Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws on knowledge and analytical tools from many areas of study to understand the function of natural ecosystems, the effects of human societies on the environment, and the role that the environment has played in shaping human cultures and artistic endeavors. The major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability prepares students for careers in policy-making, education, conservation, government service, research, and the arts. Students will also be well prepared to work for non-governmental organizations or enter into post-graduate studies in environmental law, urban planning, and scientific disciplines such as ecology.
The student learning outcomes of the major are:
I. to understand the fundamental scientific principles that govern the operation of natural ecosystems;
II. to gain an appreciation for the effects of the human economic activities and governmental policies on the environment;
III. to explore interdisciplinary approaches to, and become effective leaders for, environmental sustainability and justice;
IV. to explore ethical, spiritual, cultural, and psychological dimensions of human relationships to non-human nature;
V. to consider the ways in which the natural world has inspired creative endeavors in literature and the arts;
VI. to integrate material from the various disciplines into a coherent framework for understanding the role of humans in the environment
To ensure a broad and multidisciplinary background in the study of the environment, all students will take courses from and complete work in the following three areas of study:
1) Science and the Biosphere (scientific approaches to understanding environmental issues),
2) Interdisciplinary Thinking and the Environment (policy, economic, and educational viewpoints on human relationships with non-human nature), and
3) Creative, Ethical, and Spiritual Perspectives on Ecology (artistic, philosophical, and spiritual considerations).
4) Students will also complete a senior capstone experience that will integrate concepts and methods of environmental studies with those of another academic discipline.
Professional Development: Throughout her Wesleyan education each student is given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and PDE 401 Professional Practice Seminar.
Integrative Experience: An integrative experience is required of each student as part of the general education program. The integrative experience requirement is met with ESC/BIO 440 Senior Integrative Exercise in the Life Sciences. In this course, students work individually to research a focused topic integrating concepts and methods of Environmental Studies with those of another discipline. Students work collaboratively in a small group to organize oral presentations which integrate individual topics into a broader theme, question, or problem. Students present their work at the end of the semester.
Major requirements: Environmental Studies and Sustainability. (40 hours)
Minor Requirements: Environmental Science (32 hours)
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