Environmental Studies Major
Overview of the DepartmentEnvironmental Studies combines the strengths of disciplinary work in the contributing departments together with interdisciplinary studies, giving both broad and focused perspectives on environmental problems and issues. The Environmental Studies Department offers a Major in Environmental Studies with three tracks in which students may choose to focus their work: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. In many cases work in these tracks overlaps with traditional departmental curricula, and students may choose to complete a second major there.
All students majoring in Environmental Studies will take a common introductory course in environmental studies, complete an experiential component during their studies, and take a capstone course. Additional coursework provides both breadth and depth within a track and emphasizes the multidimensionality of environmental study. Students wishing to count courses not specifically designated as satisfying requirements for the major may petition the Chair prior to enrollment.
Requirements for the Major
- ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES 137
- SENIOR CAPSTONE (ENVST 399) All students majoring in Environmental Studies take the senior seminar in their final semester on campus. The course generally focuses on local or regional environmental themes and issues.
- EXPERIENTIAL COMPONENT
All students majoring in Environmental Studies will participate in an experience that applies basic knowledge in a setting beyond the classroom. This may be one of the off-campus environmental studies courses/programs, or an internship, or a research project approved by the Chair. Guidelines and a planning document are available from the chair.
Together the Environmental Studies Department and The Harry C. Piper Center for Vocation and Career has created a handout/timeline describing ways you can integrate experiential learning opportunities throughout your work at St. Olaf. The Piper Center also maintains a database of past internship sites for ES students as well as the resource, Ole Career Central.
Worksheets for the Major Tracks:
The Environmental Studies Faculty awards Distinction at graduation to senior majors who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship and creativity in ES courses during their years at St. Olaf and who have participated in a significant project outside the required curriculum. A set of guidelines for seniors (note March 15 deadline) wishing to apply is available as a PDF document and the description of the college's understanding of distinction can be found in the college catalog.
INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES
Click on the department's intended learning outcomes for ES majors to discover more about them.
In addition to the major the department offers a Concentration in Environmental Studies for students wishing to complement a disciplinary major with a smaller core of courses and electives focused on the environment.
Professor of Biology Kathy Shea works with a student in the college's natural lands.