About Environmental Studies

Our Program & Courses

Environmental studies is a major and minor at F&M. You’ll study critical issues of our times: global warming and climate change, environmental justice, alternative energy sources, wilderness protection, ecotourism, and natural resource management. By blending knowledge of environmental policy and science with environmental economics, government, anthropology, social sciences, and other fields including business, literature, history, and the humanities, you’ll develop a deep foundation in environmental knowledge and perspectives, empowering you to become an effective leader, professional, and environmentally literate citizen of the world. 

If there is a particular area of environmental studies that most fascinates you, you can craft a specialization within the major. While this is not required, you can choose to specialize in environmental policy and law, environmental justice, biodiversity conservation, food and agriculture, climate change, environmental economics and business, or environment and society. 

By the time you graduate, you will: 

  • Have developed an understanding of and broad ability to explain the relationship between humans and the environment and how that association connects to policy, ethics, natural science, history, philosophy, literature, and arts
  • Have cultivated an ability to analyze and articulate various environmental challenges and opportunities, such as climate change, environmental governance, wilderness, biodiversity, land ethics, natural resource use and management, and environmental justice
  • Be able to evaluate real-world applications of socio-environmental analysis, including understanding policy responses and the historical and cultural dimensions of social and ecological systems

Wondering what environmental studies classes are like? Take a look at our course catalog to explore what classes you can expect.

Our Faculty & Staff

Tim Bechtel

Director of F&M Science Outreach & Senior Teaching Professor of Geosciences

Africana Studies

Contact »

Melissa W Betrone

Academic Department Coordinator for Earth & Environment and Business Organizations and Society; Program Coordinator of STS

Business, Organizations and Society; Science, Technology and Society

Contact »

Eve Bratman

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Contact »

Elizabeth M De Santo

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Program Chair of Environmental Studies

Contact »

Justin W Herbert

Associate Director of Prospect Management & Research

Earth and Environment

Contact »

Eric Hirsch

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Latin American Studies

Contact »

Zeshan Ismat

Professor of Geosciences, Program Chair of International Studies

Contact »

James S Jolles

Interim Assistant Director of the Writing Center, Adjunct Assistant Professor Earth & Environment

Contact »

Dorothy J Merritts

Harry W. & Mary B. Huffnagle Professor of Geosciences, Weis College House Don

Contact »

Karen R Mertzman

Laboratory Technician

Contact »

Valerie Romero

Experiential Elementary Science Teaching Coordinator

Contact »

Eric A Schwarz

Research Associate of Earth & Environment

Contact »

Simon Shenk

Research Assistant

Contact »

James Strick

Professor, Program Chair of Science, Technology and Society

Earth and Environment

Contact »

Robert C Walter

The Dr. Earl D. Stage & Mary E. Stage Professor of Geosciences, Department Chair of Earth & Environment

Contact »

Christopher J Williams

Professor of Environmental Science

Contact »

Emily L Wilson

Research Lab Manager & Technician

Contact »

Jeremy Zimmerman

Research Assistant

Contact »

Andrew P de Wet

Professor of Geosciences, Program Chair of Environmental Science

Contact »

Carol B de Wet

Dr. E. Paul & Frances H. Reiff Professor of Geosciences, Emerita

Contact »

Roger D Thomas

John Williamson Nevin Professor of Geosciences, Emeritus and Visiting Scholar of Earth & Environment

Science, Technology and Society

Contact »

Robert A Wiebe

Emeritus Professor

Contact »

Robert S Sternberg

Emeritus Professor of Geosciences

Contact »

Stanley A Mertzman

Dr. Earl D. Stage and Mary E. Stage Professor of Geosciences, Emeritus

Contact »

Learning Outside the Classroom

In the Field

F&M’s location provides the perfect landscape for studying the environment. Lancaster County’s flourishing agricultural industry, the nearby Susquehanna River, and F&M’s Spalding Nature Conservancy provide exciting learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Environmental studies students also pursue internships with environmental nonprofits, government agencies, and local organizations. Many of our students intern with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which includes a competitive application process.

Research Opportunities

If there’s an environmental studies area or idea you’re eager to explore, you won’t have to wait until graduate school to launch your investigation. Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to work closely with professors in faculty-led research or engage in an independent research project.
Explore research at F&M

Center for the Sustainable Environment

Many of our students get involved with F&M’s Center for the Sustainable Environment (CSE), our hub for global environmental stewardship and sustainability on campus. The CSE is home to a seminar room, a field-work laboratory space, a meeting space for sustainable clubs on campus, and more. Many students work in the CSE or participate in its extracurricular activities, food composting workshops, wild food tastings, and guest speaker presentations.

Explore the CSE

Off-Campus Study

Off-campus study, in the U.S. and internationally, is encouraged. Environmental studies students have studied abroad in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, and have even spent a semester at sea. 

Explore off-campus study at F&M


Earn Master of Forestry (M.F.) or Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.)

In partnership with Duke University, F&M enables you to earn a bachelor’s degree from F&M and a master’s degree from Duke in five years. 

Degree options from Duke include: 

  • Master of Forestry, with a concentration in Forest Resource Management 
  • Master of Environmental Management, with your environmental concentration choice of:
    • Ecosystems and Conservation
    • Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health
    • Energy
    • Marine and Coastal Systems
    • Water Resource Management
  • Master of Environmental Management, with your management concentration choice of:
    • Business and Finance
    • Data Analytics
    • Environmental Economics and Policy
    • Equity, Justice and Community Engagement

You may spend either three or four years at F&M, during which time you’ll complete all requirements for your chosen major, and all F&M general education requirements. You will then transfer to Duke for one or two years.

Entrepreneurship at F&M

In the spirit of living up to Benjamin Franklin’s legacy of creating solutions in the service of the public good, Entrepreneurship at F&M is a program that offers exciting opportunities for all students to explore and develop entrepreneurial skills. Environmental studies students have used their education to develop entrepreneurial opportunities in groundwater exploration; environmental consulting, carbon capture and sequestration; and natural resource management.

  • The F&M Incubator, which offers opportunities for students to bring their creative solutions to life. You’ll work in a team and you may receive mentoring, specialized support, and/or project funding. You’ll also attend a series of workshops on customer identification, design thinking, marketing and legal considerations, and other topics.  
  • A summer entrepreneurship experience during which you’ll earn course credit and gain real-world experience for your resume while discovering and mastering the entrepreneurial skills needed to bring innovation to any organization. You’ll be matched as a paid intern with sponsoring startups, entrepreneurs, and other organizations that are looking to innovate or disrupt the status quo across a variety of industries.
  • Workshops that introduce, discuss, or focus on entrepreneurship methods and insight
  • Events featuring F&M alumni and members of the wider community who have changed the status quo in all sectors of the economy and society

Explore entrepreneurship at F&M

Success Beyond F&M

What do environmental studies majors typically do after college? Many of our graduates go on to enjoy successful careers in a wide range of professions and enroll in prestigious graduate programs. You’ll also find alumni support in the Geoscience Founders Society , an organization committed to maintaining connections between current F&M students and faculty with alumni and friends.

Graduate School

A liberal arts background in environmental studies prepares our graduates to go on to excellent graduate programs after F&M. Many pursue advanced degrees in government, law, sustainability, environmental and energy management, and environmental science. 


Environmental studies graduates often pursue teaching and public service fellowships with organizations such as Teach for America and Americorps. They also go on to complete fellowships overseas with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, for which F&M is recognized as a top-producing institution

Learn more about fellowships

Career Paths

Environmental studies graduates are prepared to embark on a wide range of career paths, including positions in government, business, nonprofits, and research. They hold positions such as:

  • Environmental, Health, and Safety Specialist
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Head of Sustainability
  • Vice President, Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG)
  • Forestry Coordinator
  • Urban Planner
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Project Manager
  • Associate Director
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Policy Analyst
  • Prospective Gifts Manager
  • Senior Consultant
  • Director of Communications and Community Engagement
  • Manager, Government Relations

Student Spotlight

F&M Compost Co-Op Diverts Costs and CO2 in Lancaster

A Franklin & Marshall College compost initiative has evolved into a co-op saving the City of Lancaster $5,215 per year – all while diverting 16,638 pounds of food waste from the solid-waste stream each month. Three students spent their summer evaluating and co-authoring a white paper documenting the co-op's first year in terms of cost savings and social impact.
Read More »

Student Spotlight

A Morning at Spalding Conservancy

Take a stroll through Franklin & Marshall’s Spalding Conservancy on any given day, and you might just find yourself in the middle of a student research project. The 54-acre property is home to flora, fauna and countless discoveries. On a crisp morning during reading days, William Li '23 refilled bird feeders at Baker Campus, a wide swath of green space abutting the Spalding woodlands.
Read More »

Related Fields of Study

Earth and Environmental Science

Explore critical environmental issues of today through a scientific lens. By studying earth and environmental science at F&M, you will build the necessary biological, chemical, and geological foundation you need to study the earth and understand the dynamics between humans and our environment.

Social Entrepreneurship Certificate

Are you interested in having a positive impact on the world around you? F&M’s social entrepreneurship certificate leverages best practices in innovation, social change, and startups to address the social issues that matter most to you.

Sustainability Planning Certificate

Sustainability planning is an increasing need in the marketplace. F&M’s sustainability planning certificate provides the glue that bonds biology; earth and environment; and business, organizations and society to prepare students interested in careers in sustainable practices.

May 2, 2023

Alum Oversees Wildlife at Zion National Park

Wolves, bear, bison, elk — Franklin & Marshall College alumna Janice Stroud-Settles '00 has studied them all (and more). On the heels of National Park Week, Stroud-Settles gave us a...Alum Janice Stroud-Settles '00 gave us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life as the wildlife program manager for Zion National Park.

April 25, 2023

'I Left As a Leader': Young Alumni Share Stories

In a panel sponsored by the Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow program, Franklin & Marshall College graduates Emma Corrado '16, Wyatt Behringer '18 and Danielle Sang '18 spoke to students...In a panel sponsored by the Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow program, young graduates spoke to the strength of an F&M degree.

November 11, 2022

F&M Compost Co-Op Diverts Costs and CO2 in Lancaster

A Franklin & Marshall College compost initiative has evolved into a co-op saving the City of Lancaster $5,215 per year — all while diverting 16,638 pounds of food waste from the solid-waste...The Lancaster Composting Co-Ops (LCC) has grown to 250 households. Households drop off 199,656 pounds of food waste to compost yearly.