Environmental Studies Requirements

Environmental Studies Requirements

Students matriculating Fall 2018 or later must follow these requirements. Students matriculated prior to Fall 2018 have the option to follow these requirement or the [previous requirements].

Minor in Environmental Studies: The minor in environmental studies consists of five courses: three environmental studies core courses to be completed by the end of the sixth semester: ENVS 0112; ENVS or ENVS/PSCI 0211; and ENVS or ENVS/ENAM 0215; one course selected from among: ART 0309, DANC 0277, ECON 0265, ENAM 0227, ENVS 0209, ENVS 0210, ENVS 0385, ENVS 0395, GEOG 0207, HARC 0231, HIST 0222, PHIL 0356, PSCI 0214, PSYC 0233/0333, or SOAN 0211; and one course from among: BIOL 0140, CHEM 0270, ENVS/GEOG 150, GEOL 0112, GEOL 0161, or GEOL 0323. Except for transfer students, the environmental studies core courses must be taken at Middlebury College. With the approval of the Environmental Studies program director, a maximum of one course taken off campus may be credited toward completion of other (e.g., non-core course) minor requirements.

Joint Majors: Environmental studies majors who focus in architecture, biology, chemistry, geology, geography, or sociology/anthropology automatically qualify as joint majors. Students may pursue a joint major between environmental studies and other majors. The other major usually overlaps the student's focus and represents additional coursework in the focus. Students interested in completing such a “non-automatic” joint major should consult with the chair of their focus department about joint majors. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the environmental studies major, there is no reduction in course requirements for the environmental studies component of a joint major.

Major in Environmental Studies: The environmental studies major is composed of course work in four areas: four environmental studies core courses; 7-8 courses in a focus area; two environmental cognate courses; and an integrative capstone experience. Except for transfer students, the core courses and capstone experience must be Middlebury College courses, which for the purposes of the Environmental Studies major are defined as those offered by the undergraduate college during fall, winter, spring, and summer terms. The student's advisor must approve any non-Middlebury College courses within the focus area; the ES Director must approve any non-Middlebury College courses within the rest of the major. A maximum of three non-Middlebury College courses may be credited toward completion of the major.

I. Core Course Requirements
All majors are required to complete four core courses: ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, and either ENVS/GEOG 0120 (recommended for students focusing in the social sciences, humanities or arts) or ENVS/GEOG 0150 (recommended for students focusing in the natural sciences).

ENVS 0112 should be completed by the end of the sophomore year; all core courses must be completed by the end of the junior year. Only those students who have completed the core courses are eligible to enroll in advanced integrative work.

II. Focus Course Requirements
Majors must complete the 7-8 course requirements for one of 16 established foci. Foci fall into one of four academic divisions: arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. These divisions govern which cognate courses a student may take. Courses taken within the focus that are not specified must be approved by the student's advisor. As indicated, some foci automatically qualify the student for joint major status.

 Arts Foci

Environmental Dance: ARDV 0116; DANC 0160; DANC 260; DANC 0277 or       
DANC 1025; DANC 0284; DANC 0376; DANC 0700.

Environmental Studies-Architecture joint major: HARC 0100; HARC 0130; HARC 0230; HARC 0231 (prerequisite for HARC 0731); HARC 0330 (or approved substitute); one additional course that deals with architectural history, urbanism, or contemporary visual culture; HARC 0731 and HARC 0732, to be taken sequentially. Note: This joint major does not result in a professional degree in architecture. Students wishing to pursue graduate study in architecture are advised to take additional science and math courses and should consult with their advisor.

Environmental Studio Art: One 100- or 200-level drawing course; HARC 0327 (strongly suggested) or other approved substitute in the history of art-practice; ART 0309; four electives in studio art, three of which must be at the 300-level; ART 0700.

Environmental Theatre: ARDV 0116 or THEA 0101; THEA 0102; THEA 0208; DANC 0277; THEA 0235 or a THEA literature course chosen in consultation with advisor; two THEA electives of which only one may be a Production Studio course; and completing a crew requirement. The crew requirement must be completed by the end of the 5th term and will normally be satisfied by undertaking a running crew assignment on a for-credit production; the requirement may also be fulfilled by stage managing a faculty show, or by completing THEA 0119 or THEA 0129.

Humanities Foci

Environmental History: HIST 0222; three 100-300-level HIST courses; one 400-level HIST course or equivalent approved by adviser; HIST 0600 or equivalent approved by adviser; one additional course from the ENVS humanities cognate list or an approved substitute.

Environmental Literature: ENAM 0103 or CMLT 0101; ENAM 0205; three approved environmental literature courses (see full list) of which one must be at the 100-200 level, one must be at the 300-400 level, and one must carry ENAM’s diversity (DIV) tag; two terms of senior independent work, typically two terms of ENAM 0700 or, upon approval, a senior thesis, typically ENAM 0700/ENVS 0701.

Environmental Writing: ENAM 0103 or CMLT 0101; CRWR 0170 or CRWR 0175; two approved environmental literature courses (see full list) of which one must be at the 100-200 level and one must be at the 300-400 level; two 300-level writing workshops; one term of senior independent writing, typically ENAM 0701.

Religion, Philosophy, and the Environment: RELI 0295; ENVS 0395 or PHIL 0356; at least one introductory level course from among RELI 0110, RELI 0120, RELI 0190, PHIL 0150, or any additional 0100 or 0200-level RELI or PHIL course with approval of the advisor; an additional four courses from among PHIL 0205, PHIL 0206, GEOG 0207, and any 0300-0400-level course in PHIL or RELI with approval of the advisor; at least one term of independent study related to the focus, typically ENVS 0500 or ENVS 0700.

Natural Science Foci

Conservation Biology (Environmental Studies-Biology joint major): BIOL 0140; BIOL 0145; BIOL 0392; two field methods courses chosen from BIOL 0302, BIOL 0304, and BIOL 0323; one organismal course chosen from among BIOL 0201, BIOL 0202, BIOL 0203, BIOL 0302, and BIOL 0310; and two BIOL electives chosen from the 0200-0700 level (only one of which can be BIOL 0500 or higher). Notes: BIOL 0302 may count toward the field methods or the organismal requirement but not towards both; Winter Term courses offered through the Biology Department can be used to satisfy one of the elective courses; BIOL 0211 is a prerequisite for independent study in Biology (BIOL 0500 and higher). ENVS 0401 or, if approved, an integrative senior thesis, satisfies the required joint work for ENVS-BIOL joint majors.

Environmental Studies-Chemistry joint major: CHEM 0103; CHEM 0104 or 0107; CHEM 0203, CHEM 0204; CHEM 0270; CHEM 0311; and at least one term of senior independent study focusing on chemistry and the environment, typically CHEM 0700 (one-term senior project) or CHEM 0400/0700/0701 (multi-term senior thesis). Students wishing to pursue graduate study in chemistry are advised to take additional science and math courses and should consult with their advisor.

Environmental Studies-Geology joint major: One introductory course chosen from among: GEOL 0112 (preferred), GEOL 0161, and GEOL 0170; one course from among GEOL/GEOG 0251, GEOL/GEOG 0255, and GEOL/GEOG 0257; one course from among GEOL 0201, GEOL 0211, and GEOL 0281; three electives, two of which must be at the GEOL 0300-level; and two-term senior thesis focusing on geology and the environment: GEOL 0400/0700. Students wishing to pursue graduate study in geology are advised to take additional science and math courses and should consult with their advisor.

Social Science Foci

Conservation Psychology: PSYC 0105; PSYC 0201; PSYC 0202; PSYC 0233/0333; PSYC 0416; two additional courses to be determined in consultation with the student's advisor.

Environmental Economics: MATH 0121 or MATH 0122; ECON 0155; ECON 0210; ECON 0211, ECON 0255; ECON 0265; ECON 0465; one course from among ECON 0228, ECON 0275, ECON 0425, ECON 0428, and ECON 0466.

Environmental Policy: ECON 0155; ECON 0265; ECON 0210 or MATH 0116 or PSYC 0201; PSCI 0214 or ENVS 0385; PSCI 0421 or PSCI 0452; two courses from among ENVS 0209, GEOG 0207, and any PSCI courses at the 0200-0300 level.

Environmental Studies-Geography joint major: GEOG 0100; four elective courses at the 0200- or 0300-level, at least one of which must be at the 0200 and one at the 0300 level; and one 0400-level seminar. The electives and seminar must be selected in consultation with, and approved by, the student’s Geography advisor. ENVS 0401 or, if approved, an integrative senior thesis, satisfies the required joint work for ENVS-GEOG joint majors.

Environmental Studies-Sociology/Anthropology joint major. Through selection of courses, including electives, students may focus in combined Sociology/Anthropology or may specialize in ES-Sociology or ES-Anthropology. SOAN 0103 or SOAN 0105; SOAN 0211; SOAN 0301 or SOAN 0302; SOAN 0305 or SOAN 0306; SOAN 0700 or SOAN 0710; and three electives related to the topic of human ecology to be selected from the Sociology/Anthropology curriculum or ENVS 0210 in consultation with the student’s advisor. No more than one elective may be taken outside of the regular fall and spring semesters at Middlebury (e.g., as a winter term course or transfer credit). Students wishing to focus in combined Sociology/Anthropology should take both introductory courses (SOAN 0103 and SOAN 0105), with the second introductory course replacing one of the required electives. Any departures from this program must be approved by the SOAN department chair.

Other Environmental Perspectives
For students interested in studying the environment from perspectives for which there is not an established focus (e.g., international environmental studies, food studies, environmental justice), we recommend that students select the established focus that most closely meets their goals, select cognates that complement these goals, and, when possible, select topics on course assignments and projects that complement their goals and interests. Students are also encouraged to consider the possibility for intersecting study abroad opportunities with their goals and interests. Finally, students might consider completing a minor in environmental studies alongside a major of their choice. Students are encouraged to meet with the ES Director or with faculty advisors who advise for foci related to their interests to discuss their options.

III. Cognate Course Requirements
Two cognate courses must be selected from the approved list of cognates, subject to the following:

  • cognates must represent an academic division outside the division of the student’s chosen focus (see academic division for each focus above (section II));
  • for students focusing outside the natural sciences, at least one cognate must be an approved natural science cognate with a laboratory;
  • one cognate may be integrative (representing two or more academic divisions).

Because integrative courses represent more than one academic division, they inherently represent an academic division outside the division of the student’s focus; therefore, all integrative courses can be counted by all majors toward completion of the cognate requirement, subject to the rules above. Not all approved cognates are offered each semester. Please check with relevant departments regarding course offerings.

IV. Advanced Integrative Capstone Requirement
After completing the required core courses, majors must complete one of two options for an advanced integrative capstone experience: either the community-engaged environmental studies practicum (ENVS 0401, open to juniors and seniors) or, with program consultation and approval, a multi-term integrative senior thesis (typically ENVS 0700/0703).

Senior Work in Environmental Studies
ENVS does not universally require senior independent work; however, some foci within ENVS do. With program consultation and approval, required senior work in a focus may be expanded to meet the criteria for a multi-term integrative senior thesis, thereby simultaneously fulfilling the senior work requirement in the focus and the advanced integrative capstone requirement. In other cases, majors must complete the required senior independent work in the focus and, in addition, complete ENVS 0401 as their required advanced integrative capstone experience.

Majors who are not required to complete independent senior work in their focus may, in consultation and approval of an advisor, apply to complete (optional) senior independent work in ENVS. Senior work in ENVS may be carried out as a one-term senior project (ENVS 0700); as a multi-term senior thesis (ENVS 0700/0701); or as a multi-term integrative senior thesis (ENVS 0700/703). Whereas a multi-term integrative senior thesis satisfies the advanced integrative capstone requirement of the major, other types of senior work do not.

All senior independent work carried out in ENVS or toward honors eligibility (i.e., carried out in a focus department) in Environmental Studies must be on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and environment; be supervised by at least one faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the environmental studies program; and must be presented publicly. In consultation with the thesis committee, students may present as part of the Spring Research Symposium or as a separate event arranged with the committee and ES Program.

To qualify as an integrative senior thesis, the multi-term work must also meaningfully and substantially integrate perspectives, lenses, or methodologies from the academic division of the student’s focus and typically at least one other division; and be supervised by at least two faculty advisors typically from different academic divisions, at least one of whom is appointed in or affiliated with the environmental studies program.

For additional important details regarding the integrative capstone requirement and/or senior work options, please visit the senior work page.

Environmental Studies Program Honors
Program honors will be awarded to majors who complete a multi-term senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment and meet the following requirements: the thesis must be supervised by a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the environmental studies program; the work must be presented publicly, orally defended before their committee, and be of superior quality (B+ or higher); the student must achieve an average GPA of B+ or higher in courses taken toward completion of the major. Courses counting toward the GPA in the major include core courses, courses taken in fulfillment of focus with the exception of senior thesis courses (i.e., 700-level courses are excluded), cognates, and ENVS 0401 (if taken). If extra cognates or courses within the focus were taken, those with the highest grades will be applied toward completion of the major and toward the GPA calculation for honors eligibility.

Program in Environmental Studies

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest
531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753