Environmental Studies

Welcome to the Environmental Studies webpage. On this page you'll find the mission of the department, departmental student learning goals, a curricular map and assessment schedule, and progress made from the most recent Program Review Action Plan (2014-2015). If you have questions about the assessment findings or questions about the department, please contact Derek Larson, Environmental Studies Department Chair, at [email protected].


We recognize that human beings and the world we share with all creation presently face unprecedented environmental challenges. The coming century will confront all of humanity to devise a sustainable destiny for Earth and all its inhabitants. Citizens who want a voice in determining the fate of the planet require knowledge and experience in a wide variety of disciplines, since this quest raises fundamental questions about human values, lifestyles, and our place in nature. Environmental studies takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of human interactions with the natural environment. It integrates the different perspectives of the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences, and physical sciences and applies these perspectives to pressing environmental concerns.

The CSB/SJU major in environmental studies is rooted in the principals of a liberal arts, Benedictine education. As a major in the liberal arts tradition, it strives for a broad, interdisciplinary understanding. As a program rooted in Christian institutions, it affirms the goodness of the natural world and encourages respect and care for God's creation in all its diversity. As a reflection of our Benedictine heritage, it prepares students to take an active part in contemporary life and to exert leadership in response to one of the greatest social and moral challenges of our time.


  • Graduates will meet an established standard for environmental literacy.
  • Graduates will demonstrate the ability to analyze environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Graduates will participate in experiential learning (service learning, internships, volunteer work) as a means of exploring the practical application of their knowledge, gaining jobs skills, and broadening the positive environmental impacts of their academic work.
  • Graduates will be able to analyze a variety of ethical standards toward the environment, including those of the Catholic and Benedictine traditions.
  • Graduates will possess the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in entry-level positions with public natural resource agencies and similar private environmental organizations.
  • Graduates will be prepared to begin advanced study in appropriate cognate fields.
  • Graduates will be equipped with the tools necessary to establish patterns of life-long appreciation of and stewardship for the environment.
  • Graduates will possess the analytical, research, and communication skills necessary to educate themselves about and to take action on important future environmental issues within their communities.


Curricular map ENVR 150 ENVR 175 ENVR 250 ENVR 275 ENVR 320 ENVR 395
Learning Goals Intro to Envr Studies Earth Systems Science Envr Methods and Analysis Humans and the Environment Research Colloquium Research Seminar
1 X (F19)          
2 X (F19)          
3 X (F19)          
4 X (S18)          
5   X (F20)        
6   X (F20)        
7   X (F20)        
8   X (F20)        
9   X (F20)        
10   X (S19)        
11   X (S19)        
12   X (S19)        
13   X (S18)        
14   X (S18)        
15       X (F20)    
16       X (F20)    
17       X (F20)    
18       X (F20)    
19     X (F19)      
20     X (F19)      
21     X (F19)      
22     X (F19)      
23     X (F19)      
24         X (F18)  
25         X (F18)  
26         X (S20)  
27         X (S20)  
28         X (S20)  
29           X (F18)
30           X (F18)
31           X (F18)
32           X (F18)

Learning Goals:

  1. Demonstrate why an interdisciplinary perspectives are necessary in developing solutions to environmental problems.
  2. Evaluate environmental claims made in the public sphere by critically analyzing texts and films focused on current environmental issues.
  3. Articulate and evaluate how personal lifestyle choices impact local, national, and global environments.
  4. Synthesize information on a specific environmental issue in succinct and well-written form.
  5. Use the scientific process to conduct an investigation to answer a given question.
  6. Solve or analyze challenging problems using qualitative and/or quantitative sources of information.
  7. Apply scientific principles to real life.
  8. Demonstrate clear and concise communication of the methods, results and conclusions of a scientific investigation.
  9. Evaluate scientific information, ideas and claims.
  10. Describe the structure of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
  11. Describe and explain the major processes within the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
  12. Describe and explain major interactions among the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
  13. Explain the dependence of human beings on natural systems.
  14. Explain the impact of human activities on natural systems.
  15. Students will summarize and synthesize scientific literature related to environmental issues.
  16. Students will collect primary data related to various environmental questions.
  17. Students will be able to create displays of quantitative data and use them effectively in reports.
  18. Students will analyze the results of their research with respect to their hypotheses.
  19. Use primary data collection and analysis, both quantitative and qualitative to answer a research question.
  20. Critically evaluate visual displays of quantitative and qualitative information, and be able to design and create their own graphics.
  21. Present the results of their research, orally, graphically, and in writing
  22. Apply basic statistics, including sampling strategies, normal distributions, histograms, standard deviations, p-values, t-tests, and correlation.
  23. Understand, evaluate, and correctly interpret published research in environmental studies fields and in the popular media.
  24. Practice critical reading, analysis, and discussion skills
  25. Master Chicago Style citations and use of Endnote.
  26. Manage a literature search and corresponding bibliography.
  27. Design and carry out a research project based on secondary sources and data.
  28. Create and present a poster based on their own research.
  29. The thesis will provide evidence that the problem is real, significant, recognized by others, and of appropriate scale/scope for the project
  30. The thesis will incorporate original research or data analysis into the core argument of the project
  31. The thesis will propose a solution to the central problem that is sustainable and realistic
  32. The thesis will reflect the interdisciplinary orientation of the ES major in method and intellectual orientation