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Global Environmental Change

Director: Sarah Stroup (Associate Professor of Political Science)
Office: Munroe Hall 313      Phone: 802-443-3276

The planet is facing extraordinary challenges; among them are climate change, loss of biodiversity, environmental degradation, and the unequal distribution of critical resources. Indeed, the environmental challenges that the world now faces have never been more complex, posing greater threat to people around the globe. This track exposes students to the complex relationship between people and their environments at local, national and global scales. It highlights issues of social and environmental (in)justices as experienced cross-culturally, and the ways people have responded to and addressed environmental change.

Track Requirements

Introduction to International and Global Studies. Students must take IGST 0101 before studying abroad. IGST 0101 is not open to seniors except for those who declared the major as sophomores and spent the fall semester of their junior year abroad. Students who declare their major as a sophomore but have not taken IGST 0101, and plan to study abroad for only one semester must take it in the fall of their junior year prior to going abroad.

Thematic specialization. Take five thematic courses (in at least three departments, at least one of which should be in Anthropology, Economics,Geography, History, Political Science or Sociology) from this list.

  • One introductory course
  • Two courses on the impact of environmental change
  • One course on social (in)Justice and the environment
  • One course on responses and adaptation to environmental change

No more than one course can focus on the U.S, and not more than one course can be at the 400 level. Some courses are listed in more than one category. Courses cannot double count.

Language Study. Students must become proficient in one of the languages that Middlebury College teaches. All majors must take at least one advanced course in the language of study upon returning from abroad and are encouraged to take more than one. Students who, upon declaring the IGS major, have been determined proficient in one of their region’s languages will continue to take this language at the advanced level and are strongly recommended to take one year or equivalent of another language. The additional language should be chosen in consultation with the advisor. Individual language departments determine what level of study constitutes proficiency.

GEC majors who study abroad in India must study an Indian language when abroad, but are not expected to complete an advanced language course once they return. Instead, they must take one additional regional or global course in their senior year.

Regional Focus. Take three courses focusing on the region where your language of choice is spoken: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and East Europe, or South Asia. See available courses here.

Study Abroad. Students must study abroad for at least one semester (and preferably two) on a Middlebury-approved study abroad program in their region of focus. Study abroad must be in the language of study at Middlebury. Sudents who study abroad for one semester may count up to two courses and those who study abroad for a full year may count up to four courses toward the major. Major credit will be granted, pending approval, upon the student’s return from abroad. For regional courses, approval is granted by the track director and for global courses by the IGS director. Students should share the syllabi and all written work for all courses they wish to count with the track or program director, respectively.

Students wishing to study in programs that focus on Global Environmental Issues in an English-speaking country may do so, provided that they also study at least one semester on a Middlebury program in the region corresponding to their language.

For the class of 2022, 2022.5, 2023 and 2023.5 only: in lieu of study abroad, students will take a minimum of two additional language courses at the 300 level and above.

Senior Program. The senior program consists of: (1) a senior IGST seminar at 400-level or with permission of IGS director, a thematic senior seminar in a department  and (2) an upper-level course, preferably two, in the language of emphasis after returning from abroad. The language departments will determine which courses fulfill this requirement, in consultation with the program director. Majors who study abroad in India do not take an upper-level language course, but rather, one additional regional or global course.

Honors. Students who seek to graduate with Honors may elect to write a two-term senior honors thesis. Students are eligible to write an honors thesis if they have a 3.5 GPA or better in all courses that count for the major. These include all language courses, all regional courses, all global courses, all courses taken abroad, and all courses with an IGST designation. Thesis grades do not count in the calculation of the GPA for honors. Thesis guidelines and procedures can be found at go/igsthesis.

To assist you in tracking the completion of your requirements, please meet with your advisor to complete and submit the advising wizard for your track.