Environmental Studies Minor

This interdisciplinary minor examines environmental processes, challenges, and solutions from a variety of perspectives, including science, policy, economics, history, ethics, media, literature, and the arts. Students will explore the relationships between people and the environment, focusing in particular on the sustainable use of natural resources and the causes, consequences, and communication of the complex environmental problems faced by human societies, including air and water pollution, habitat loss and restoration, and climate change.

Students must complete four courses (16 credits) from the list of courses below to complete the minor. Students must select at least one course from each track and must complete at least one course at the 300 or 400 level.


Environmental Sciences Courses

  • SC 220 - Energy and Sustainability
  • SC 221 - Meteorology
  • SC 222 - Earth Science: Natural Disasters
  • SC 223 - Climate Change
  • SC 224 - Ecology and Conservation
  • SC 226 - Plants and People
  • SC 292 - Topics in Environmental Science**
  • SC 313 - Animal Behavior 
  • SC 320 - Science in Translation: Environmental Science*
  • SC 392 - Advanced Topics in Environmental Science**

Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts Courses

  • EC 203 - Principles of Economics
  • EC 410 - Common Pool Resources*
  • IN 234 - Topics in Environmental Studies**
  • IN 326 - Too Thick to Navigate: The Ecology and Economics of Rivers*
  • IN 355 - Environmental Marketing Communication: Santa Lucia Lodge
  • JR 320 - Environmental Journalism*
  • LI 217 - Literature, Culture, and the Environment
  • LI 405 - Reading and Writing the Environment*
  • PH 204 - Environmental Ethics
  • WR 325 - Writing Place and Distance: Art and Environment in the West of Ireland

* Note prerequisites
** Check current course listings for specific topics


Christine Casson, senior writer-in- residence in Writing, Literature and Publishing, is a poet and essayist interested in the social, historical, and religious roots of human responses to the environment and nature as they differ across cultures. She teaches courses on Native and non-Native responses to the environment in North America; global environmental literature; directs a summer abroad program to the west of Ireland; and leads workshops on writing environmental poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

William Edelglass, associate professor, teaches on the history of Western philosophy, non-Western philosophy, and contemporary thought. His courses often engage disciplines outside of philosophy, including literature and art, the cognitive and behavioral sciences, Asian studies, religious studies, and environmental studies. He teaches environmental ethics, environmental philosophy, and climate change.

Seth Harter, associate professor, specializes in Asian history and culture. He teaches courses that feature sustained attention to environmental issues and which include a class on contemporary environmental policy in China and a survey of environmental studies.

Jon Honea, associate professor in Environmental Science, is an ecologist interested in the response of communities, populations, and individual species to environmental change, as well as how humans use and influence ecosystem services such as clean water provisioning. He teaches courses in the science and politics of water, science in translation: environmental science, energy and sustainability, and ecology and economics. 

Rituparna Mitra, assistant professor, is a postcolonial scholar whose teaching and research interests cover comparative literatures of the Global South, trauma studies, ecocriticism, migration studies, and urban fictions. For this minor, she teaches literature, culture, and the environment.

Wyatt Oswald, professor in Environmental Science, is interested in climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and human societies. His research analyzes lake-sediment records to reconstruct past changes in climate, vegetation, and fire. He teaches courses on natural disasters, plants and people, and climate change.

Nejem Raheem, associate professor, is an environmental economist specializing in economic analysis of natural resource and environmental issues, focusing on ecosystem services in rural, traditional, or indigenous economies. He teaches courses on principles of economics and ecology and economics.

Jennifer Ramstetter, professor emerita, is a biologist with a passion for both basic biological processes and cross-disciplinary questions related to today’s environmental concerns. Her expertise is in the area of plant reproductive biology and plant rarity. She teaches a course on climate change.

Sara Salimbeni, associate professor, is a physicist and astronomer whose interests span from the evolution of galaxies to the gender dynamics in science classrooms. Her astronomical research has focused on the physical mechanisms that trigger and shut down the star-formation in galaxies and drive galaxies’ stellar mass assembly through cosmic time. For this minor, she teaches energy and sustainability.

Todd Smith, associate professor, has research interests in protein biochemistry that include heat-shock proteins in Atlantic salmon to antifreeze glycoproteins in cod fish. He has taught a variety of chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental studies courses and continues to develop others related to environmental chemistry. He has worked with students on a wide range of studies related to environmental studies and sustainability, including projects with students on multiple trips to Vietnam and Cambodia. 

Doug Struck, senior journalist-in-residence in Journalism, holds extensive foreign reporting experience and has developed a specialty in global warming reporting. He continues to write in environmental journalism. He teaches a course in environmental journalism.

Jaime Tanner*, associate professor, has research focused on the relationship between feeding behavior and skull morphology, primarily in carnivorous mammals. Her work takes an integrative approach, combining behavioral field work, performance data, and work with museum collections to understand the shifting relationship between form and function throughout development and in response to environmental changes. She teaches Plants and People and a topics course on animal behavior.

Please note this may not be a comprehensive list, as our affiliated faculty rotate on a semesterly basis. Please refer to the semester registration listings to identify any additional faculty participating in the minor.

* Minor Coordinator