Students majoring in Environmental Studies will complete ten credits in the program, including Introduction to Environmental Studies; two Environmental Science and Technology credits, including at least one lab course; two Environmental Social Science credits; two Environmental Arts and Humanities credits; a four-credit topical or disciplinary focus designed by the student in conversation with the faculty coordinator; and the Environmental Studies Capstone or a thesis. Two of the credits can count both toward the four-credit focus and toward the distribution requirements in the three divisions.
Environmental Studies courses at Bryn Mawr and Haverford can also be applied to the major or minor, as can study-abroad and domestic programs authorized by Swarthmore’s Office of Off-Campus Study and the Faculty Coordinator of Environmental Studies.
Overview of the Curriculum
a) ENVS 001: Introduction to Environmental Studies. This is a team-taught, interdisciplinary introduction to the field of Environmental Studies. Faculty instructors are drawn from the natural sciences and engineering on the one hand and from social sciences and humanities on the other in order to ensure cross-disciplinary perspectives and connections. Students interested in majoring or minoring in Environmental Studies should take this course as early as possible; we anticipate that most students declaring a major or minor will have taken it by the sophomore year.
b) Two Environmental Social Science courses. We expect our students to grasp the fundamentals of economic policies, environmental histories, and socio-cultural formations; we also want them to be able to design, conduct, and analyze empirical research.
c) Two Environmental Arts and Humanities courses. We want our students to be able to analyze rhetorical strategies of individual texts and broader discourse communities (e.g. climate justice movements as well as climate denial). We want them to question the assumptions underlying existing cultural structures and explore alternatives. When possible, we want them to develop creative skills to help them inspire and motivate others.
d) Two Environmental Science and Technology courses, including at least one lab course. We expect our students to be able to conduct inquiry-based science, working with raw data as well as understanding data produced by others.
e) A four-course topical or disciplinary focus, including elements of methodological development and practical engagement (praxis). This focus offers our students the opportunity to develop their own areas of expertise while also developing greater depth and breadth in interdisciplinary problem-solving. Sample thematic and disciplinary foci are listed below. Two of the credits that count toward the distribution requirements in b-d above can also count toward the four-course focus. Prospective majors should specify the details of their four-course focus (both the overall theme and the courses they plan to use) in their Sophomore Plan of Study.
f) Environmental Studies Capstone. The capstone brings graduating seniors back together to work on collaboration and to share their diverse talents and backgrounds in tackling a shared topic or challenge. The capstone meets the requirement for the senior comprehensive experience.
Sample thematic foci:
Food: ENVS/BIOL 009 Our Food; ENGR 010 Fundamentals of Food Engineering; ENVS 052/CHIN 086 Chinese Food, Culture and Farming; PHYS 024 Earth’s Climate and Global Warming.
Disasters: ENVS 006 Visions of the End; ENVS 026 Environmental History of the Soviet Union; ENVS 031/PEAC 055/SOCI 055C Climate Disruption; ENVS 051/JPNS 035 Narratives of Disaster and Rebuilding in Japan.
Sustainability: ENVS 085 Urban Environmental Community Action; ENVS 089 Sustainability Research Methods [2 credits]; ENVS 092A Directed Reading: UNFCCC COP.; Independent Study Project.
Asia (courses developed through Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment): CHIN 089 Tea Culture; CHIN 087/POLS 087 Water Policies, Water Issues: China & US; POLS 088 Environmental Governance in China; ENVS 052/CHIN 086 Food, Culture, and Farming in China.
Sample disciplinary foci:
Environmental Biology: BIOL 036 Ecology; BIOL 037 Conservation Biology; BIOL 137 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function [2 cr]
Environmental Economics: ECON 055 Behavioral Economics; ECON 081 Economic Development; ECON 176 Environmental Economics [2 cr]
Environmental Engineering: ENVS 075/ENGR 063 Water Quality and Pollution Control; ENVS 076/ENGR 066 Environmental Systems; ENVS 077/ENGR 035 Solar Energy Systems; ENVS 078/ENGR 057 Operations Research
Environmental Literature: ENVS 042/ENGL 089E Ecofeminism(s); ENVS 043/ENGL 089/SOAN 20M Race, Gender, Class, and Environment; ENVS 044/ENGL 089B Materials that Matter; ENVS 045B River Stories or ENVS 040/RELG 022 Religion and Ecology.