Environmental Studies

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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 continue 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.

Environmental Studies | Fairfield University

Requirements & Curriculum

In order to achieve disciplinary depth and acquire additional skills, all students majoring in Environmental Studies must also complete a major or minor in another program.

Required Courses

Biology of Food
Environmental Science
Chemistry, Energy, and the Environment
One (1) Natural Science elective course
Environmental Ethics
Introduction to Environmental Economics
One (1) Environmental Policy and Law elective course
One (1) Social Science and Humanities elective course
Three (3) additional Natural Science or Social Science and Humanities elective courses
(Campus Sustainability
Special Topics (Shell)
Internship
Independent Study)
One (1) Applied Professional Skills* course
(*Applied Professional Skills refers to a group that includes courses in proposal and grant writing, leadership, management, negotiation, risk communication, statistical analysis, modeling, and research methods)
Environment Workshop
Biology of Food
Environmental Science
Chemistry, Energy, and the Environment
One (1) Social Sciences course
(Environmental Law and Policy
Introduction to Environmental Economics
International Environmental Policies)
One (1) Humanities course
(Environmental Ethics
American Literature and the Environment
The Greenworld: English Literature and the Environment)
Two (2) additional Environmental Studies elective courses
Environment Workshop

A detailed list of course requirements, offerings, and more can be viewed in the University’s course catalog.

Awards

Outstanding Student in the Environment Studies Program Award

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Outstanding Student in the Environment Studies Program Award

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), Alexandra Fylypovych (2014), Kayla Urbanowski (2017), Olivia Headen (2018), and Julia Noujeim (2019).

Student Research Award

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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 Hope Marino '21 and Danielle Profita '24.

Leaders in Campus Sustainability Award

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Leaders in Campus Sustainability Award

Leaders in Campus Sustainability 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 James Biardi, winner of the "Leaders in Campus Sustainability" for his exemplary leadership role in developing Fairfield University Campus Sustainability Plan. His leadership and tireless efforts, and the work of the fellow members of the Campus Sustainability Committee, was critical in developing this living blueprint for enhancing and maintaining the sustainability of Fairfield's campus and operations and will have 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.
  • Professor Jennifer Klug and Professor Tod Osier, Associate Professors of Biology. Winner of the “Leaders in Campus Sustainability” 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
  • 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 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.

Campus Sustainability Grants

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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.

More About Environmental Studies

Sustainability

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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.

Learn More About Campus Sustainability

Life After Fairfield

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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 how Fairfield's Career Services can support your post-graduate goals, and how our tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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Internships

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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 League of Conservation Voters
  • 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
  • Sustainability Task Force, Town of Fairfield
  • 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.

Faculty

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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.

Meet the Faculty

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