Saint Michael’s College offers several options for students interested in studying environment. Our Environmental Studies major is a truly interdisciplinary major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Our program includes the humanities, the social sciences, pre-professional fields, and the natural sciences working together. Environmental Studies graduates will be ready to enter the workforce or qualified to enter graduate programs in areas such as Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Management, Conservation, or Humanities. We have an articulation agreement offering Saint Michael’s graduates preferential admission to the Vermont Law School noted for its programs in environmental law and policy. We also offer a minor in Environmental Studies. Students interested in environmental science and who wish to earn a B.S. degree should consider the natural science majors at Saint Michael’s College. For example, students with a strong interest in ecology and the study of animals and plants may wish to choose the Biology major with an environmental track. Students interested in the biochemical effects of pollutants on living systems might consider the Biochemistry major. Those interested in monitoring and remediation of pollution may wish to consider the Chemistry major. Saint Michael’s also offers Engineering in two different dual degree programs: Clarkson University Dual Degree Program or University of Vermont Dual Degree Program. The Physics major at Saint Michael’s might also appeal to students interested in environmental science. Any of the science majors may be combined with an Environmental Studies minor to provide experience with other perspectives on environment.
The Environmental Studies Major and Minor
Coordinator: Professor Valerie Banschbach
Assistant Professor: Laura Stroup
Although environmental problems frequently are defined within the natural sciences, their underlying causes and ultimate solutions lie equally within the scope of the social sciences and humanities. Environmental issues, then, must not only be understood in terms of science; they must also be recognized as the product of a complex mix of national and international social, cultural, economic and political forces. Our environmental studies curriculum, therefore, provides an interdisciplinary academic framework based upon the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The curriculum is also meant not to be restricted to problem solving, but rather to incorporate observation, appreciation, spirituality, and examination of nature and the relationship of humans with the environment. Students build upon this holistic framework to shape their own investigations into pressing domestic and global environmental problems, to gain insights into their relationship with nature and their role in the creation of a more sustainable world. The Environmental Studies major consists of a core of team-taught interdisciplinary courses, breadth courses in each of the major areas of study and a self-designed concentration that each student develops around individual interests.
The Environmental Studies minor, like the major, is fully interdisciplinary and includes a team-taught sequence of core courses as well as electives in areas of student interest.
The Environmental Biology track within the Biology Major
This is the best choice for students with interests in ecology and conservation biology. This track involves extensive fieldwork with plants and animals, as well as training in the theoretical basis for conservation biology.
The Chemistry Major
This is the most appropriate choice for students interested in monitoring and remediation of air, soil, and water pollution. Students learn to do analytical laboratory work and are trained in its theoretical basis.