faculty. Those interested in pursuing independent study should see their academic advisor.

Internships

Internships are not required by the department, and do not count toward the environmental studies and science requirements. However, majors frequently pursue internships that allow them to gain professional experience, enhance their leadership skills, make connections and tackle real-world issues. Internship opportunities are available on campus, in the Carlisle community and, indeed, nationally and internationally. Internships are recognized through Dickinson’s Internship Notation Program and funding is often available for support. Interested students are encouraged to visit the Center for Advising, Internships and Lifelong Career Development or see their academic advisor.

Co-curricular activities/programs

Students in the Environmental Studies and Science Department frequently engage and participate in the college’s numerous co-curricular activities and certificate programs. 

Opportunities for off-campus study

Environmental Studies students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to participate in global study or another off-campus programs. These opportunities allow students to experience different countries, regions, cultures and perspectives, foster a deeper understanding of the forces that drive environmental changes, and, if desired, carry out research. Students can choose from Dickinson Programs in places like England, Spain, Italy, Cameroon, China, France, Ecuador, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Russia or partner programs in Brazil, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Cambodia, Denmark, India, Israel, Morocco, South African, Tanzania, Senegal and Jordan, to name a few. A sample of programs is available here.

Students can also elect to take part in a research Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, join the Washington Center in Washington DC, or pursue an exchange with an Eco-League school. Other students elect to participate in a Mosaic or Globally-Integrated Course.

The opportunities are endless and exciting! For information see your academic advisor or see the Center for Global Study and Engagement.