Environmental solutions cannot come from one type of knowledge or way of thinking, not just from politics or chemistry or economics or history.

They come instead from leaders, thinkers, and innovators who can draw skills and knowledge from multiple fields of knowledge and work with teams of thinkers from every corner of the campus and the globe.

Founded in 1965, the Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program is the oldest undergraduate ES program in the United States and is well equipped to help today’s students explore those solutions.

Students walking through the solar farm on campus.

Why ES? 

If you are concerned about environmental issues at home and around the world, and want to gain knowledge and develop skills to address those problems, the Middlebury Environmental Studies Program is a great place to start your exploration.

Faculty and Courses

Students take courses from across the curriculum to develop a multifaceted understanding of the human relationship to the environment. Our 14 core faculty members and more than 40 affiliated faculty colleagues offer an interdisciplinary major and minor—and both foster in students a shared base of knowledge across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Our senior majors collaborate on a community-connected learning project in partnership with local environmental organizations in the Community Engaged Practicum.

Four introductory core courses—Natural Science and the Environment, Conservation and Environmental Policy, Contested Grounds, and a course in spatial analysis—prepare students to deepen their studies in one of 17 foci:

  • Conservation Biology (joint major with Biology)
  • Conservation Psychology
  • Environmental Chemistry (joint major)
  • Environmental Dance
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Earth and Climate Sciences  (joint major)
  • Environmental History
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Literature
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Studio Art
  • Environmental Theatre
  • Environmental Writing
  • Environmental Studies/Anthropology (joint major)
  • Environmental Studies/Architecture (joint major)
  • Environmental Studies/Geography (joint major)
  • Religion, Philosophy, and Environment 

Areas of Study

  • An environmental dance class.


    Combining environmental studies with the creative arts of dance, architecture studies, studio art, and theatre.

  • Handwriting on a yellow pad.


    Considering environmental studies in conjunction with history, literature, writing, and religion and philosophy.

  • Biology students gathering data in the river.

    Natural Sciences

    Exploring environmental studies through the disciplines of conservation biology, chemistry, and earth and climate sciences.

  • Recycled cans crushed.

    Social Sciences

    Examining environmental studies as it relates to conservation psychology, economics, justice, environmental policy, anthropology, and geography.

Entrance to Hillcrest.

Franklin Environmental Center

Located in the heart of campus, the LEED Platinum Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest serves as a hub for ideas and action. Home to the Dean of Environmental Affairs, the Sustainability Integration Office, and our Environmental Studies Program, the center provides support and coordination for campus initiatives throughout the College.

Study abroad

Accelerated Degree Program

Middlebury College students can earn a combined BA and MA in five years through the accelerated degree program in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Accelerated Degrees


ES majors and minors graduate with in-depth knowledge of the American story of human-environmental interaction, but also recognize that there are other stories, often strikingly different, from other parts of the world. With 900+ graduates, our alums work in environmental fields as entrepreneurs, scientists, policy makers, scholars, consultants, teachers, volunteers, activists, and founders of nonprofits.

Visit Careers with Social Impact for information and news about environmental jobs and internship opportunities.

Meet with Faculty

Office Hours

Explore the Major

About Requirements

Opportunities for Students

Student Resources