Environment Studies Program - Requirements

New for 2015! Students may complete a major or minor in the Environment Studies program. 

Major Requirements

Students complete 13 courses, including a capstone experience.

  • 4 Natural Science courses       
  • 4 Social Science and Humanities courses
  • 1 Applied Professional Skill
  • 3 Electives
  • 1 Capstone

Environmental Studies Curriculum 

  1. Natural Science Core (4 Courses): 
  • BI 76/CH 76 Environmental Science.
  • BI 74 Biology of Food.[1]
  • CH 85 Chemistry, Energy and the Environment.[2]
  • Natural Science Elective: One of the following courses: BI 78, BI 79, BI 260, BI 364, BI 366, BI 372, CH 222, CH 326, CH 326L, PS 93, PS 220.[3] 
  1. Social Science and Humanities Core (4 Courses): 
  • AE 284 Environmental Ethics.
  • EC 120 Environmental Economics
  • One of the following courses in environmental policy and law:
    • BU 220 Environmental Law & Policy;
    • PO 131 International Environmental Policy; or
    • PO 169 US Environmental Politics & Policy.
    • Social Science and Humanities Elective: One of the following courses: AY 175, BU 220, EC 225, EN 121, EN 143, PO 131, PO132, PO 169.[4] 
  1. Electives: (3 Courses)[5] 
  • Three of the courses listed above under “Natural Science Electives” or “Social Science and Humanities Electives” or on the list of approved study abroad program courses. 
  1. Applied Professional Skill (1 Course): 
  • One of the following:[6]
    • CO 321 Communication Processes in Organizations: Negotiation
    • CO 348 Risk Communication
    • EC 278 Statistics
    • EN/W 335 Technical Writing
    • EN/W 339 Grant and Proposal Writing
    • HI 392 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    • IL 280 Global Leadership for Research & Project Development
    • MS 210 Management Science with Spreadsheets
    • MA 217 Accelerated Statistics
    • MG 360 Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
    • PY 203 Statistics for Life Sciences
    • SO 221 Statistics: Social and Political Data Analysis
    • SO 222 Methods of Research Design 
  1. Capstone (1 Course) 
  • EV 301 Environment Workshop[7]

The required capstone will bring together the cohort of seniors in the major to read primary and secondary literature and discuss current environmental challenges from a variety of perspectives – ethics, economics, politics, science. Students will propose and execute an individual or group project that brings together what they have learned and experienced at Fairfield to help them analyze a specific issue. 

Minor Requirements

A. One course from each of the three major areas of study:

1) Natural Sciences (one of the following)*:

BI 74 Biology of Food
BI 76 Environmental Science
CH 85 Chemistry, Energy, and the Environment

2) Social Sciences (one of the following):

BU 220 Environmental Law and Policy
EC 120 Environmental Economics
PO 131 International Environmental Policy
PO 169 U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy

3) Humanities (one of the following):

AE 284 Environmental Ethics
EN 121 American Literature and the Environment
EN 143 Greenworld: English Literature and the Environment

B. Two elective courses from the list of elective courses below (can include courses from above).

C. One capstone course, (one of the following):

EV 301 Environment Workshop
EV 299 Independent Study
EV 298 Internship

*Biology majors may substitute BI 260, BI 364, or BI 366 for one of these courses.  

Students may double-count courses with all core and major requirements. Students who study abroad in an environmental program can work with the director or their advisor in the Program to match courses taken overseas with the Environment Studies program requirements.

Most courses in the environment program also count toward degree programs in other departments, including Anthropology, Applied Ethics, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, English, History, Politics, and Physics.

*Biology and Chemistry majors may utilize advanced environmental science courses, which also contribute to their majors, to meet the Environment Program Natural Science Requirement.


[1]  Biology majors may substitute one of the following courses for BI 74: BI 260, BI 364, BI 366, BI 372.

[2]  Chemistry majors may substitute one of the following courses for CH 85: BI 372, CH 222 (with lab), CH 326.

[3]  Students must complete all lab requirements/courses associated with these courses.

[4] Students may not count a course as a social science core elective if it has been used to fulfill another requirement in the major.

[5] Students may not count a course as an elective if it has been used to fulfill another requirement in the major.

[6] Students are responsible for fulfilling any prerequisites associated with these courses.

[7] In exceptional circumstances, students can fulfill the capstone requirement with EV 298, EV 299 or a senior, independent research course if: scheduling conflicts prevent the student from taking EV 301; the internships or research project is environmentally focused, rigorous, and inherently interdisciplinary; the student has reached prior written agreement with the faculty member who will supervise the project; and the student obtains the Director’s written approval.