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Environmental Studies and Sustainability

Major Requirements

As an Environmental Studies major, you will explore the impact that human activity has on the natural systems of the planet, and you’ll learn to rethink, redesign, and re-create the way humans use natural resources.

Engaged in a dynamic program built around four interlinking components—curriculum, campus sustainability, community engagement, and global context—you’ll integrate theoretical learning with practical, real-world experience.

Meet Your Major

The program’s interdisciplinary curriculum weaves together courses in environmental science, social science, the humanities, business, and economics. In this major, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to:

  • Use environmental problem-solving designed to improve environmental quality
  • View environmental quality as a complex whole that’s affected by interconnected ecological, economic, and political factors
  • Master quantitative methods, qualitative analysis, critical thinking, and written and oral communication
  • Grasp and apply fundamental principles in environmental studies from life sciences, social sciences, business, and the humanities
  • Understand the fundamental issues related to sustainability, in regard to both present and future needs
  • Conduct literature reviews to obtain, critically assess, and organize information related to environmental and sustainability topics
  • Investigate, diagnose, and propose solutions for environmental problems

Hands-On Learning

In this program, you must participate in a community Internship during your junior year. These internships span a wide array of public and private organizations focused on environmental policy, business, research, regulation, enforcement, ethics, and education. You will coordinate with the ESS Program Director to secure an internship that matches your academic program, interests, and skills. To maximize the value of your internship as you prepare for a career in your field, you’ll be required to submit a work log, write an essay about how the internship influenced you, and provide a review written by your internship supervisor.

In addition, the Student Green Team offers the opportunity to work with fellow students and the Merrimack College community on a variety of sustainability activities.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of the Environmental Studies program, you’ll be prepared to pursue a variety of environmental careers. Below are just a few of the many positions available in this field:

  • Environmental Inspector
  • Biological Monitor
  • Watershed Coordinator
  • Water Quality Technician
  • Natural Scientist
  • Green Design Professional

What You’ll Take

In this program, you must complete of a minimum of 44 credits. You must also maintain a grade point average of at least 2.0 in your selected courses.

Core Courses

As a student in the Environmental Studies program, you must take the following courses:

ESS 1050 Environmental Studies Gateway (required introductory course)
BIO 2009/ 3009 Environmental Science
PHL 2070  Environmental Ethics
ESS 4850  Community Internship
ESS 4820 Senior Seminar/Project I
ESS 4920 Senior Seminar/Project II

Concentration in Environmental Business & Policy

This track examines effective and responsible environmental policy in the private and public sectors. It focuses on both domestic and global environmental issues, and both federal and local environmental policy. You will study basic environmental science, energy management, social science, and business issues related to sustainable development. In addition, you’ll examine, analyze, and actively participate in exploring how social, political, and economic values interact with federal and local environmental policies.

Four courses from this list:

BUS 1100  Introduction to Business (required)
COM 3742 Communication and Nonprofit Organizing
ECO 3305 Ecological Economics
ESS 3350 Sustainable Business Practices (required)
ESS 3450  Sustainable Energy
ESS 3550  Environmental Policy
HIS 3335  World Environmental History
HIS 3525  Environmental History of North America
HSC 3103  Global Public Health
POL 2121  Public Administration and Public Policy

Concentration in Environmental Science

This concentration focuses on the pure and applied sciences, including biology, chemistry, health science, and engineering. You’ll explore the intersection between science and society, recognize the interdependencies between human society and the natural world, discover how environmental problems are inherently interdisciplinary, and investigate the role science plays in helping solve problems. Fieldwork and community-based service are emphasized.

Four courses from this list:

BIO 2010 Ecology
BIO 3064 Marine Biology
BIO 3071 Conservation and Restoration Biology
EEN 1177 Renewable Energy and the Environment
EEN 3270 Energy, Generation, Conservation, and Technology
ESS 3450 Sustainable Energy
HIS 3380 Science, Technology, and Society
HSC 3103 Global Public Health
PHL 2110 Environmental Philosophy
PHL 3050 Philosophy of Science

Concentration in Social Sustainability

This track explores the interaction between nature and society across ethical, historical, and political dimensions. You’ll learn how environmental problems often arise from power relations and unequal control over natural resources, and you’ll gain an appreciation for our duty to address these problems. Because solutions require innovative thinking, you’ll be challenged to develop your environmental imagination — that is, to envision an ecologically healthier world than the one we currently inhabit.

Four courses from this list:

ENG 3745 Environmental Film
ENG 4120 The New England Shore
HIS 3320 The American City
HIS 3335 World Environmental History
HIS 3525  Environmental History of North America
PHL 2110 Environmental Philosophy
PHL 2120 Ethics, Ecology, and the Beauty of Nature
RTS 3030 Humans, Earth, and the Sacred:
Religion and the Environment
SOC 3600 Sociology of Health
SOJ 1000 Introduction to Social Justice
WGS 3000 Environmental Justice, Gender, and Animal Rights
WRT 2020 Writing for Social Change

Courses in the School of Liberal Arts are scheduled to account for instructional time that is commensurate with credits earned.

More Info

Bryan Bannon