Study the environment from diverse perspectives

  • Wind Farm

Program Overview

The mission of the Environmental Studies major at Franklin & Marshall College is to train and nurture effective leaders, professionals, and environmentally literate citizens who possess a broad view and balanced background that a liberal arts education provides. The world needs more thinkers, writers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, inventors, and educators with deep foundations in environmental knowledge and perspectives. Humans shape and are shaped by their environment, reflect upon it in works of art and literature, and depend upon it for every need. A source of beauty, meaning and inspiration, it demands our careful attention. Environmental Studies represents and epitomizes a liberal arts education; nothing less is required to meet the environmental challenges of the twenty-first century.

F&M’s Environmental Studies major, located in a traditionally strong natural science department, boasts depth in public policy and social sciences, with diverse offerings in the humanities. Our program highlights the intersections of human history and values with environmental change. Through the study of literature, writing, political science, business, history, law, and other fields, our students explore the complex interactions of physical and biological processes with cultural, political and economic forces.

Environmental Studies uses an interdisciplinary approach to study critical issues of our times, like global warming, ecotourism, and wilderness protection. Interaction with the Public Policy Program, the Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment, the Local Economy Center, and various campus sustainability initiatives takes advantage of interest in the environment across the College community.

Skills Development

  1. Critical thinking and reading, and analytical writing and research (ranging from guided to independent).

  2. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data; students undertake courses in the natural and physical, as well as social, sciences, and engage with both types of analysis. Various courses address how to make environmental and social decisions in the face of scientific uncertainty.

  3. Team collaboration, how to achieve consensus; students work in groups at the capstone level, some classes have simulations that build negotiation skills, and some classes include peer review strategies.

  4. Communicate orally and in writing to diverse audiences, ranging from the general public to specialists in a variety of disciplines. Engage in respectful discourse in class discussions, give presentations, and lead discussions. Take part in opportunities to present individual research, attend conferences, and interact with guest speakers.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop understanding of and broad ability to explain human-environment relations in an interdisciplinary manner, including but not limited to, policy, ethics, natural science, history, philosophy, literature, and arts. [disciplinary knowledge]

  2. Cultivate an ability to analyze and articulate various environmental challenges and opportunities, including but not limited to, climate change, environmental governance, wilderness, biodiversity, land ethics, natural resource use and management, and environmental justice. [themes]

  3. Evaluate real-world applications of socio-environmental analysis, including the understanding of policy responses and the historical and cultural dimensions of social and ecological systems.

Off Campus Study

Study abroad is encouraged. Contacts with local, state, and national environmental professionals enhance the program, and generate possibilities for internships and employment.

 

Curriculum and Courses

Study of the Earth draws on all traditional disciplines.  As we learn how the Earth works, we must develop the means and the political will to manage it appropriately.

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