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Environmental Studies Curriculum

The environmental studies program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment. The curriculum is designed to help students integrate perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and fine arts. Because environmental problems and their potential solutions do not stop at disciplinary boundaries, the curriculum teaches students to approach a particular topic not simply as a question of biology, politics, or theology, but rather to combine these (and many more) perspectives to better understand environmental issues in all their complexity. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the major, it is not uncommon for students to choose a second major or minor that reflects their particular passion.

The major consists of 53 credits, divided into five groups:

prairie lab

  • Group One: Interdisciplinary Core
    Designed to introduce the ideas, concepts, and methodology of the Environmental Studies field.
  • Group Two: Natural Science
    Designed to offer students lab-based, scientific perspective on environmental and sustainability issues.
  • Group Three: Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Electives
    Designed to be focused topically, rather than by discipline, and bring the method of multiple disciplines to study.
  • Group Four: Disciplinary Humanities/Fine Arts Electives
    Designed to bring the perspective of art, literature, history, philosophy, and theology issues of environment and sustainability.
  • Group Five: Disciplinary Social Science Electives
    Designed to apply social science approaches to issues of environment and sustainability.


ES Major Requirements

ES Minor Requirements


 What do our alumni have to say about the curriculum?

Environmental Science has been one of my favorite classes because it gave me the opportunity to apply what I have learned in the class out in the field, for we did a lot of field work relating to the prairies that are in Saint John's Arboretum. I also enjoyed this course because I felt that being able to utilize the Saint John's Arboretum for a learning experience was extremely helpful

My courses in aquatic ecology, plant systematics and environmental science equipped me with skills that have been especially useful during job and internship hunting. I am especially able to drawn upon and apply my skills in plant identification and invasive species. At CSB/SJU, we don’t just memorize pictures of plants, we are able to go out into the Arboretum to search for and identify plants and invasive species in the field during our lab, which allowed me to get a much better connection to what I was learning.

My favorite environmental class has been “Food, Gender and Environment”…I really liked the discussions amongst students with the guidance of Professor Diane Veale Jones. The class intimately connected me to my food. It altered my whole eating choices in a positive way. I am now aware that there is food that is both good for you and good for the earth

Two of my favorite environmental studies classes have been God and Nature and Environmental Science II. God and Nature was fascinating because it presented an alternative perspective of theology and exposed me to eco-feminism. I enjoyed Environmental Science II because of the field work that was directly related to what we learned in class. We participated in prescribed burns when learning about prairie management and designed our own homes when discussing energy efficiency.