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Environmental Studies and Sustainability


The need to understand, respond to and alter the impacts of human activity on the natural systems of the planet is immediate and unprecedented.

Current and future generations of students will be faced with the challenge to rethink, redesign and re-create how humans make use of all the major natural resource based systems on earth. 

The driving force behind the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS) Degree Program is to educate our students to meet these challenges, to prepare them to succeed in the emerging green economy, and to help build Merrimack into a model for sustainable practices.  These efforts dovetail with the college’s mission that calls for “…collaborative efforts fostering a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.”

About the ESS Program

The degree program is built around four interlinking components:  Curriculum, Campus Sustainability, Community Engagement and Global Context.

Integrated together, they provide a powerful synergy and provide students with a rich undergraduate experience with opportunities to build competencies in sustainability while taking advantage of opportunities for community engagement, internships, student and independent research, learning outside of the classroom, service, international study and employment.  Students engage in high impact experiences during all four years of study.

Our curriculum is truly interdisciplinary weaving together courses in environmental science, social science, the humanities, business and economics.  Students will develop competencies in all areas of sustainability.  The ESS Program curriculum framework in built around the several key facets, including: scale; human connections to the physical and natural world; ethics and values; how natural systems function; technological and economic relationships to sustainability; motivating environmentally sustainable behavior; and effective pedagogical strategies for integrating sustainability.  

The ESS Program at Merrimack combines the theoretical with the practical and encourages hands-on and real-world experience in the field at every turn.  Students need to experience and engage first-hand, the applied aspects of Environmental Studies and Sustainability.  All students are required to participate in a Community Internship in the junior year and fully participate in a senior capstone Project that works on sustainability projects with teams of students, faculty and community partners.

The 21st century will be, by necessity, a time when we move towards sustainability and the re-calibration of all our economic, social and environmental endeavors with what the earth can sustain.  Our interdisciplinary curriculum is built around social, economic and environmental studies and sustainability coursework with a strong applied and hands-on focus; our goal is to prepare and graduate students with competencies in all three areas.  Welcome to Environmental Studies and Sustainability at Merrimack College and please explore who we are and what we have to offer.

Bryan Bannon
Director, Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program and Associate Professor of  Philosophy

More Info

Bryan Bannon