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.

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

For a Major in Environmental Studies, students complete 13 courses, many of which also count for other programs or the Core Curriculum:

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

For a Minor in Environmental Studies, students complete 6 courses (many of which count for Core Curriculum).

Major Requirements

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 75, BI 78, BI 218, BI 260, BI 319, BI 364, BI 366, BI 372, CH 222, CH 326, ME 207, PS 90, PS 93)

2. Social Science and Humanities Foundations (four courses):

  • AE 284: Environmental Ethics
  • EC 120: Environmental Economics
  • Environmental policy and law (BU 220, PO 274, or PO 212)
  • One Social Science and Humanities Elective (AE 283, AY 175, BU 220, EC 225, EN 121, EN 143, EV 303, PO 212, PO 274, PO 275, PO 304)

3. Environmental Studies Electives (three courses):

  • Three courses from the electives listed below or approved study abroad program courses. (No course can meet two different requirements in the major.)

 4. Applied Professional Skills (one course):

  • AY 180: Grant Writing for Social Sciences
  • CO 321: Communication Processes in Organizations: Negotiation
  • CO 348: Risk Communication
  • EC 278: Statistics
  • EG 145: Mathematical Analysis
  • ENW 335: Technical Writing
  • ENW 339: Grant and Proposal Writing
  • IL 280: Global Leadership for Research & Project Development
  • MA 217: Accelerated Statistics
  • MG 360: Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
  • MS 210: Management Science
  • PY 201: Statistics for Life Sciences (and lab PY 201L)
  • SO 221: Statistics: Social and Political Data Analysis
  • SO 222: Methods of Research Design

 5. Capstone (1 course): EV 301: Environment Workshop

  • In rare cases, and with the prior written permission from the Director, students can fulfill the capstone requirement with EV 299 Independent Study or EV 298 Internship.

 

Minor Requirements

1. 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
  • Social Sciences (one of the following):
    • BU 220: Environmental Law and Policy
    • EC 120: Environmental Economics
    • PO 274: 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 electives listed below or approved study abroad program courses. (No course can meet two different requirements in the EVST major or minor.)

3. Capstone (1 course): EV 301: Environment Workshop

  • In rare cases, and with the prior written permission from the Director, students can fulfill the capstone requirement with EV 299 Independent Study or EV 298 Internship.

 

Environmental Studies Elective Courses:

  • AE 283  Environmental Justice
  • AE 284  Environmental Ethics
  • AY 175  Sustainable Development: Anthropological Perspectives
  • BI 074   Biology of Food
  • BI 075   Ecology and Society
  • BI 076   Environmental Science
  • BI 078   Introduction to Marine Science
  • BI 218   Vertebrate Zoology (and Lab BI 219L)
  • BI 260   Ecology(and Lab BI 2609L)
  • BI 319   Zoology Field Experience (and Lab BI 319L)
  • BI 364   Freshwater Ecology (and Lab BI 364L)
  • BI 366   Ornithology(and Lab BI 366)
  • BI 372   Environmental Toxicology (and Lab BI 372L)
  • BU 220  Environmental Law & Policy
  • CH 076  Environmental Science
  • CH 085  Chemistry, Energy and the Environment
  • CH 222  Chemical Analysis (and Lab CH 222L)
  • CH 326  Chemical Instrumentation (and Lab CH 226L)
  • EC 120   Environmental Economics
  • EC 225   Environmental Economics: Tools & Techniques Applied to US Policy
  • EN 121   American Literature & the Environment
  • EN 143   Greenworld: English Literature and the Environment
  • EV 298   Environment Internship
  • EV 299   Environment Independent Study
  • EV 301   Environment Workshop
  • EV 302   Special Topics in the Environment
  • EV 303   Campus Sustainability
  • ME 207  Materials Science
  • PO 212   US Environmental Politics & Policy
  • PO 274   International Environmental Policy
  • PO 275   Climate Change: Politics & Policy
  • PO 304   Seminar on Global Environmental Politics
  • PS 90     Physics of the Atmosphere Ocean and Climate
  • PS 93     Energy & Environment

Course Offerings

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

Anthropology

  • AY 175: Sustainable Development: Anthropological Perspectives
  • AY 180: Grant Writing for Social Sciences

Applied Ethics

  • AE 283: Environmental Justice
  • AE 284: Environmental Ethics

Biology

  • BI 74: Biology of Food
  • BI 75: Ecology and Society
  • BI 76: Environmental Science
  • BI 78: Introduction to Marine Science
  • BI 218: Vertebrate
  • BI 260: Ecology
  • BI 319: Zoology Field Experience
  • BI 364: Freshwater Ecology
  • BI 366: Ornithology
  • BI 372: Environment Toxicology

Business

  • BU 220: Environmental Law and Policy

Chemistry

  • CH 85: Chemistry, Energy and the Environment
  • CH 222: CHemical Analysis
  • CH 326: Chemical Instrumentation

Communication

  • CO 321: Communication Processes in Organizations: Negotiation
  • CO 348: Risk Communication

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
  • EV 303: Campus Sustainability

Management

  • MG 360: Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Mechanical Engineering

  • ME 207: Materials Science

Politics

  • PO 212: U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy
  • PO 274: International Environmental Policy
  • PO 275: Climate Change: Politics and Policy
  • PO 304: Seminar on Global Environmental Politics

Physics

  • PS 90: Physics of the Atmoshere, Ocean and Climate
  • PS 93: Energy and the Environment

Sociology

  • SO 221: Statistics: Social and Political Data Analysis
  • SO 222: Methods of Research Design

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 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.

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

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), Ian Tesmond (2014), Coleman Macuch (2017) and Katherine Biardi (2019).

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 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. 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.

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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