Environmental Studies

Getting Started in the Major: Environmental Studioes

Professors and students talk about the field of environmental studies, the major at Amherst College, courses that environmental studies majors can take, and available research opportunities.

Whether your interests are in understanding the science of climate change and its effects on natural systems, in developing policy to help mitigate environmental degradation, in working toward just and equitable solutions to environmental challenges or communicating the urgency of climate change to the public there is a place in the department for you!

A major in Environmental Studies comprises a sequence of courses that begins with two courses, ENST-110: Environmental Science and ENST-120: The Resilient (?) Earth, which provides the framing and foundation for studies in the department. Both courses serve as requisites for advanced courses in the major and should be completed by the end of the second year.

ENST-110 (taught in the fall semester) provides an understanding of the biological, chemical, and physical components of the biosphere and takes a systems approach to address environmental challenges. Students gain hands-on experience in a field and laboratory setting and explore air, water, soil, and vegetation processes and their connection to local and global environmental issues. Contact Professor Hewitt for more information about ENST-110.

ENST-120 provides an overview of environmental studies and addresses current environmental issues and an exploration of sub-disciplines in the field. ENST-120 is taught in the spring semester and meets twice a week for two 80-minute sessions. All students meet collectively on Tuesdays but split into two (or three, depending on enrollment) separate sections for discussion on Thursdays. Contact Professor Holleman or Professor Levin for more information about ENST-120.

Please refer to the major requirements page in Environmental Studies for more detailed information. This page lists all course requirements, information about academic policies (off-campus credit, admission into the Honors program, FGO policy, etc.), and provides a list of elective courses in the department.  Students may also be interested in curricular policies in the department.