School of Humanities and Sciences

Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science

Susan M. Allen-Gil, Associate Professor and Chair

The program in environmental studies offers two majors. Environmental studies focuses on the humanities, including implementation, values, and aesthetics, while providing a strong science background. Environmental science focuses on the sciences and prepares students to conduct original research designed to solve environmental problems in the context of social values and economic and political reality.

Each year the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences accepts a limited number of internal transfer students. Information and application forms are available in the department office. Applications are reviewed each semester after midterm grades are available, and a decision is made before registration for the next semester. In addition to the requirements for transfer into the School of Humanities and Science, students must have received at least a B+ in one ENVS course. Meeting the requirements to apply for transfer to a degree program in environmental studies and sciences does not guarantee admission.

Environmental Studies, B.A.
Environmental Science, B.S.
Environmental Studies Minor

Major in Environmental Studies

Environmental studies is an interdisciplinary major dealing with questions and issues that pertain to the interaction between humanity and nature. No one discipline can possibly cover such a broad area for reflection; consequently, students in this major are required to develop considerable intellectual breadth. The core curriculum requires not only a significant amount of science, but also perspective areas in policy, economics, ecology, and social-cultural realms. Majors in both environmental studies and environmental science share a cultural immersion requirement and the senior capstone experience -- a real, applied project -- which integrates the experiences of students with different skills and training and prepares them for graduate school or environmental careers. All students participate in Senior Research and Capstone Discussion Group. Together these two courses constitute the capstone experience, providing all students with the opportunity to integrate various elements of their education and become prepared for graduate school or environmental careers.

Requirements for the Major in Environmental Studies -- B.A.

Required courses

ENVS 10100

Environmental Seminar I

0.5

ENVS 12000

Environmental Sentinels

4

ENVS 12100

Environmental Science and Technology

4

ENVS 22000

Cultural and Physical Geography

3

ENVS 22100

Interdisciplinary Physical Science

4

MATH 14400, MATH 14500, or MATH 21600

Statistics for Business, Economics, and Management; Statistics for the Health, Life, and Social Sciences; or Introduction to Mathematical Statistics

3-4

HIST 27000

History of American Environmental Thought

3

ENVS 32200

Environmental Research Methods

4

ENVS 40100 Environmental Seminar II 0.5
Cultural Immersion Experience 0
Total, required courses 26-27


Cultural immersion requirement

This requirement is designed to help students discover alternative ways of addressing environmental problems by developing an insider's view that can help broaden their perspectives as well as provide sources for innovative solutions. To satisfy this non-credit-bearing requirement, students must complete an experiential or service- or community-based learning activity and put their communication skills to use with diverse audiences. Students can choose from a wide variety of experiences to satisfy this requirement, but each cultural immersion experience must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must be related to environmental studies or science in some way.
  2. It must include at least 40 hours of direct involvement with people from a culture or socioeconomic class other than what the student has experienced to date.
  3. It must be a deeper, more critical cultural immersion experience than travel or observation alone, and it should provide opportunities for students to evaluate situations from local people's perspective.
  4. It should enable students to acquire an awareness of how their own culture informs them about other cultures and is used subjectively to make sense of cultural differences.
  5. It requires students to be active participants in the culture, and not just an observer; in other words, students should strive to be in a situation where some of their daily comforts and predictability are different or absent.

Students must develop a written proposal for their cultural immersion experience, obtain approval in advance, document their experience through written reflection and an electronic portfolio, and present their portfolio as part of the Capstone Discussion Group course in their senior year.

Perspective area requirement

Select one course from each of the following areas:

Ecological Perspective

(from list of approved ecological-based courses available from department)

4

Policy Perspective

(from list of approved policy-based courses available from department)

3

Economic Perspective

(from list of approved economic-based courses available from department)

3

Social and Cultural Perspective

(from list of approved social/cultural-based courses available from department)

3
Total, perspective area requirement 13

Concentration

Concentrations of 15 credits allow students to develop an area of expertise through interdisciplinary upper-level coursework. The following are requirements for concentrations:

  1. At least five courses
  2. Level-1 courses are prohibited.
  3. At least three courses must be at level 3.
  4. At least one level-3 course must be in ENVS.
  5. Courses taken to fulfill the perspective area requirement (above) cannot also count toward the concentration.

Students must submit their concentration to the department chair for approval no later than the second semester of their sophomore year.

Total, concentration 15

Capstone experience

ENVS 45000 Senior Research 3
ENVS 45100 Capstone Discussion Group 1
Total, capstone experience 4

Summary

Total, core courses

26-27

Total, perspective area courses

13

Total, concentration courses 15
Total, capstone experience 4
Total, courses in the major 58-59

Electives

61-62

Total, B.A. in environmental studies

120

Sample Concentrations

Students may choose a concentration that falls into one of the categories described below. On the department website, students can find a listing of suggested courses that provides more detail about how they might plan their concentrations.

These course listings are developed in consultation with the departments that offer relevant courses. Because upper-level courses often have prerequisites, careful planning by the student is essential to making sure the requirements can be met. Students whose interests do not match any of the concentration options listed below, and who have demonstrated a sense of direction about their career path, may design their own concentration area with approval of their adviser (a special form is available for this purpose on the department website). All students must submit their proposed concentration to the Department Curriculum Committee for approval no later than the second semester of their sophomore year. Although the concentrations do not require a credit-bearing internship, students are encouraged to seek such opportunities either for credit or as summer employment. A list of applied experiences is also available on the department website.
Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Health

This concentration explores the relationship between human health and environmental change. Students select courses that address such topics as the relationship between environmental problems and human health; the role of public health in shaping environmental policy; and the relationship between diet (and therefore agriculture) and human health. Specific courses that are appropriate for this concentration may be found in the Departments of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Philosophy, Economics, Sociology, Speech Communication, and Health Promotion and Physical Education.

Policy

This concentration explores the fundamental importance of policy and politics on environmental issues and problems. Students select courses that address such topics as: the relationship between regulatory frameworks (including but not limited to laws) and environmental problems; the role of the state in shaping human behavior toward the environment; and the transnational nature of environmental regulation in the 21st century. Specific courses that are appropriate for this concentration may be found in the Departments of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Politics, Philosophy, Economics, and Sociology, as well as through the legal studies program in the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies.

Communication

This concentration explores the fundamental importance of communication in both framing and solving environmental issues and problems. Students select courses that address such topics as: the importance of good written and oral communication to solving environmental problems, as well as the role of the media in shaping human behavior toward the environment. Specific courses that are appropriate for this concentration may be found in the Departments of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Writing, Speech Communication, and Strategic Communication.

Environmental and outdoor education

This concentration explores the fundamental importance of education in both framing and solving environmental issues and problems. Students select courses that address such topics as: the role of education (both formal and informal) in shaping society and social values; the importance of education in the outdoors for identifying and solving environmental problems; and the role of education in forging environmental and recreational values. Specific courses that are appropriate for this concentration may be found in the Departments of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Education, Sociology, and Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Anthropology

This concentration explores the ways in which individual cultures interact with their natural environments. Students select courses that focus on particular geographic areas, including South Asia, Mesoamerica, North America, the southwest United States, and South America. Specific courses that are appropriate for this concentration may be found in the Departments of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Anthropology, and Sociology.

Major in Environmental Science

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary program that provides strong training in the sciences and a background in related courses in the humanities. In addition, the environmental science major develops a significant expertise in one of the three focal areas. Majors in both environmental studies and environmental science share in the senior capstone experience -- a real, applied project -- which integrates the experiences of students with different skills and training and prepares them for graduate school or environmental careers. All students participate in Senior Research and Capstone Discussion Group. Together these two courses constitute the capstone experience, providing all students with the opportunity to integrate various elements of their education and become prepared for graduate school or environmental careers.

Requirements for the Major in Environmental Science -- B.S.

Core courses

ENVS 10100 Environmental Seminar I 0.5
ENVS 12000 Environmental Sentinels 4
ENVS 12100 Environmental Science and Technology 4
ENVS 13000 Earth System Science I 4
ENVS 22000 Cultural and Physical Geography 3
ENVS 32200 Environmental Research Methods 4
ENVS 40100 Environmental Seminar II 0.5
BIOL 12200 Principles of Biology II 4
CHEM 12100 Principles of Chemistry 4
PHYS 11700 Principles of Physics I 4
PHYS 12000 Introductory Applied Physics Laboratory 3
MATH 11100 Calculus I 4
MATH 14400 Statistics for Business, Economics, and Management or
MATH 14500 Statistics for the Health, Life, and Social Sciences or
MATH 21600 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics 3-4
HIST 27000 History of American Environmental Thought 3
Cultural Immersion 0
Total 45-46

Cultural immersion requirement

This requirement is designed to help students to discover alternative ways of addressing environmental problems by developing an insider's view that can help broaden their perspectives as well as provide sources for innovative solutions. To satisfy this non-credit-bearing requirement, students must complete an experiential or service- or community-based learning activity and put their communication skills to use with diverse audiences. Students can choose from a wide variety of experiences to satisfy this requirement, but each cultural immersion experience must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must be related to environmental studies or science in some way.
  2. It must include at least 40 hours of direct involvement with people from a culture or socioeconomic class other than what the student has experienced to date.
  3. It must be a deeper, more critical cultural immersion experience than travel or observation alone, and should provide opportunities for students to evaluate situations from local people's perspective.
  4. It should enable students to acquire an awareness of how their own culture informs them about other cultures and is used subjectively to make sense of cultural differences.
  5. It requires students to be active participants in the culture, and not just an observer; in other words, students should strive to be in a situation where some of their daily comforts and predictability are different or absent.

Students must develop a written proposal for their cultural immersion experience, obtain approval in advance, document their experience through written reflection and an electronic portfolio, and present their portfolio as part of the Capstone Discussion Group course in their senior year.

Restricted science electives

Select a minimum of two foundational natural science courses from the list below (students can take only one course in each discipline):

BIOL 12100 Principles of Biology I
BIOL 27100 General Ecology
CHEM 22100 Organic Chemistry I
ENVS 13100 Earth System Science II
PHYS 11800 Principles of Physics II
Total, restricted science electives 7

Perspective area requirement

Select one course in two of the following perspective areas:

Policy Perspective (from list of approved policy-based courses available from the department)
Economic Perspective (from list of approved economic-based courses available from the department)
Social and Cultural Perspective (from list of approved social- and cultural-based courses available from the department)
Total, perspective area requirement 6

Concentration

A minimum of 15 credits in ENVS, BIOL, CHEM, PHYS at level 2 or higher. These credits must include

  1. Two lab-based courses
  2. Two courses at level 3 or higher
  3. Two ENVS courses

Students must submit their concentration to the department chair no later than the first semester of their junior year.

Total, concentration 15

Capstone experience

ENVS 45000 Senior Research 3
ENVS 45100 Capstone Discussion Group 1
Total, capstone experience 4

Summary

Total, core courses 45-46
Total, restricted science electives 7
Total, perspective area courses 6
Total, concentration courses 15
Total, capstone experience 4
Total, courses in the major 77-81
Electives 39-43
Total, B.S. in environmental science 120

Minor in Environmental Studies

The interdisciplinary minor in environmental studies at Ithaca College is administered by the School of Humanities and Sciences. The objectives of the minor are (1) to introduce students to the substance and complexity of environmental issues, and (2) to explain what they must know before they can begin to participate in responsible discussion and policy making on any level.

Students pursue eight courses for an integrated inquiry into two related areas:

  • Area I, foundations in science: toward an understanding of and an appreciation for the principles of ecology, and thus a recognition of the necessity for integrity and stability in the natural environment
  • Area II, cultural solutions: an analysis of economic, political, cultural, and intellectual forces that motivate adverse human impact on the natural environment and encouragement of an "active hope" for solutions to environmental issues.

Requirements for the Minor in Environmental Studies

Area I: Foundations in science

(9-16 credits; minimum of three courses)

Select a minimum of one survey of biology from the following:

BIOL 12000

Fundamentals of Biology II

4

BIOL 12200

Principles of Biology II

4

Select a minimum of one environmental survey course from the following:

BIOL 10400

Environmental Biology

3

BIOL 15100

Environmental Science

4

BIOL 27100

General Ecology

4

BIOL 27500

Field Biology

4

PHYS 17100

Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World

3

PHYS 17200

Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World with Lab

4

Select a minimum of one chemistry course from the following:

CHEM 10200

Contemporary Chemical Issues

3

CHEM 10500

Energy and the Environment

3

CHEM 11700

Environmental Chemistry

3

Total, area 1

10-11

Area II: Cultural perspectives

12 credits; a minimum of four courses, of which at least one is in the humanities and one is in the social sciences. A list of approved electives is available on the department website.
Environmental Studies and Sciences

Total, area I

10-11

Total, area II

12

Total, minor in environmental studies

22-23

Students should be aware that many of the courses in area II have prerequisites not required for the minor. Therefore, to successfully complete the minor, it is important to plan carefully and seek advice early from a minor adviser. Courses listed as seminar or tutorial apply only if the topic is appropriate to the minor and prior approval is granted by the environmental studies program coordinator.