Major & Minor

The Environmental Studies Major

The Environmental Studies major is interdisciplinary with courses that draw from the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Students choose either a Bachelor’s of Arts degree (BA) or a Bachelor’s of Science degree (BS), and pursue an in-depth area of concentration. It is strongly recommended that upon declaring of the ES Major, students develop an ES major plan in consultation with an ES advisor. The plan should include a brief outline of future courses, internships, off-campus study, and independent research. While the plan may change, it encourages students to think intentionally about their academic careers and better prepare them to take full advantage of the learning opportunities available both on and off campus. Graduate schools often require particular coursework for admission, so students considering graduate school should speak with their ES advisors as early as possible.

Core Curriculum

Environmental studies majors, both BA and BS, take six core courses. Students typically take ES196 in their first year, and complete the 200-level core courses (211, 223, 225, and 230) by the end of the sophomore year. The 400-level capstone requirement is met in the senior year.

  • ES 196 Environmental Science and Society
  • ES 211 Principles of Ecology
  • ES 223 Earth System Science
  • ES 225 Introduction to Environmental Humanities
  • ES 230 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • ES 400 Environmental Studies Seminar OR ES 460 Honors Thesis

 

Bachelor of Arts Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts degree comprises a minimum of 11 courses. In addition to the six core courses listed above, students must take five elective courses at the 200 or 300 level outside the core. Up to two elective courses may be taken off-campus or in other departments, subject to advisor approval. All majors should complete an area of concentration through their choice of electives.

Bachelor of Science Requirements

The Bachelor of Science degree comprises a minimum of 14 courses. In addition to the six core courses listed above, students will take:

  • Two year-long sequences in different natural science disciplines (pick sequences from two different columns below, 4 courses in total).
    Bio 111 and Bio 112 Chem 107 and Chem 108 Phy 103 and Phy 104
    Bio 111 and Bio 118   Phy 109 and Phy 110
    *Physics double majors only. Must also take PHYS211 to complete the introductory sequence.
  • One course in Mathematics and Statistics, chosen from the following:
    Bio 260 Biostatistics
    Math 105/Math 106 Calculus w/Precalculus
    Math 107 Applied Statistics
    Math 111 Calculus I
    Pol 215 Political Science Research Methods
    Those who have already satisfied the Math and Statistics requirement are recommended to take additional math or computer science courses, such as CS 111, DS 256 Data Science Programming, Math 211 Multivariable Calculus, or Math 212 Linear Algebra.
     
  • Three elective courses at the 200 or 300 level outside the core. Up to two elective courses may be taken off-campus or in other departments, subject to advisor approval. All majors should complete an area of concentration through their choice of electives.

Area of Concentration

All majors should complete an area of concentration through their electives. The area of concentration can be selected from the list below or self-designed in consultation with an ES advisor. Examples of self-designed concentrations include Environmental Education, Environmental Health, Environmental Film, and Nature & Culture. Concentrations comprise a minimum of two upper-level courses, but we recommend that you take as many courses as you can. If you are abroad when a course for your concentration is offered, your advisor may be able to suggest a substitute course.

Earth System Science. Completion of the BS degree plus…

  • ES 318 Glaciers and Records of Climate Change
  • ES 323 Geologic Disasters & Global Change
  • Also recommended: ES 363, ES 312

Energy and the Environment

  • ES 240 Energy Production and Use
  • Econ 258 Energy and Security (pre-req: Econ 103 or permission of instructor)
  • Also recommended: Economics Minor, Econ 341, Econ 344

Environmental Humanities

  • ES 319 Environmental Film OR ES 241: Environmental Journalism
  • Two of the following: ES 290/ES 390 Special Topics in Environmental Humanities, Hist 230 Native American-European Encounter in North America, Hist 371 Modern African Environments: History, Ecology, and People, Rel 226 Native American Religion, Rel 264 Religion and the Environment
  • Also recommended: Phil 232, Soc 247

Environmental Policy and Management

  • ES 333 Environmental Policy
  • ES 240 Energy Production and Use OR ES 251/252 Rocky Mountain West OR ES/Bio 316 Conservation Biology OR ES 334 Global Environment and Development or ES 309 Marine and Freshwater Fisheries
  • Also recommended: ES 241, ES 309, Anth 223, Econ 258, Econ 341, Econ 344, PP 221

Environmental Science. Completion of the BS degree plus…

  • Two ES Natural Science Electives: ES 251, ES 302, ES 304, ES/Bio 306, ES/Bio 316, ES 318, ES 323, ES 391

Environmental Writing and Popular Communication

  • ES 241 Environmental Journalism
  • ES 290 or ES 390 Special Topics in Environmental Humanities
  • One of the following: CIMS 218 Global Media Cultures, CIMS 226 Media and Cultural Theory, CIMS 230 Social Media Network
  • Also recommended: Writing Minor, CIMS Major or Minor

GIS and Spatial Analysis

  • ES 312 Environmental Applications of GIS or ES 304 Landscape Ecology
  • ES 363 Remote Sensing
  • One course in statistics (see list under BS core requirements)
  • Also recommended: Data Science Minor (the above three courses plus 8 more)

Landscape Ecology and Land Use

  • ES 312 Environmental Application of GIS or ES 304 Landscape Ecology
  • ES 333 Environmental Policy or ES 252 The Rocky Mountain West: Cultural Geography
  • Also recommended: ES 302, ES/Bio 306, ES 363

Marine and Freshwater Ecology. Completion of the BS degree plus…

  • ES/Bio 306 Marine Ecology
  • ES 309 Marine and Freshwater Fisheries OR Bio 307 Freshwater Ecology OR Bio 228 Tropical Marine Biology
  • Also recommended: ES 312, ES/Bio 316, ES 317, Bio 227, Bio 260

Sustainable Development

  • ES 334 Global Environment and Development
  • ES 333 Environmental Policy OR ES 240 Energy Production and Use OR ES 335 Gender and Environment
  • Also recommended: AFS 274, Anth 223, Hist 371, Pol 203, Soc 247 Environment, Society, and Justice

Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Completion of the BS degree plus…

  • ES 302 Wildlife Ecology OR ES/Bio 316 Conservation Biology
  • ES 312 Environmental Applications of GIS OR ES/Bio 306 Marine Ecology OR Bio 224 Vertebrate Zoology OR ES 309 Marine and Freshwater Fisheries
  • Also recommended: ES 334, Bio 260

Self-designed Concentration

  • 2-3 upper level courses centered on a theme, chosen in consultation with your advisor

Electives

Environmental Studies Courses

  • ES 240 Energy: Production and Use
  • ES 241 Environmental Journalism
  • ES 251 The Rocky Mountain West: Physical Geography
  • ES 252 The Rocky Mountain West: Cultural Geography
  • ES 290/390 Topics in Environmental Humanities
  • ES 291/391 Topics in Environmental Natural Science
  • ES 292/392 Topics in Environmental Social Sciences
  • ES 304 Landscape Ecology
  • ES 309 Marine and Fresh Water Fisheries
  • ES 363 Remote Sensing
  • ES 302 Wildlife Ecology
  • ES/Bio 306 Marine Ecology
  • ES 312 Environmental Applications of GIS
  • ES/Bio 316 Conservation Biology
  • ES 317 Chesapeake Bay: Science, Policy and Environmental Issues
  • ES 318 Glaciers and Records of Climate Change
  • ES 319 Environmental Film
  • ES 323 Geologic Disasters and Global Change
  • ES/Pol 333 Environmental Policy
  • ES 334 Global Environment and Development
  • ES 335 Gender and Environment

Generally electives must be taken at the 200 or 300 level. However, students may petition to count a 100-level ES or FYS course as an elective if it is the first ES course taken. Students who have taken ES 121 as their first ES course should meet with the Chair to discuss how to proceed with the major.

Sample Courses from other Departments

  • Anth 223 Indigenous Peoples, the Environment, and the Global Economy
  • AFS 274 Globalization and its Discontents: The Caribbean Case
  • Bio 211 Genetics
  • Bio 217 An Evolutionary Survey of the Plant Kingdom
  • Bio 224 Vertebrate Zoology
  • Bio 227 Invertebrate Zoology
  • Bio 228 Tropical Marine Biology
  • Bio 229 Tropical Terrestrial Biology
  • Bio 307 Freshwater Biology
  • Bio 314 Evolution
  • Chem 203 or 204 Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 317 Instrumental Analysis
  • Econ 258 Energy and Security
  • Econ 341 Environmental Economics
  • Econ 344 Energy Economics & Public Policy
  • Hist 230 Native American-European Encounter in North America
  • Hist 371 Modern African Environments: History, Ecology, and People
  • IDS 206 Native American Studies
  • Phil 232 Environmental Ethics
  • Pol 203 The Politics of Global Disasters
  • Pol 221 The Politics of Public Policy
  • Pol 327 State Politics and Policy
  • Pol 363 Politics of Developing Areas
  • Phy 352 Optics and Laser Physics
  • Rel 226 Native American Religions
  • Rel 264 Religion and the Environment
  • SOC 247 Environment, Society, and Justice

The Environmental Studies Minor

The Environmental Studies minor consists of six courses:

  • ES 196 Environmental Science and Society
  • ES 211 Principles of Ecology OR ES 223 Earth System Science (May take both and use second course as elective)
  • ES 225 Introduction to Environmental Humanities
  • ES 230 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • Two ES elective courses at the 200 or 300 level. One elective may be taken off-campus or in another department.

    Generally electives must be taken at the 200 or 300 level. However, students may petition to count a 100-level ES or FYS course as an elective if it is the first ES course taken. Students who have taken ES 121 as their first ES course should meet with the Chair to discuss how to proceed with the minor.

Additional Opportunities

Cinema and Media Studies

Students interested in the BA might also consider doing Cinema and Media Studies as a major or minor. Cinema and Media studies include studying cinema and other popular media through the lenses of Cultural Studies. Students will understand media as not merely artistic forms, but also as cultural, economic, and socio-political entities. See the Cinema and Media Studies website for details.

Data Science

Students interested in the BS have the option of doing Data Science as a minor. The data science minor integrates quantitative methodologies from mathematics, statistics, and computer science with effective communication, interdisciplinary teamwork, social and ethical context, and domain knowledge from a student’s major field of study. See the Interdisciplinary Studies website for details.

Public Policy
Students interested in Environmental Policy have the option of doing Public Policy as a second major. The public policy major at Gettysburg College offers a flexible, rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum that provides training for students interested in problem-solving in domestic or international public arenas. More about the Public Policy Major.

Dual Degree Programs

Students spend 3 years at Gettysburg College and 2 years at a graduate institution.

Please contact department chair Salma Monani if you have further questions.