University of Vermont

The Environmental Studies Major

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Offered by: UVM Environmental Program


Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary, university-wide major offered though the UVM Environmental Program. The program is recognized nationally as one of the university's most distinctive and prestigious programs, created to better understand the cultural and natural environments that determine the quality of life on earth. It combines study in a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, focusing on the interrelationship between natural and human systems and the processes of change in those systems.

A Look at Our Program

This major is intended for the student seeking a challenging liberal arts education with an environmental focus. Environmental Studies is administered by the Environmental Program, which is not a unit of any one school or college. Students can major in Environmental Studies through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Social Services, or the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Our unique program allows you to combine study of the environment with traditional disciplines and professional fields. This makes it possible for you to explore many academic directions during your first few semesters on campus. Then, in your sophomore or junior year, with advising assistance you will design your own program of study to meet personal, academic, and career goals.

What Will I Study?

A major in Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary course of study available to qualified students. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students enrolled as Environmental Studies majors must complete the distribution and minimum credit requirements of the college along with four core Environmental Studies courses.

An individually designed program of at least ten intermediate advanced courses, or credit-bearing experience from Environmental Studies is the heart of the major. Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for example, might choose coursework in areas such as soil science, applied economics, sustainable development, rural studies, environmental policy, or any other focus about which the student is excited. Most often students pursue a multidisciplinary program with courses from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and beyond. A required senior level thesis or project offers the opportunity to apply the skills, knowledge, and experience gained from courses and internships.

Exciting Field Experience

We emphasize active learning that's not confined to the classroom. Faculty members take advantage of Vermont's diverse terrain for field trips and teaching venues. In addition, our faculty have recently led travel study courses to Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba, Scotland and Brazil, as well as closer to home in the Adirondacks and Quebec.

Your senior thesis or project will often take you into new areas. One Environmental Studies senior worked as a publishing assistant for Wild Earth magazine, while another studied energy and resource consumption during outdoor concerts then organized a solar music festival in Vermont. Another student researched the beliefs of local Abenaki tribe members about pollution of the Missisquoi River for his senior project.

You'll be strongly encouraged to enrich your academic education with internships, volunteer work, and study abroad. One sophomore worked on wildlife field research and conservation education programs in Vermont and Arizona as a student intern. Another tracked the development of recycling programs as an intern with a solid waste management district in Vermont.

Student-taught courses are an important part of our program, reflecting our belief that we all can learn from one another. International Environmental Justice, Ecopsychology, and Cultivating Holistic Lifestyles are the most recent courses developed and taught by our students.

Looking to the Future

The goal of the Environmental Program is to provide a liberal arts education that will prepare you for a variety of careers or for graduate study in the environmental sciences, agriculture, business, policy, law, medicine, journalism, and many other professions.

The environmental field is expanding rapidly, so job prospects in the public or private sectors are excellent. Our graduates are working for the Environmental Protection Agency, Friends of the Earth, ITT Fluid Technology, Sailaway Yachts, L.L. Bean, and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Madagascar, to name just a few. They are sought by government agencies, consulting firms, schools, and conservation organizations. Private companies in agriculture, natural resource management, public health, rural development, and other areas also employ our graduates. Many begin their careers in the Peace Corps.

Core Courses
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • International Environmental Studies
  • Intermediate Environmental Studies
  • Research Methods
Program Courses
  • Creating Environmentally Sustainable Communities
  • Ecofeminism
  • Landscape Natural History
  • Natural Areas Conservation and Stewardship
  • Introduction to Landscape Restoration
  • Natural History of New England
  • Religion and Ecology
  • Land Conservation: Aims and Methods
  • Unlearning Consumerism
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Interpretation
  • Ecopsychology
  • Environmental Justice
  • Drawing in the Natural World
  • Painting, Ecological Perception and Theory
  • Introduction to Herbalism
  • Ethnobotany
  • Writing Home
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Environmental Information Skills
  • Introduction to Ecological Economics
  • The Art of the Botanical Print
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Therapeutic Herbalism
  • The Adirondacks: A Travel Study in Regional Sustainable Development
  • Land Conservation Leadership Skills
  • Field Methods in Environmental Research
  • Media Literacy and the Environment
  • Buddhism and Ecology
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Environmental Planning and International Development
  • Winter Sports Culture, Community and Economics
  • Environmental Activism
  • Landscape and Place: Burlington's Intervale
  • Vermont Wilderness: History, Science and Policy
  • Community Forestry: Home and Abroad
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Writing Shelburne Farms
  • Ethnobotany of New England
  • Resource Conservation in Northern European Ecosystems
  • Environmental Policies, Development and Conservation in Costa Rica
  • Forest Resource Values
Students will enroll in courses from other disciplines, as their majors/plans direct them.
Faculty and Area of Expertise
Saleem Ali Environmental planning, industrial environmental management, indigenous conflict resolution
Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cecilia Danks Sociology and policy of natural resource management, community forestry, forest certification, sustainable rural development
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Jon Erickson Ecological economics, regional land-use planning, energy and climate change, sustainable forest management
Ph.D. Cornell University
Thomas Hudspeth Sustainability, environmental education, environmental interpretation, international environmental issues
Ph.D. University of Michigan
Adrian Ivakhiv Environmental thought, cultural studies, landscape and identity
Ph.D. York University
Stephanie Kaza Environmental ethics, religion and ecology, ecofeminism
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
Richard Paradis Natural areas management, ecological restoration, natural history, conservation biology and land conservation
M.S. University of Vermont
Hector Saez International environmental issues, political economy, Latin America, rural issues, and development
Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ian Worley Natural history and ecology, environmental theory and ethics
Ph.D. University of British Columbia

Last modified September 10 2007 04:11 PM

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