Environmental Studies at UVM

Frequently Asked Questions and Advising


ENVS Advising

Why should I seek regular ENVS academic advising?

An advisor can serve as a guide for your years in college.  The better your relationship with your academic advisor, the better they can serve you in the future. An advisor can be a good person to ask for a reference if they have met with you often enough to know you beyond your transcript.

How do I get an ENVS advisor?

If you have declared an ENVS major, an ENVS advisor will be assigned to you by the Environmental Program. Not sure who your assigned advisor is? This information can be found on the main page of your myUVM account online. If you still are unsure, please contact Sue Bean, 802-656-4055, sbean@uvm.edu.

How do I make an appointment with my advisor?

Contact Jaclyn Devino at Bittersweet front desk, 802-656-4055. She makes appointments for all the ENVS advisors, with the exception of Professor Frank Zelko whom you can email, fzelko@uvm.edu, or call, 802-656-8517 for an appointment. (Note: Frank Zelko is on sabbatical fall 2014 - spring 2015)

What if I want to change my ENVS advisor?

We want you to feel happy and comfortable with your advisor. If you would like to change your ENVS advisor please fill out a “Change of Advisor” form found on the rack by Jaclyn Devino’s desk in the front office at Bittersweet.

Can I be advised by other UVM faculty members too?

You may meet with whomever you like among the UVM faculty. We encourage you to seek advising from faculty and other mentors from elsewhere on campus.

I have a TAP advisor/RSENR first year advisor with whom I talk.
Do I still need to see an ENVS advisor my first year?

We encourage you to seek ENVS advising in addition to your TAP/RSENR first year advising, but you do not have to see an ENVS advisor your first year. You will be assigned an ENVS advisor as your primary advisor beginning your sophomore year.

ENVS advisor updates for the 2013-2014 academic year:

Ernesto Mendez will be on leave for the fall 2013 - spring 2014 academic year.
Saleem Ali will be on professional leave in Australia for two years—fall 2012 through spring 2014.

If your advisor is one of these people you will be assigned another advisor in their absence. If you have questions or a specific advisor request, contact sbean@uvm.edu.

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Guidance for Prospective and New ENVS Students

I am thinking about becoming an ENVS major. What should I do? With whom should I speak?

First, learn all you can from the Environmental Program web site: http://www.uvm.edu/~envprog/, especially the “Academics” section and the information about ENVS in the UVM school or college you are in. Then call Sue Bean, 656-4055, at Bitttersweet House, our administrative building, and make an appointment with an advisor. Elizabeth (Ibit) Getchell is our Student Services Coordinator and does much of the prospective student advising, but you may talk with any of our faculty members.

What college or school should I go through as an ENVS major? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each one?

The Environmental Studies (ENVS) major can be pursued in four units on campus:

  • the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • the College of Arts and Sciences
  • the College of Education and Social Services.
  • the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

You can choose which college/school best suits their educational interests and goals and then pursue the ENVS major from within that college. The core curriculum requirements for ENVS are the same for all units. The number of total credits for the ENVS major is either 30, 38 or 50. See below.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

  • CALS has the broadest array of college requirements.
  • All CALS students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.
  • CALS Core Competencies in knowledge, skills and values is fulfilled by carefully choosing courses that meet these over your undergraduate years of study.
  • The ENVS concentration in CALS, as in RSENR, is 30 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, minimum, rather than the 18 credits in CAS.
  • Total for the ENVS major is 50 credits.
  • A minor is not required, but you may choose to pursue one.
  • There is no limit to the number of courses you can take outside of CALS.

Click here for a CALS ENVS major plan form.

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

  • All ENVS students in CAS earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
  • The CAS distribution requirements emphasize a broad range of knowledge in traditional fields and include courses in the diversity, arts, foreign language, literature, humanities, social science, and natural science.
  • The ENVS concentration in CAS is 18 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, rather than the 30 credits in CALS and RSENR.
  • Total for the ENVS major is 38 credits.
  • An approved 15-18 credit CAS or cross-college minor in an area separate from their major is required of all CAS students. This minor can come (from CAS or from one of the other schools or colleges)
  • The College of Arts and Sciences offers a broad liberal arts education spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts.


Click here for a CAS ENVS major plan form.

The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR)

  • All RSENR students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.
  • ENVS majors take eight required Natural Resources core courses alongside majors in Forestry, Wildlife, Recreation Management, Environmental Science, and Natural Resources. These courses total 23 credits and include the 3 of the 6 UVM diversity requirement credits.
  • The ENVS concentration in RSENR, as in CALS, is 30 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, minimum, rather than the 18 credits in CAS.
  • Total for the ENVS major is 50 credits.
  • A minor is not required, but students may choose to pursue one.
  • Required “three-course sequence”— 9 credits, minimum, of related courses from [a] discipline/s outside of RSENR.
  • The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources offers a curriculum emphasizing the natural and social sciences as they apply to environmental problem-solving.


Click here for a RSENR ENVS major plan form.

The College of Education and Social Services (CESS)

  • All CESS students earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.
  • The College of Education and Social Services offers a curriculum emphasizing the education philosophy and practical teaching methods as they apply to environmental education.
  • The ENVS concentration in CESS, is 19 credits of 100-200-level environmentally-related courses, minimum, rather than the 18 credits in CAS, or 30 in CALS and RSENR.
  • Total for the ENVS major is 30 credits. Must include ENVS 001, 002, and 294.
  • Students choosing an ENVS concentration to accompany their CESS major must meet the college distribution requirements, which provide a broad general education background useful for teaching all age levels.
  • The College of Education and Social Services prepares students for professional work in education, social work, and human services, with the aim of creating a more humane and just society that fosters respect for ethnic and cultural diversity, and maximizes quality of life.


Click here for a CESS ENVS major plan form.

Click here for more information on the differences in the ENVS major in CALS / CALS / RSENR / CESS.

I am transferring in AP Environmental Science credits. Do I need to take ENVS 001?

Environmental Science is usually a different course from Environmental Studies in a number of respects. ENVS 001 Introduction to Environmental Studies is a required course for all ENVS majors. ENVS 001 offers students a broad overview of environmental concepts and issues, with an emphasis on local, regional, and national concerns. This course introduces you to most of the members of the Environental Program faculty and other guest lecturers and ensures that all of our majors receive a similar foundation at the start of the ENVS major. The course involves local field trips on- and off-campus. ENVS 001 provides students with foundational knowledge about environmental studies from an interdisciplinary—natural science, social science, and humanities—perspective, rather than the primarily natural science perspective of an Environmental Science (ENSC) course. If you want to petition to substitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

I took ENSC 001 here at UVM (or elsewhere). Do I need to take ENVS 001?

Generally, yes, we would like you to if you can. Although both environmentally related, ENVS 001 offers a different perspective on environmental issues the primarily natural science perspective in ENSC 001. See answer above. If you want to petition to substitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

In addition to ENVS 001 and 002, what courses should I be taking if I'm majoring in ENVS...
… and I’m a first year student?

For all ENVS majors, the first two years are a time to explore your interests, start taking your college/school distribution requirements, and take introductory courses that will serve as prerequisites for higher-level courses. The path you choose will vary depending on the college/school you are a part of. Some courses to consider taking sooner rather than later are language, math, and science. CAS has a foreign language requirement. If you took a language in high school, consider continuing your study of that language at UVM as soon as you can.
Ultimately, take courses to explore your interests. There is a lot of choice in the ENVS major and the more you know about where your interests lie, the easier it will be for you to select a concentration and higher level courses later in your ENVS career.

… and I’m a sophomore or junior?

As a sophomore or junior ENVS student you have a variety options when it comes to course work. Generally, this is a time to continue exploring your interests and begin honing in on your passions in the environmental field. You should continue working on your college/school distribution requirements and consider taking prerequisites for upper level courses that you may want to take your senior year. If you're very interested in a particular topic, consider adding a minor and take this time to fulfill your minor requirements. The sophomore and junior years are also the time to seek advising for future coursework, study abroad opportunities, and internships. 

For more detailed information on sophomore and junior year coursework, please view the Sophomore and Junior Students FAQ section.

What are the other major/minor choices at UVM for students with environmental interests?

Although your academic interests lie in the environmental realm, you may have additional interests that have led you to look for a major or minor other than Environmental Studies. There are many directions that you can take to pursue your varied interests. They include: a double major; a non-ENVS major with an environmentally-related minor; an ENVS major with a complementary environmentally related minor; or an ENVS major with a minor that is not directly relevant to the major. The Environmental Program encourages you to take a minor that is very different from the major to allow you pursue other interests and explore the perspectives of other disciplines.

What are some good ideas for minors and 2nd majors for students with environmental interests?

Some of the following options are not necessarily environmentally-related disciplines, but have served our students well as minors or as a second majors alongside their Environmental Studies major.

Click here for a link to the full list of UVM majors, minors and graduate programs.

Anthropology (B.A., minor)
Biology (B.A., minor)
Community Entrepreneurship (B.S., minor)
Community and International Development (B.S., minor)
Ecological Agriculture (B.S., minor)
Economics (minor)
English (minor)
Environmental Engineering (B.S.)
Environmental Sciences (B.S., minor)
Food Systems (minor)
Geography (B.A., minor)
Geology (B.A., B.S., minor)
Geospatial Technologies (minor)
Global Studies (B.A., minor)
Green Building and Community Design (minor)
History (B.A., minor)
Natural Resources (B.S.)
Nutrition and Food Sciences (B.S., minor)
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (B.S., minor)
Plant Biology (B.S., B.A., minor)
Political Science (B.A., minor)
Psychology (B.A., B.S., minor)
Public Communication (B.S.)
Sociology (B.A., minor)
Soil Science (minor)
Sustainable Landscape Horticulture (B.S., minor)
Vermont Studies (minor)
Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (B.S., minor in Wildlife Biology)

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​​Information for Transfer Students

I would like to transfer to UVM from another institution. With whom do I talk?

Your first step should be to contact the Office of Transfer Affairs to find out more about transferring credits between institution, and to learn about some of the University requirements: http://www.uvm.edu/~rgweb/?Page=transferringcredit/t_transfermain.html&SM=t_menu.html.

If Environmental Studies is where your interests lie, thoroughly review our website, especially this FAQ document and “Academics.” Then contact the UVM Environmental Program, (802) 656-4055, to schedule an appointment to speak with the Student Services Coordinator, Ibit Getchell, or one of our other faculty members in person or over the phone. In the summer, contact Ibit directly, egetchel@uvm.edu, 802-656-0176. 

I am transferring in AP Environmental Science credits.  Do I need to take ENVS 001?

This course introduces you to most of the members of the Environmental Program faculty and other guest lecturers and ensures that all of our majors receive a similar foundation at the start of the ENVS major. The course involves local field trips on- and off-campus. ENVS 001 provides students with foundational knowledge  about environmental studies from an interdisciplinary—natural science, social science, and humanities—perspective, rather than the primarily natural science perspective of an Environmental Science (ENSC) course.  If you want to petition to substitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

ENVS 001 and 002 are reserved for first and second year students.  Can I still take these courses if I change majors late?

Yes, you can and should take ENVS 001 and 002 even if you have changed majors late. To enroll in the course you will likely need to obtain an override from the course instructor.

I took ENSC 001.  Do I need to take ENVS 001?

Generally, yes, we would like you to if you can. Although both environmentally related, ENVS 001 offers a different perspective on environmental issues the primarily natural science perspective in ENSC 001. See answer above. If you want to petition to substitute your ENSC course for ENVS 001 you need to fill out the substitution/waiver form and get approval from the Environmental Program Director.

I'm trying to decide to which UVM college/school to apply to major in ENVS.  Which one would be best?

The answer to this depends on many things: your interests, and the number of credits and the courses you're transferring.  Please seek advising from Ibit Getchell, ENVS Student Services coordinator, egetchel@uvm.edu, this and review your options here:

  • In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, all Rubenstein School students take 8 required courses (23 credits total)—the RSENR core curriculum—that incorporate a body of knowledge, skills, and values that the faculty believe is central to the study of natural resources and the environment. Courses integrate the natural and social sciences in an effort to approach full understanding and resolution of natural resource and environmental issues. In addition all RSENR students take speech, writing and a 9 credit self-design sequence of courses outside of RSENR.
    Learn more about the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

  • The College of Arts and Sciences provides a degree with a traditional liberal arts orientation, so the major in environmental sciences is pursued within the context of a liberal arts education. In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, A student must complete the Distribution Requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree by: completing FIVE of the following SIX categories: (i) fine arts and literature (2 courses—one course in each area), (ii) foreign language (2 courses in the same language at the appropriate level), (iii) humanities (2 courses), (iv) natural sciences (2 courses with lab as defined by the major requirements), (v) mathematical sciences (2 courses as defined by the major requirements), or (vi) social sciences (2 courses).
    A minor is optional for ENSC minors.
    Learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences.
     
  • Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences develop a set of knowledge, skills, and values through satisfactory completion of an integrated series of courses and academic experiences such as internships and research apprenticeships. CALS believes these competencies are essential to effectively function in society and that they foster an attitude that promotes lifelong learning and responsible citizenship. In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, students take 2 social science courses, 2 courses in fine arts/humanities/foreign language, and 1 course, each, in writing, speech, and information technology.
    Learn more about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Sciences

What's the difference between majoring in Environmental Studies (ENVS) and Environmental Science (ENSC)? What are the benefits of each?

Environmental Studies majors earn a B.A or a B.S., depending on in which UVM college or school they are enrolled. The major is interdisciplinary. All students take 3 core ENVS course (11 credits total), 3 100-200-level credits of each of the 4 environmentlaly-related breadth requirements: natural science, humanities, social science, and international studies; 2 (CAS) or 6 (CAS and RSENR) additional courses in their ENVS concentration; and a 9 credit senior capstone. (See above) ENVS majors must all complete the requirements for their UVM school or college. This major is best for students who want a broadly interdisciplinary environmental education and who want a great deal of choice in their course work. The ENVS major plan is developed in ENVS 151, taken either sophomore or early junior year. Students must be willing to study some natural science. Students need to be willing to work with advisors, make important decisions about their individual program, and keep track of requirements as their plan evolves. Students are highly encouraged to pursue high impact learning experiences.

Students may choose one of the following ENVS concentrations, or they may develop an individually-designed concentration with the help of advisors.

  • Ecology and Conservation - the more natural science choice, exploring the science and management of caring for landscapes.
  • Food, Land and Community - the science of agricultural landscapes and the study of food production and distribution systems.
  • Nature, Culture, and Justice - the more humanities choice, exploring the creative arts applications; ethics, religion, and philosophy; and/or education, advocacy, and activism.
  • Environmental Policy and Development - the more social science choice, exploring the social, political, economic, and historic forces impacting environmental decision-making.
  • Sustainability Studies - exploring the core infrastructural elements supporting ecological, economic, and social well-being. The ecological and social processes relating to business, energy, transportation, food systems, climate, and waste management.
  • Environment and Health - exploring the connection between ecosystem health and human health.

All Environmental Science majors earn a B.S. degree. Students take a common set of courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and geology or plant and soil science. A common set of environmental science core courses is followed by 14-16 credits of specialized courses in one of the chosen nine focus tracks.

These include:

  • Agriculture and the Environment: Impacts of agriculture on the environment and strategies for minimizing environmental degradation
  • Conservation Biology and Biodiversity: Endangered species and ecosystems,and strategies for conserving the diversity of Earth's life forms
  • Ecological Design: Use of ecological systems to improve environmental quality
  • Environmental Analysis and Assessment: Techniques for measuring environmental impacts and managing environmental data
  • Environmental Biology: Ecological and molecular analysis of endangered populations, phenomena affecting biological diversity, the interrelationship of organisms and their environments, and conservation genetics
  • Environmental Chemistry: Analytical methods for measuring and monitoring air, ground, and water pollutants
  • Environmental Geology: Earth science, geomorphology, and the analysis of ground water
  • Environmental Resources: Environmental processes in air, soil, and water
  • Water Resources: Global water supply and human impacts on surface waters

Courses that all ENSC majors take

A common set of foundation courses (biology, chemistry, mathematics, and geology or plant and soil science) and core environmental sciences (ENSC) courses is a uniting experience between environmental sciences students in the three schools.

Required Pre- and Co- requisite Courses (24-32 credits)

  • BIOL 001/002 or BCOR 011/012: Intro to Biology
  • CHEM 031/032 (or 035/036): Intro to Chemistry
  • MATH 019/20 (or 021/022): Calculus
  • PHYS 011/012 (or 051/052): Physics *
    * Required only for the Environmental Chemistry Focus Track

Foundation Courses (11-12 credits)

  • CHEM 32 (CHEM 141 * or CHEM 143 *): Organic Chemistry
    *  Required only for Environmental Biology and Environmental Chemistry Focus Tracks
  • GEOL 055 ** or PSS 161:  Environmental Geology or Fundamentals of Soil Science
    **  Required only for Environmental Geology Focus Track
  • STAT 141 or 211 or NR 140: Statistics
  • ENSC 001: Intro to Environmental Science
  • ENSC 130/NR 130: Global Environmental Assessment
  • ENSC 160: Pollutant Movement

ENSC Courses by College

Students may major in Environmental Science through the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The distinctions between the major offered through these three schools is subtle, and a student can usually shift between the three with little difficulty. In an attempt to demystify the differences between the programs, consider these principles:

In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, all Rubenstein School students take 8 required courses (23 credits total)—the RSENR core curriculum—that incorporate a body of knowledge, skills, and values that the faculty believe is central to the study of natural resources and the environment. Courses integrate the natural and social sciences in an effort to approach full understanding and resolution of natural resource and environmental issues.In addition all RSENR students take speech, writing and a 9 credit self-design sequence of courses outside of RSENR.

Required Courses:

  • ENSC 201: Recovery and Restoration of Altered Ecosystems
  • ENSC 202: Ecological Risk Assessment 

Learn more about the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

The College of Arts and Sciences provides a degree with a traditional liberal arts orientation, so the major in environmental sciences is pursued within the context of a liberal arts education. In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, A student must complete the Distribution Requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree by: completing FIVE of the following SIX categories: (i) fine arts and literature (2 courses—one course in each area), (ii) foreign language (2 courses in the same language at the appropriate level), (iii) humanities (2 courses), (iv) natural sciences (2 courses with lab as defined by the major requirements), (v) mathematical sciences (2 courses as defined by the major requirements), or (vi) social sciences (2 courses).
A minor is optional for ENSC minors.

Required Courses:

  • BCOR 102 * or GEOL 110 ** or CHEM 142 (or 144) ***: Ecology and Evolution *, Earth Materials **, Organic Chemistry II ***
    *  Required only for the Environmental Biology focus track.
    **  Required only for the Environmental Geology focus track.
    ***  Required only for the Environmental Chemistry focus track.

Learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences develop a set of knowledge, skills, and values through satisfactory completion of an integrated series of courses and academic experiences such as internships and research apprenticeships. CALS believes these competencies are essential to effectively function in society and that they foster an attitude that promotes lifelong learning and responsible citizenship. In addition to the required and elective courses for the environmental sciences major, students take 2 social science courses, 2 courses in fine arts/humanities/foreign language, and 1 course, each, in writing, speech, and information technology.

Required Courses:

  • ENSC 201: Recovery and Restoration of Altered Ecosystems
  • ENSC 202: Ecological Risk Assessment

Learn more about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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​The Minor in Environmental Studies

  • ENVS 001 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ENVS 002 International Environmental Studies
  • A minimum of 9 ENVS credits at the 100-level or above.
    *  One non-ENVS course at the appropriate level may be substituted with the approval of an ENVS advisor.
  • 17 credits total, minimum

    The minor is the same regardless of your UVM college or school.

    Click here for an ENVS Minor plan form

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​​Sophomore and Junior Students

Can I still take ENVS 001 and 002 if I am a junior and changed majors late? How do I get in if the courses are restricted to first years and sophomores? Yes, you can and should take ENVS 001 and 002 even if you have changed majors late. To enroll in the course you will likely need to obtain an override from the course instructor.

When should I take ENVS 151?

This course is meant to be an exploratory course in which our students consider and investigate possible future directions in terms of course work, study abroad, internships, senior ENVS capstones and livelihoods. Students develop their major plan in this course and decide on their concentration within the major. Due to the directed nature of ENVS 151, it is recommended that students take the course during spring semester sophomore year or fall semester junior year, after they have taken ENVS 001 and 002 and have had some time to explore their interests and the various opportunities available to them.

Can I include non-ENVS courses in my ENVS concentration?

Yes! A major in Environmental Studies is intended to be an interdisciplinary experience and we encourage our students to take upper-level courses in other departments if that is where their interests are. If the non-ENVS courses are deemed relevant to the student’s concentration (they may even be among the suggested courses listed on the concetration sheet), they can be applied to the student’s individually-designed major. If you are unsure about a particular course, call Sue Bean (802) 656-4055 to schedule an appointment with your ENVS advisor.

Can I really choose any 100-200-level courses I want for my ENVS concentration?

As an ENVS major you may choose from a variety of courses across a number of departments to fulfill your concentration requirements. The courses you choose for your concentration should be relevant to your chosen concentration, otherwise they will be applied to your major as electives. For example, if your concentration is “Food, Land and Community”, an English course may not be the best option to fill out your concentration, while a Plant and Soil Science course may be more appropriate. The same rule applies to ENVS courses. If the course topic area is not of particularly strong relevance to your concentration, it may not be appropriate for your concentration, but could make for a good elective course.

What are the ENVS breadth requirements and how can I tell if a specific course meets one of them?

To complete the major and build interdisciplinary skills, ENVS students must take one 100-200 level environmentally-related interdisciplinary course in each of these topical areas: Natural Science, Humanities, Social Science, and International Studies. ENVS course lists indicate which courses can count toward each breadth requirement, (NS, HUM, SS, INT). If you are not sure, look for courses that are at least 2/3 focused on the intended breadth area. Here are some key identifiers for each breadth area:
 

  • Natural Science (NS): Courses with emphasis on doing science and studying processes explored through science principles and practices. Experiential and place-based field science courses are preferred if possible.
     
  • Humanities (HUM): Courses using values- based approaches in areas such as environmental ethics, environment and religion, environmental history, philosophy, literature, the expressive arts, ecological thought.
     
  • Social Science (SOC): Courses that address social, political, and economic systems and how they function in relation to environmental factors, often rooted in disciplines such as human geography, anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, sociology.
     
  • International (INT): Either environmentally-themed travel-study courses outside the U.S. that address global cultures and landscapes, or on-campus courses that address international issues relating to the environment where at least 2/3 of the course is environmental and global in focus.

Can courses fulfill requirements for both my major and minor?

In the College of Arts and Sciences, only one course may apply to both the major and the minor.
RSENR and CALS do not require a minor so the 100-level courses you use in your minor can be applied to your concentration if they are relevant and at the appropriate level.

How do I choose a concentration?

You as a student must consider where your interests are within environmental studies. Your concentration will direct your learning during your time at the University of Vermont and it is important that you choose (or design) a concentration that is relevant to your interests and goals. This choice is partly guided through enrollment in ENVS 151, an exploratory course in which students consider what they see themselves doing in the near and distant future. The choice is also facilitated through meetings with your academic advisor, who can help focus your interests and categorize them into a concentration area.


The Environmental Program has six concentrations for students to choose from:

  • Ecology and Conservation - Scientific and management approaches for landscape protection and stewardship with a focus on field observation, conservation planning and policy; interdisciplinary grounding in the environmental and conservation sciences.
  • Food, Land, and Community - Ecological aspects of agricultural landscapes, food production and distribution with a focus on scientific and social analysis in food and agriculture aspects of environmental planning and community development; interdisciplinary grounding in agroecology and sustainable food systems.
  • Environment, Policy and Development - The role of social, political, and economic forces in environmental policy and economic development with a focus on problem analysis, systems thinking, and social evaluation; interdisciplinary grounding in the environmental social sciences.
  • Nature, Culture, Justice - Nature-culture concerns reflecting social values and justice issues with a focus on environmental communication, expression, and advocacy; interdisciplinary grounding in the environmental humanities.  Tracks in the creative arts, environmental ethics, and environmental education and activism.
  • Sustainability Studies - Sustainable ecological and social processes that inform human choices in relation to energy, transportation, climate, waste, and food systems, with a focus on applying sustainability principles to environmental problem-solving; interdisciplinary grounding in systems thinking and ecological processes.
  • Environment and Health - The connection between environmental health and human health impacts of degraded and toxic soils, water, food, and air with a focus on problem analysis, systems thinking, and social evaluation; interdisciplinary grounding in environmental health sciences and social sciences.

If these options do not fit to your interests, you may also design your own concentration with the help of your academic advisor.

Are the courses listed on the concentration sheets the only ones I am allowed to take?

You are not limited to the courses listed on the concentration sheets. The courses listed on the concentration sheets are regularly offered courses that the Environmental Program has designated as being particularly appropriate and relevant to that concentration area. However, if a there is a course in another department, or a new ENVS course being offered that you think would be a good fit with your academic plan, pursue it! Talk to your academic advisor to get a second opinion on how well the course fits into your concentration before enrolling. It might be such a good fit that the Program will add it to the concentration sheet.

Where can I view course syllabi for ENVS and ENVS-related courses?

If you are ever curious about any of the courses listed on the ENVS concentration sheets, come into the Bittersweet Student Resource Room. There is a collection of ENVS Concentration binders that contain the most recent course syllabi for courses listed on the concentration sheets. Feel free to peruse these syllabi to find out if a course is a good fit for you.

Can I take ENVS 151 and 201 at the same time?

No, these courses cannot be taken simultaneously. ENVS 151 is a course focused on aiding an individual in the planning and design of their major through the exploration of a variety of topic areas and self-evaluation activities. The purpose of ENVS 151 is to help students choose their concentration, draft a major plan, and develop a sense of where their interests lie within the environmental field. The ENVS 151 process is an essential step before enrolling in ENVS 201, as ENVS 201 Research Methods is required for students who intend to write a thesis or complete an internship capstone and who have a clear idea of their academic plans and environmental interests.

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​​Information for Junior and Senior ENVS Students

Can I get financial support from the Environmental Program for my independent project, a conference, or my thesis?

If you want the Program to help pay for copies of your thesis or capstone internship final paper you need to fill out paperwork available in the front office. Ask Sue Bean for this. We have a discretionary fund available for students who would like to attend a conference or other event relevant to their coursework or thesis project.  Email or talk with the Environmental Program Director for more information and guidance.

How do I propose a Students Teaching Students (STS) course?

If you are interested in teaching an STS course, your first step should be to read through the STS Guidelines found on paper at Bittersweet and online at: http://www.uvm.edu/~envprog/?Page=academics/sts.html. Then schedule a meeting with the Environmental Program Director to discuss your ideas. We recommend STS courses be taught by a team of two students, rather than on your own, so find a classmate who would be interested in working with you to do the course. If you would like to teach an STS course for your senior capstone, you should enroll in ENVS 201 Research Methods, a course that will help you write your proposal, research and write a syllabus, and prepare to present your course plan for approval from the ENVS faculty and staff.

When should I take ENVS 201? And what about the timing of study abroad and ENVS 201?

The semester you take ENVS 201 depends on a few factors: 1) if/when you are planning to study abroad or take a leave from school, and 2) the degree of clarity in the direction for your thesis/project work. If you will not be on campus during your junior spring, you should take ENVS 201 during your senior fall. However, if you have a clear idea for your 202 thesis/project prior to leaving for your study abroad experience, and you want or need a full year to complete your thesis/project, it would be good to take ENVS 201 during your junior fall. If you will be away during your senior fall, take ENVS 201 during junior spring.

When should I register for ENVS 202 credits?

You can register for ENVS 202 credits anytime after taking ENVS 151 and when you are sure you will be earning 202 credit for either a senior thesis/project or senior internship. The credits can be registered for before, during or after you do the work, and before you intend to graduate.

Do I have to register for all six ENVS 202 at once?

No. You can split the registration for your six credits over multiple semesters, and in any combination. Just be sure to change the “variable credit” number from “1” to the number of credits you want when you register.

Can I register for ENVS 202 credits after the end of add/drop period?

Yes. ENVS 202 credits can be added to your fall, spring or summer term schedule anytime during that same term. You will need to get permission from the ENVS 202 Coordinator. Ask the Director who the ENVS 202 Coordinator is during the semester you need the credits. ENVS 202 credits cannot be “back-added” to terms that have already ended.

Can I register for ENVS 201 and 202 at the same time?

ENVS 201 can be taken at the same time that you are enrolled in ENVS 202 credits, even if you are not yet writing your thesis.

Do I have to take ENVS 201 if I do not plan to do a senior thesis/project?

Whether or not you take ENVS 201 depends on which capstone option you choose to pursue. To review the capstone options available to you, visit the capstone section of the Environmental Program website: http://www.uvm.edu/~envprog/?Page=academics/capstone.html.

ENVS 201 is required for students who plan to fulfill their Senior Capstone requirement by:

  • Teaching an STS course for ENVS 202 credit
  • Writing a research thesis, or
  • Doing a thesis project


​ENVS 201 is NOT required for students choosing:

  • The Internship Capstone, or
  • The Advanced Course Capstone

Is ENVS 202 (A or B sections) a thesis course?

The non-credit scheduled meetings for ENVS 202 are designed to serve as collaborative work sessions with an ENVS faculty member to support students who are in the various stages of research, project implementaiton, writing/revising their theses/projects. We encourage you to choose one of the weekly sessions and go to them regularly. If you are not doing your ENVS 202 work in the Burlington area, or are not available during the sessions, you are not obligated to go.

What is ENVS 202 (D section) for Internships?

The non-credit scheduled meetings for ENVS 202 D section are designed to serve as collaborative work sessions with an ENVS faculty member to support students who are in the various stages of work on their senior capstone internships: writing/revising the capstone internship proposal, working the minimum of 200 hours, and writing/revising the final paper.

What if I am in the Honor's College?  Do I have to write two theses?

You do not need to write two theses if you are in the Honors College! The requirements for Honors College students vary by college/school. Know what is expected of you by your unit. For detailed information on the requirements by college, see the UVM Honors College website and the Honors College section of our FAQ’s.

Who can I ask to be my thesis evaluators?

ENVS students must have two thesis evaluators, one of whom must be an ENVS tenure-track faculty member or full-time Lecturer. The second advisor can be from another department on-campus or from off-campus. If your thesis/project is considered for Program Honors, you must find a third evaluator from within the Environmental Program who will review and grade your thesis.

Do I have to write a thesis if I do an internship for my Senior Capstone?

No, but you do have to write a proposal and a final paper. Read the senior capstone internship guidelines carefully and ask questions if you still have confusion.

Can my Senior thesis/project be more than 6 credits?

Not recommended.

Can my Independent Study Project (ISP) from my SIT or other study abroad program be my ENVS 202 senior thesis/project?

No. These must be separate activities. They will not have been proposed, approved, or evaluated by ENVS faculty. The credits generally are transferred as ENVS 191 and they are not usually worth 6 credit hours.

Can I do my ENVS 202 work off-campus or abroad?

Yes! Plan to do your senior thesis/project/internship work wherever it best suits your desires and needs. If you plan to be off-campus or abroad be sure you can make accommodations for good communication with both of your advisors while you are engaged in your 202 activity and writing/revising your final document.

What if I don't finish my ENVS 202 senior thesis/project/internship during the semester(s) I have them on my schedule? Do I get an incomplete?

If you do not finish your senior thesis/project/internship during the semester that the credits are on your schedule, you will have Satisfactory Progress (SP) marked for those credits on your transcript until your thesis work is completed and graded.

Can I walk in the graduation ceremony if all I have left is my thesis to finish?

From the UVM Commencement Walk Policy Statement:
“Commencement celebrates the accomplishments of students who have successfully completed all the requirements necessary for their degrees. In acknowledgement of both the importance and integrity of that considerable achievement, exceptions are made only in truly exigent circumstances to the University’s “walk policy” which states that only students who have successfully completed all degree requirements will be allowed to walk at Commencement.

“Those students who are within 6 credits of completion of all degree requirements may petition their college or school for permission to participate in their Commencement ceremony. The petition must contain evidence and/or documentation demonstrating that the degree requirement deficit resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control and that allowing them to walk at the graduation ceremony would be a humane and compassionate response to those circumstances.”

If I finish my thesis over the summer, or at least by December, can I still graduate that year?

If all credits are completed by August 31, you may be an October graduate of that year.
If all credits are completed complete by end of Fall semester, you may be a December graduate of that year.
When you receive your diploma depends on when you graduate.

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Study Abroad and External Programs

When can/should I study abroad?

As an ENVS major you can go abroad at any point after your first year. We especially encourage you to go abroad after having taken ENVS 002 International Environmental Studies. The earliest that students usually go abroad is spring semester of their sophomore year. Most ENVS students choose to go abroad during their junior year, although some go away during one of their senior semesters. Only rarely do students study abroad for a full year. Keep in mind you would likely then be gone from UVM for 15 months.

Where do I get started to find info about environmentally-related study abroad programs?

To learn about some of the popular programs among ENVS students, visit the “Environmentally-Related Study Abroad” page on the Program website. If you would like paper resources and information about a program that interests you, visit the Bittersweet Student Resources room to peruse the many posters, brochures and catalogs we have. Be sure to also visit the Office of International Educational Services (OIES) office at Living and Learning 161, and on the web: http://www.uvm.edu/~oies/. Also attend a “Getting Started” advising session at the OIES.

What kinds of study abroad programs are there?

There are four program types available to UVM students:

First look on the Study Abroad Approved Programs List on the Office of International Educational Services (OIES) website to ensure that your program is approved by UVM: http://www.uvm.edu/oie/?Page=study/sa_approved.php.
If your program is on the approved list, then your next step it to look at the transfer course guide on the Registrar’s webpage: http://www.uvm.edu/~rgweb/?Page=transferringcredit/t_transferguide.html&SM=t_menu.html

How do I know if the course/program I want to do is approved for credit, and how it will transfer in?

Ask someone for help with this site if you need it. It can be a bit tricky.
If your study abroad coursework is related to your ENVS concentration and the credits transfer at the 100-200 level (i.e. 1XX, 2XX), these credits should be able to be incorporated into your ENVS concentration.This depends on the program that you choose to do.

Will my financial aid support my study abroad?

Visit the Student Financial Services website for more information: http://www.uvm.edu/~stdfinsv/?Page=studyabroad.html.The semesters you take your ENVS core courses depends on a few factors: 1) if/when you are planning to study abroad or take a leave from school, and 2) the degree of clarity in the direction for your thesis/project work.

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Internships, Independent Study and Practicum

General Information

We encourage you to take advantage of independent learning opportunities outside of standard classroom courses. A variety of independent learning opportunities are available to you: internships, apprenticeships, experiential education experiences, research, independent study, and practicum work. After securing your activity, the Environmental Program is pleased to enroll students in ENVS 191/291 to gain credit for your work. We insist on rigor and quality for individualized studies.

If you are considering an independent activity outside the classroom you should understand that it is up to you and the person, or organization you are working with, to design the plan for the research, internship, or practicum, etc. Much preliminary planning and preparation is required before enrollment is approved. In general, we expect more self-initiative and responsibility of the student than is expected in most traditional courses.
 
Credit is not granted for the ENVS 191 or 291 experience in and of itself but for the learning that results from all aspects of the activity.  To receive ENVS 191 or 291 credit, the planned activity must have a significant environmental component; ENVS 191 or 291 is not for projects better done in other departments, nor is it an automatic "course of last resort" for projects unaccepted in other departments.

Amy Seidl is the ENVS Internship Coordinator. Please call Jaclyn Devino at our front desk, 802-656-4055, for appointments. Student Services Coordinator, Ibit Wright, and other ENVS faculty can field questions relating to internships and other activities for ENVS 191/291 credit.

Be sure to see the ENVS 191/291 Practicum Guidelines

Why do an internship?

  • For practical, hands-on experience
  • To try out your interests
  • For work experience – to apply skills and knowledge gained in school elsewhere
  • For good mentoring
  • To network
  • To build your resume
  • To earn credits
  • To learn about yourself in different settings, communities, different activities
  • To open doors for future opportunities
    • ​​ENVS 291 or  202 senior thesis or internship, or beyond UVM​

An internship can be a great way to study something on your own, or to learn something not covered in a course. It can also give you a chance to get out in the community — in a business, non-profit, town, state or federal government, with an artist, farmer—all kinds of practitioners! You can also use ENVS 191/291 credits to do an unaccredited program and earn credit for your efforts and experience, such as the Greenpeace Semester or learning sustainable living skills at Aprovecho Research Center in Oregon or at Yestermorrow Design Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont.

When and where should I do an internship?

There are a number of options for when and where a student can do an internship. An internship can be done locally in Burlington during the semester or in the summer. Or the internship can be done anywhere during the summer. Alternatively, the student can take time away from school to do the internship during the regular school year.

How do I find an internship?

  • Keep an eye out for emails from "env-talk" and other listservs.
  • Talk to faculty and staff for ideas.
  • Talk to students about internships that they have done in the past.
  • Look at the departmental bulletin boards.
  • Visit the Resource Center in Aiken.
  • Go to the UVM Career Services website (http://www.uvm.edu/~career/).
  • Search the Internet.
  • Go directly to where you want to intern and inquire about the possibility of an internship.

What types of internships are available?

  • Paid or unpaid
  • Valuable work-study position
  • Credit or not-for-credit
  • Ready-made advertised internship
  • Design your own

Do I need an advisor for my internship?

You will need two advisors: a Practicum Supervisor from the organization and a Faculty Supervisor from the Environmental Program. In some cases one person will serve as both the Practicum Supervisor and the Faculty Supervisor.

How do I get credit for an internship/independent study/apprenticeship/practicum?

See the online guidelines for ENVS 191/291 independent study. Look at the ENVS 191/291 guidelines –  available on paper and online. The guidelines outline the requirements for writing a proposal/project plan, including the anticipated outcomes and final products of your 191/291 experience.

Can I earn ENVS 191 credit for something I have already done?

It is not recommended that you seek credit for internships/independent studies that have already taken place. It may be possible to pursue. Schedule a meeting with your academic advisor if you have any questions about this.

How many credits can I earn for ENVS 191/291? Do I have to register for the credits when I am doing the activity? Do they have to be in the same semester?

ENVS 191/291 credits are variable, and range from 1-9 credits depending on the level of work and time commitment. Permission is required to register in ENVS 191/291 credits. These credits do not have to be taken in the same semester and they can be registered for after the add/drop period. If you are planning to do a summer internship, we recommend that you register for the credits to be applied to either the spring or fall semester. Internships can also be summer, semester- or year-long.

How many hours of work per credit is required for ENVS 191/291?

The standard is 50 hours of work per credit.

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Guidance for Honors and the Honors College

What is required of me if I am in the Honors College?

The requirements for an Honors College student vary by the college that the student is a part of. During the student's first and sophomore year, the requirements are the same across all schools and colleges. Once students enter their junior year the requirements begin to diverge among the colleges/schools. ENVS majors in the Honors College must write and defend a thesis and receive a grade of A- or better to be considered an Honors College Scholar. Some differences between the requirements for each school and college are discussed below. Detailed information on the Honors College curriculum can be found at: http://www.uvm.edu/~honcoll/?Page=curriculum.html&SM=curriculummenu.html. For more information on the CAS Honors College requirements, particularly Junior year preparation, refer to the CAS website at: http://www.uvm.edu/artsandsciences/foruvmstudents/hcolstudent/.

Do I have to do two theses?

No. Typically your ENVS thesis will satisfy your college/school and Honors College thesis requirement.

If I am in the Honors College, does that mean that my thesis/project automatically receives honors?

No. To be considered for Program and/or college honors you must write and defend a thesis and receive a grade of an A- or above. Being in the Honors College does not necessarily mean that your thesis will be Honors level work. To receive Honors you must meet the requirements laid out by the Program and your college/school.

How many thesis advisors do I need as an Honors College student? Who can I ask?

This depends on which college/school you are a part of. If you are in….

  • College of Arts and Sciences you must have three committee members. At least one advisor should be tenured or tenure-track, and it is recommended that your other two advisors are tenure-track as well. Typically, two advisors must be from within your major and one from outside your major. All ENVS faculty are considered to be Arts and Sciences faculty for thesis advisor purposes.
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences you will need three committee members: one in CALS, one from the Environmental Program, and a third evaluator who can be from on- or off-campus. Your faculty advisors do not necessarily have to be tenured or tenure track.
  • Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources you will need three committe members: one in RSENR, one from the Environmental Program and a third evaluator who can be either a faculty member or someone from outside the University. Your faculty advisors do not have to be tenure-track or have tenure.

Do I have to do a defense?

As an Honors College student you are required to give a defense presentation of your research. The requirements for the defense will vary based on your school/college, so be sure to look into what is required of you.

Do I bind my thesis before giving my defense?

As with all things thesis related, this will depend on your college/school. Typically it is recommended that students bind their thesis after giving their defense so that they are able to make any suggested revisions before officially handing it in. This suggestion is more relevant to students in the College of Arts and Sciences, who face a more rigorous honors process in terms of requirements than their peers in RSENR and CALS.

What does a defense entail? How long should my defense presentation be?

Generally a defense entails a short presentation of your research followed by a question and answer session with your thesis evaluators. The entire defense is typically about an hour long, with the presentation lasting 10 to 30 minutes, and the questioning taking up the remainder of the defense schedule. After fielding questions you are asked to leave the room while your evaluators confer over what your grade will be and to determine if you should receive Honors. When a decision has been reached you will be called back in and told your grade and if your work has received Honors.

What are the different kinds of honors that I can earn?

There are 3 different honors that you can earn: 1. Environmental Program Honors 2. College Honors 3. Honors College Scholar Each of these has a different process and you can earn multiple honors.

How do I receive honors? What are the differences between the three kinds of honors?

To earn Environmental Program Honors the student must:

  • Choose to pursue the thesis capstone option.
  • Complete 201 with a proposal grade and final course grade of B or better.
  • Complete and turn in the final bound senior thesis by December 1st (December grads) or May 1st and receive an A or A- on the thesis and defense from all three evaluators.
  • Be recommended for Honors and have two ENVS faculty members agree that the thesis earns honors.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.
  • Give a public presentation of your work, open to faculty, students, and guests at UVM, usually during the ENVS Honors Day.

College Honors is awarded by the school is which you are enrolled, and is only offered by some schools and departments. You are invited to be considered for Honors based on your GPA. In order to earn College Honors you need to complete a thesis. This could be the same thesis that you are doing for ENVS. The due dates and requirements vary by school, so you must consult with your school/department to determine when your work must be completed. Note: College Honors are not the same as Honors College Honors or Program Honors. Environmental Program Honors qualify students in RSENR and CALS students for College Honors. To learn more about earning College Honors in the College of Arts and Science visit: http://www.uvm.edu/~ashonors/?Page=chcompleteapp.html.

The basic process of becoming an Honors College Scholar is similar across the colleges, but there are important differences in how you prepare, write, and submit your thesis. You can use the same thesis as your ENVS thesis, but the deadlines, preparation courses, and procedures will vary depending on your school or college. You may overhear other students talking about their requirements – make sure they are in the same college/school as you before questioning what you should be doing.

When are the various deadlines for proposals and drafts?

For CAS students, information on deadlines can be found HERE.

For CALS and RSENR students, the due dates and deadlines are those determined by the Environmental Program.

Who do I contact for questions on my Honors College thesis?

Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources: Allan Strong, Allan.Strong@uvm.edu

College of Arts and Sciences: Sarah Helmer, shelmer@uvm.edu

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Douglas Johnson, Douglas.Johnson@uvm.edu

 

 

CAS

CALS

RSENR

Preparation and requirements

  • HCOL 101 recommended, not required, during Junior year
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.4
  • ENVS 201
  • HCOL Junior year course
  • HCOL 101 recommended during Junior year
  • ENVS 201
  • NR 199 Junior spring
  • HCOL 101 recommended during junior year
  • ENVS 201

Proposal

  • Submitted to the Honors College March of Junior year
  • If studying abroad during Junior spring, proposal can be submitted in the junior fall semester.
  • If in ENVS 201 at the time, the earlier proposal for the HCOL committee is briefer with a less extensive lit review than is required for ENVS.
  • Must also submit complete proposal for ENVS 201
  • Written in ENVS 201
  • Must receive a grade of A or higher to be approved.
  • Written in ENVS 201
  • Must receive a grade of A or higher to be approved.

Committee

  • Need three people
  • At least one tenure track
  • Recommended that other two are tenure-track.
  • Two must be from within your major and one from outside your major.
  • All ENVS faculty can serve as College of Arts and Sciences faculty advisors for your thesis.
  • Need 3 evaluators:
  • One CALS faculty member
  • One ENVS Faculty member
  • A third faculty member or person from outside the university
  • It is not required that your committee members be tenured or tenure track.
  • Need 3 evaluators:
  • One RSENR faculty member
  • One ENVS Faculty member
  • A third faculty member or person from outside the university
  • It is not required that your committee members be tenured or tenure track.

Writing the Thesis

  • Enroll in 6 credits of ENVS 202
  • Credits can be distributed between semesters
  • Enroll in 6 credits of ENVS 202
  • Credits can be distributed between semesters
  • Enroll in 6 credits of ENVS 202
  • Credits can be distributed between semesters

Due Dates

Visit the CAS Important Dates page: http://www.uvm.edu/~ashonors/
?Page=Calendar&agenda=Honors,
Arts%20and%20Science&label=I
mportant+Dates&period=year&SM
=datesub.html

All due dates in CALS are the same as those for the Environmental Program.

All due dates in RSENR are the same as those for the Environmental Program.

Earning Honors

Visit: http://www.uvm.edu/~ashonors/

  • Thesis must receive grade of A or A-
  • Must give public presentation of thesis work, open to faculty, students and guests at UVM
  • Must have a thesis defense that happens by the Friday before the last day of classes
  • Thesis must receive grade of A or A-
  • Must give public presentation of thesis work, open to faculty, students and guests at UVM
  • Oral defense can be part of the ENVS Honors Day
  • Receiving Program Honors qualifies student for CALS College Honors
  • Thesis must receive grade of A or A-
  • Must give public presentation of thesis work, open to faculty, students and guests at UVM
  • Oral defense can be part of the ENVS Honors Day
  • Receiving Program Honors qualifies student for RSENR College Honors
  • December graduates: First drafts are due November 1st. Final drafts for grading are due December 1st.
  • May graduates: First drafts are due April 1st. Final drafts for grading due May 1st.

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