Environmental Studies

Program Overview

Environmental Studies is one of the most interesting, exciting and fastest growing fields. By combining cutting edge coursework in environmental science, policy, economics, and philosophy with real-world workshops and internships, Fairfield University's Environmental Studies program prepares students for the tremendous opportunities and challenges in the years ahead. At Fairfield, you can become part of the solution.

‌Today's complex environmental issues require understanding the diversity of ways we think about the environment. Fairfield's Environmental Studies program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach that combines the study of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Such an understanding will complement and enhance careers in a great many fields, and give citizens the information they need to take an active and intelligent part in their own governance. Indeed, as concern for the environment and its links to economic prosperity and human health continues to grow, so too does the need for informed citizens to provide leadership on these issues. In response to this need, Fairfield's environmental program adds consideration of sustainability issues and helps students prepare for careers in science, policy, law, business, journalism, education, and medicine.

 

 

As a student in the program, you'll be offered a wide choice of courses and perspectives that will enable you to learn about both the problems and potential solutions. The University is located on the shores of Long Island Sound, in an area of keen environmental awareness and a sizable educated population. Internships and research projects are plentiful because of local and regional concerns about these issues. The program opens these opportunities to you and gives a special focus to your career or graduate study objectives.

Special opportunities to link an environmental concentration at Fairfield University with many other majors in the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Dolan School of Business and the School of Engineering. In addition, Fairfield's many international programs (in Australia, Brazil, Nicaragua and other locations) make the Environmental Studies program useful to students planning careers that may take them outside the borders of the United States.

Requirements

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 Foundations (four courses):
    • BI/CH 76: Environmental Science
    • BI 74: Biology of Food (Biology majors may substitute with BI 260, BI 319, BI 364, BI 366, BI 372, or BI 383)
    • CH 85: Chemistry, Energy, Environment (Chemistry majors may substitute with BI 372, CH 222, or CH 326)
    • One Natural Science Elective (BI 78, BI 79, BI 260, BI 319, BI 364, BI 366, BI 372, BI 383, CH 222, CH 326, PS 93, PS 220)
  2. Social Science and Humanities Foundations (four courses):
    • AE 284: Environmental Ethics
    • EC 120: Environmental Economics
    • Environmental policy and law (BU 220, PO 131, or PO 169)
    • One Social Science and Humanities Elective (AY 175, BU 220, EC 225, EN 121, EN 143, PO 131, PO 132, PO 169)
  3. Environmental Studies Electives (three courses):
    • Any combination of three courses from the list of Natural Science or Social Science and Humanities Electives (not already used as a Foundations course) and the list of approved study abroad program courses
  4. Applied Professional Skills (one course):
    • AY 180: Grant Writing for Social Sciences
    • CO 321: Communication Processes                           
    • CO 348: Risk Communication                        
    • EC 278: Statistics                                                                   
    • EN/W 335: Technical Writing                        
    • EN/W 339: Grant and Proposal Writing 
    • HI 392: Fundamentals of GIS                        
    • IL 280: Global Leadership for Research & Project Development
    • MA 217: Accelerated Statistics
    • MG 360: Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
    • MS 210: Management Science
    • PY 203: Statistics for Life Sciences
    • SO 221: Statistics: Social and Political Data Analysis
    • SO 222: Methods of Research Design
  5. Capstone (1 course):
    • EV 301: Environment Workshop
    • EV 299: Independent Study
    • EV 298: Internship

 

Minor Requirements

  1. Students complete at least 6 courses, including a capstone experience. One course from each of the three major areas of study:
    • Natural Sciences (one of the following):
      • BI 74: Biology of Food
      • BI 76: Environmental Science
      • CH 85: Chemistry, Energy, and the Environment

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

    • Social Sciences (one of the following):
      • BU 220: Environmental Law and Policy
      • EC 120: Environmental Economics
      • PO 131: International Environmental Policy
    • Humanities (one of the following):
      • AE 284: Environmental Ethics
      • EN 121: American Literature and the Environment
      • EN 143: Greenworld: English Literature and the Environment
  2. Two courses from the list of electives below (not already used to satisfy the major areas of study requirement)
  3. One capstone course, (one of the following):
    • EV 301: Environment Workshop
    • EV 299: Independent Study
    • EV 298: Internship

Environmental Studies Elective Courses:

  • AE 283: Environmental Justice
  • AE 284: Environmental Ethics
  • AE 297: Eco-feminism
  • AH 282: Green Architecture
  • AY 175: Sustainable Development: Anthropological Perspectives
  • BI 74: Biology of Food
  • BI 75: Ecology and Society
  • BI 76: Environmental Science
  • BI 78: Introduction to Marine Science
  • BI 79: Latin American Ecosystems
  • BI 260: Ecology
  • BI 319: Zoology Field Experience
  • BI 364: Freshwater Ecology
  • BI 366: Ornithology
  • BI 372: Environmental Toxicology
  • BI 383: Coral Reef Ecology
  • BU 220: Environmental Law and Policy
  • CH 85: Chemistry, Energy and the Environment
  • EC 120: Environmental Economics
  • EC 225: Environmental Economics: Tools and Techniques Applied to U.S. Policy
  • EN 121: American Literature and the Environment
  • EN 143: The Greenworld: English Literature and the Environment
  • ENW 325: Environmental Reporting
  • EV 298: Environment Internship
  • EV 299: Independent Study
  • EV 301: Environment Workshop
  • EV 302: Special Topics in the Environment
  • HI 287: A Green History of Latin America
  • PO 131: International Environmental Policy
  • PO 132: Climate Change: Politics and Policy
  • PO 169: US Environmental Politics and Policy
  • PS 93: Energy and the Environment

Most courses in the environmental studies program are offered in collaboration with other departments, and count toward degree programs in other departments and programs, including Anthropology, Applied Ethics, Art History, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, English, History, Philosophy, Politics, and Physics. Therefore, descriptions for many of the courses above appear in those sections of this catalog.

Course Offerings

See the Environmental Studies course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

Anthropology

  • AY 175: Sustainable Development: Anthropological Perspectives

 

Applied Ethics

  • AE 283: Environmental Justice
  • AE 284: Environmental Ethics
  • AE 297: Eco-feminism

 

Art History

  • AH 282: Green Architecture

 

Biology

  • BI 74: Biology of Food
  • BI 75: Ecology and Society
  • BI 76: Environmental Science
  • BI 78: Introduction to Marine Science
  • BI 79: Latin American Ecosystems
  • BI 260: Ecology
  • BI 319: Zoology Field Experience
  • BI 364: Freshwater Ecology
  • BI 366: Ornithology
  • BI 372: Environment Toxicology
  • BI 383: Coral Reef Ecology

 

Business

  • BU 220: Environmental Law and Policy

 

Chemistry

  • CH 85: Chemistry, Energy and the Environment

 

Economics

  • EC 120: Environmental Economics
  • EC 225: Environmental Economics: Tools and Techniques Applied to U.S. Policy

 

English

  • EN 121: American Literature and the Environment
  • EN 143: The Greenworld: English Literature and the Environment
  • ENW 325: Environmental Reporting

 

Environmental Studies

  • EV 298: Environment Internship
  • EV 299: Independent Study
  • EV 301: Environment Workshop
  • EV 302: Special Topics in the Environment

 

History

  • HI 287: A Green History of Latin America

 

Politics

  • PO 131: International Environmental Policy
  • PO 132: Climate Change: Politics and Policy
  • PO 169: U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy

 

Physics

  • PS 93: Energy and the Environment

Faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the innovative members of our Environmental Studies Program.

Internships

Students in the Environment Studies program enjoy a wide variety of internship opportunities. In recent years, Fairfield University students have worked with many different types of organizations involved in environmental science, policy, economics, and law, including (to name a few):

  • Abernathy MacGregor Group
  • AECOM
  • African Sky
  • Alpine Tree-Line Warming Experiment (Colorado)
  • Americorps
  • Animal Embassy
  • Aquarian Water Company
  • Aspetuck Land Trust
  • Beardsley Zoo
  • Caroline House
  • City of Bridgeport: Dept of Public Facilities, Energy and Environment Department, Sustainability Office, Office of the City Attorney
  • Climate Reality Leadership Corps
  • Connecticut Audubon Society 
  • Connecticut State Agencies
  • Connecticut State Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP)
  • Connecticut State Legislators
  • Conscious Decisions
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension's Marine Science Program
  • Cox Radio
  • CT Campaign for Sustainable Communities
  • CT Green Scene
  • Dyer Island Conservation Trust (South Africa)
  • E: The Environmental Magazine
  • Earthplace
  • Eidos Institute Australia
  • Fairfield University Campus Sustainability Committee
  • Fairfield University Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Politics (among others)
  • Fairfield University, Environmental Science Lab
  • Fairfield University Facilities Management - Sustainability Initiative
  • Fairfield University Organic Garden
  • Fairfield University Environmental Studies Program
  • Friends of the Lake
  • GE Energy 
  • GE Energy Financial Services
  • General Electric
  • Green Energy Task Force, Town of Fairfield
  • Green Towns
  • Green Village Initiative
  • Lake Lillinonah Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program
  • LEAF - Leaders for Environmental Action at Fairfield
  • Maritime Aquarium
  • National Park Service
  • Nature Conservancy
  • New England Smart Energy
  • New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP)
  • New Orleans Green Building Service Trip
  • North American Marine Environment Protection Association
  • Re3 (Northern Ireland)
  • Rebuilding Together
  • Riverbank Farm
  • Schooner, Inc.
  • Sierra Club
  • Sierra Club (Washington D.C. Office)
  • Simply Smiles (Mexico & Norwalk, CT)
  • Skystream Markets
  • SOLV
  • Soundwaters
  • South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
  • Stamford Museum & Nature Center
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Sustainable America
  • TFS Energy Futures
  • Town of Fairfield
  • United Illuminating
  • United States Secret Service
  • Washington internship Institute
  • Westport Department of Parks and Recreation
  • ZeroEnergy

Students in the Environment Studies program also have opportunities to engage in internships through other academic departments or as part of certain study abroad programs. For example, students in the Environment Studies program that also pursue a major in political science or communications can take internships for credit with:

  • Connecticut state agencies
  • Connecticut state legislators
  • Environment, news, and political websites.
  • Local governments
  • News organizations
  • Political Campaigns
  • Public interest groups
  • Public relations firms
  • The federal government (through a semester-long program of study in Washington, D.C.)

The Environment Studies program is also linked closely with Fairfield's international programs including a research program in Brazil, and developmental projects in Haiti and Nicaragua, all of which provide unique experiences.

The Environment Studies program Director maintains an extensive list of organizations and other resources to assist students seeking internships and contacts Connecticut companies and organizations about internship opportunities. Students also work with Fairfield's and Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network to build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Campus Sustainability Grants. Campus Sustainability Grants are awarded to students to support sustainability efforts on campus. Typically three grants are awarded each year. Recent winners have included undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, Dolan School of Business, Engineering and Nursing. Recent projects have involved water collection systems, recycling innovations, energy efficiency, transportation, and food.

Awards

The Outstanding Student in the Environment Studies program. Awarded annually, the prestigious Outstanding Student in the Environment Studies program award is given to a senior student enrolled in the Program who has achieved exemplary academic success and made very significant contributions to the Program and campus sustainability efforts. In addition to its announcement at an event during Earth Week, this Award is included in the annual College of Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony. Established two decades ago, recent winners of this award include: Alexandra Gross (2008), Stacy Davis (2009), Alexandra Roem (2010), Dana August (2011), Zachary Gross (2012), Terry O’Brien (2012), Helen Nelson (2013), and Alexandra Fylypovych (2014).

 

Leaders in Campus Sustainability Award. This award is given annually by a vote of the Environment Studies program faculty to an individual or group that have made a demonstrated difference in the quality of sustainability efforts on campus. Created in 2012, winners of this award include:

  • Professor Lisa Newton, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy and Founder of the Environment Studies program. Winner of the “Leaders in Campus Sustainability” Award for Lifetime Achievement for her efforts supporting campus sustainability and environmental education during her long and productive career at Fairfield University.
  • James Fitzpatrick `70, Assistant Vice President of Administration and Student Affairs. Winner of the “Leaders in Campus Sustainability” Award for Lifetime Achievement for his support of campus sustainability and student environmental activities during his long and productive career at Fairfield University .
  • Professor Jennifer Klug and Professor Tod Osier, Associate Professors of Biology. Winner of the “Leaders in Campus Sustainability” for 2011-2012 for “Creating the Campus Garden.” Their leadership in creating support for this initiative, building the garden itself, overseeing its operation, and involving students in educational and co-curricular activities involving the garden have had a lasting and important impact on our campus
  • John Perry, School of Engineering, class of 2013, for his work researching, designing and implementing construction of a rain-water collection system for the Barone Campus Center

Student Research Award. The Student Research award is given annually to a students enrolled in the Program for outstanding research achievements in environment and sustainability issues. In addition to its announcement at an event during Earth Week, this Award is included in the annual College of Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony. Given for the first time in 2013, recent winners include Joshua Robichaud (2013), Kirsten Yerger (2014, and Ian Tesmond (2014).

Campus Sustainability Grants. Campus Sustainability Grants are awarded to students to support sustainability efforts on campus. Typically three grants are awarded each year. Recent winners have included undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, Dolan School of Business, and School of Engineering for projects focused on water collection systems, recycling innovations, energy efficiency, transportation, food and other important issues.

Student Spotlight

cas_annunziataName: Alexa Annunziata '16
Undergrad Degree: Biology major with a concentration in marine biology. Minor in environmental studies
Hometown: Eastchester, New York
Extracurricular Activities: Resident Assistant in the Service for Justice Residential College; Member of NRHH, Front Desk and Equipment Assistant at the RecPlex
Awards/Scholarships: Bellarmine Merit Scholarship

Why did you choose to study your major at Fairfield University?

I choose to major in biology because science is my true passion and after carful consideration I realized that Fairfield University had a strong biology program with a lot to offer including diverse classes, research opportunities, and internships. 

 

How have you been inspired in pursuit of your academic interests?

After completing the general biology classes and being exposed to various topics I found I had a strong interest in marine biology. I sought out the academic advisor for the marine biology concentration Dr. Diane Brousseau and she guided me in terms of courses and other extracurricular activities. She introduced me to the BASE Camp program where I became an assistant counselor. All of these experiences have helped affirm my decision to pursue a career in marine science. 

After living in the Service for Justice Residential College my sophomore year I learned about various walks of life and the impact the environment has on those lives. This inspired me to pursue a minor in Environmental studies. 

 

How do you plan to use your degree upon graduation?

After graduation I plan on attending graduate school, my hope is that I’ll be able to use a master’s degree in marine biology to help find a solution to the environmental threats many marine animals face.

Life After Fairfield

The Environment Studies program is one of the most interesting, exciting, and fastest-growing fields. By combining cutting edge coursework in environmental science, policy, economics, and ethics with real world workshops and internships, Fairfield University's Environment Studies program prepares students for the tremendous opportunities opening up in a variety of fields, including:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Policy
  • Science

For example, majors in business fields find that the knowledge of environmental issues they acquire in the minor helps them better understand new issues facing the business community and how to succeed in our increasingly interconnected and complex world. As a result, the environmental field presents a rich array of choices for graduating seniors, including:

  • Employment with many different types of corporations, small businesses, government agencies, primary and secondary schools, and public interest groups
  • Law school with the aim of specializing in environmental law
  • Health sciences or education with the expectation of incorporating environmental interests in their work
  • Public policy or international affairs schools with the aim of focusing on local, national or international environmental or sustainability policy
  • Graduate school to pursue a doctorate in biology, chemistry, economics, politics or many other fields

Learn more about how Fairfield's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Sustainability

As a Jesuit university committed to the belief that all humans have a responsibility for all creation, Fairfield infuses sustainability throughout its departments, programs and infrastructure. Through innovative faculty research, student activism, academic programs, campus infrastructure and an array of eco-friendly events, we are moving toward a greener campus every day, and invite you to join us in our efforts.

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