Department of Environmental Studies

RachelLevin For many thousands of years, our ancestors were more shaped by the environment, than they were shapers of of it. This began to change, first with hunting and then, roughly ten thousand years ago, with the beginnings of agriculture. Since then, humans have had a steadily increasing impact on the natural world.

Environmental Studies explores the complex interactions between humans and their enviroment. This exploration requires grounding in the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. Hence, majors in Environmental Studies must take a minimum of eleven courses that collectively reflect the subject’s interdisciplinary nature.

The required introductory course (ENST-120) and senior seminar (ENST-495) are taught by faculty from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and humanities. The five core courses include Ecology (ENST-210/BIOL-230), Environmental History (ENST-220/HIST-104 or HIST-105), Economics (ENST-230/ECON-111E or ECON-111), Statistics (ENST 240/STAT-111E or STAT-111 or STAT-135), and Environmental Policy (ENST-260). Note that the Environmental Policy and eleven-course requirement do not apply to students graduating prior to 2021. Beyond these courses, majors must take four electives, including at least one course from each of two categories (Category I: Natural sciences and Category II: Social sciences and Humanities), which span different fields of environmental inquiry.

Majors are strongly encouraged to complete the introductory course (offered in the spring semester) by the end of their second year and the core requirements prior to their senior year. The senior seminar, offered in the fall semester, fulfills the comprehensive requirement.

The faculty in Environmental Studies include members of many departments on campus that come together to engage and advise students interested in preparing themselves for careers in environmental studies and related fields. 

Questions about Environmental Studies at Amherst should be directed to Diane Hutton who is the Academic Coordinator for ENST (101B Beneski Building, AC# 2238, 413-542-2233, dbhutton@amherst.edu).