Information for First-Year Students

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary major that integrates perspectives from social and natural sciences, arts and literature, and humanities. Environmental Studies addresses social, scientific, literary, economic, political, historical, ethical, and aesthetic dimensions of human interactions with environments.

The Environmental Studies program grew out of the conviction that the College has a responsibility to prepare students to understand and respond to the complex nature of environmental changes, particularly those caused by current and emerging patterns of human development.

Environmental problems require multiple perspectives since scientific, technological, social, economic, political, historical, and aesthetic factors are all critically involved. Public policy dealing with complex technical issues also demands knowledge and understanding of various disciplines. Students in these program get a chance to work together in common courses, seminars, and projects to address issues at the local, regional, national, and global levels.

Can I major in it? Yes. A major is offered to all students starting with the class of 2011.

Can an Environmental Studies major study abroad? Yes! There are many programs relevant to environmental studies offered by Carleton and other institutions.  Carleton also offers four programs with significant field investigation components in environmental studies.  You may count up to one 6-credit course taken on either Carleton or non-Carleton OCS programs toward the requirements of the major.  If you wish to receive major credit for courses taken on a non-Carleton OCS program, you should arrange this with the ENTS director prior to the program.  In general, you are encouraged to engage in careful planning when considering whether to go on an OCS program.

Topics explored: Air and water quality, biodiversity, climate change, energy, environmental art, environmental ethics, environmental literature, water, population dynamics, resource extraction and conservation.

Areas of specialization: Majors choose to specialize in one of the following four foci: Food and Agriculture, Conservation and Development, Landscapes and Perception, and Water Resources.

How to get started: Prospective majors are encouraged to take the introductory science course during their freshman year. There are five course options for this requirement: BIO 126: Energy Flow in Biological Systems, BIO 190: Global Change Biology, CHEM 128: Principles of Environmental Chemistry, ENTS 112: Conservation Biology, and GEOL 120: Introduction to Environmental Geology. In selecting from the five introductory science courses, prospective majors are encouraged to select the course that would be most relevant to their field of focus.

Learn more about the ENTS major