Courses

Environmental Studies

Courses taken by Gustavus ES students draw from a variety of departments including Art, Biology, Chemistry, English, Geology, Geography, History, Political Science, Economics, and Sociology/Anthropology to provide students with a strong, liberal arts education. Environmental Studies majors choose one of four tracks, which allows them to narrow their academic focus and explore their own interests in more depth.

Because of the individualized, interdisciplinary nature of the program and the sequential nature of many of the courses, students should normally declare an ES major no later than the end of their sophomore year, and should consult with an advisor from a department within their intended track.

Major

The following five required core courses provide the student with a foundational knowledge of important concepts, theories, principles, and facts related to the interdisciplinary study of the environment:

  1. ENV 120 Geochemistry of the Environment
  2. BIO 245 Conservation Biology (prereq is ENV-120 or BIO-101)
  3. ENV 250 Environment and Society
  4. PHI 209 Philosophy of the Environment or REL 132 Religion and Ecology or ENV 104 Environmental History (ENG 228 American Pastoralism can be substituted with permission)
  5. ENV 399 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

Students will choose one of four tracks: Physical Science, Life Science, Social Science, or Humanities. The seven-course tracks are intended to ensure depth within a particular area of environmental studies.

  1. Physical Science Track: In these courses, you explore how the atmosphere and hydrosphere (water) interact with each other and the solid earth to shape our environment. Topics include climate science, global change over geologic time, understanding and managing water resources, and how we can use technology to learn about earth and natural resources.
    Required:
    1. MCS 121 Calculus I or MCS 140 Elementary Statistics
    2. GEO 246 Earth Surface Processes
    3. GEG 240 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems
    4. CHE 246 Environmental Chemistry (CHE107 is a prereq. or permission from Dr. Jeremiason)

    Select 3 credits from the following (at least two must have a lab component):

    • GEO 212 Evolution of the Earth
    • GEG 230 Human Impacts on the Environment
    • GEO 225 Climate Change: Geo-Solutions
    • GEO 271 Earth Minerals
    • GEO 324 Sedimentary Systems
    • GEO 350 Hydrogeology
    • GEG 243 Hydrology and Water Resources
    • GEG 343 Problem Solving Using Geographic Information Systems
    • GEG 345 Remote Sensing of the Environment
    • CHE 258 Inorganic Chemistry I
    • CHE 371 Physical Chemistry
    • CHE 380 Instrumental Analysis
    • An approved internship (1.0 credit)
  2. Life Science Track: In these courses, you explore how life adapts to earth environments and how life, in turn, shapes the environment. Topics include learning about classes of organisms, the evolution of life over short and long timescales, and relating life processes to the physical environment.
    Required:
    1. BIO 101 Principles of Biology
    2. BIO 102 Organismal Biology
    3. BIO 202 Ecology Evolution and Behavior (prereq for ES majors is ENV 120, BIO 101, BIO 102)
    4. GEG 240 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems

    Select 3 credits from the following, at least two departments must be included:

    • CHE 246 Environmental Chemistry
    • BIO 241 Invertebrate Zoology or GEO 241 Paleontology
    • BIO 242 Vertebrate Zoology
    • BIO 370 Ecology (ES majors prereqs are BIO 202, ENV 120, plus permission)
    • BIO 372 Animal Behavior (ES majors prereqs are BIO 202, ENV 120, plus permission)
    • BIO 376 Entomology (ES majors prereqs are BIO 202, ENV 120, plus permission)
    • BIO 377 Systematics (ES majors prereqs are BIO 202, ENV 120, plus permission)
    • BIO 383 Aquatic Biology (ES majors prereqs are BIO 202, ENV 120, plus permission)
    • BIO 386 Comparative Physiology
    • BIO 385 Evolution (prereq is BIO 202) or GEO 212 Evolution of the Earth
    • GEG 243 Hydrology and Water Resources or GEG 343 Problem Solving Using Geographic Information Systems or GEG 345 Remote Sensing of the Environment
    • GEO 246 Earth Surface Processes

    Recommended: MCS120 Calculus or MCS 140 Elementary Statistics

  3. Social Science Track: In these courses, you explore how human societies relate to the environment. Topics include the economics and politics of environmental protection and natural resource management, and the growth of the environmental movement in different societies.
    Required:
    1. E/M 285 Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources (no prerequesites for ES majors -contact Dr. Owen for permission to register)
    2. POL 260 Environmental Politics
    3. GEG 105 Environmental Geography
    4. Statistics: select one of the following: MCS 140 Elementary Statistics, E/M 125 Statistics for E/M, PSY 224 Stats and Research Method, or GEG 242 Research Methods in Geography

    Select 3 credits from the following:

    • ENV 104 Environmental History (cannot count as elective and core class)
    • E/M 280 Public Finance
    • E/M 284 Economic Development
    • GEG 230 Human Impacts on the Environment
    • GEG 235 Sub Saharan Africa
    • GEG 238 Global Migration
    • GEG 243 Hydrology and Water Resources
    • GEG 240 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems
    • GEG 343 Problem Solving Using Geographic Information Systems
    • POL 220 U.S. Public Policy
    • POL 250 Politics of the Developing Nations
    • IDS 243 Earth Care and Adaptation (part of the India JPSC semester abroad)
    • An approved internship (1.0 credit)
  4. Humanities Track: In these courses, you explore how human portray and communicate their relationships with the environment. Topics include the philosophies of environmentalism, literary works about the environment, and how different societies have related to their environment.
    Required:
    1. REL 132 Religion and Ecology (ENG 228 American Pastoralism substituted with permission)
    2. PHI 209 Philosophies of the Environment
    3. ENV 104 Environmental History
    4. GEG 105 Environmental Geography
    5. POL 260 Environmental Politics

    Select 3 credits from the following, only one credit can be at the 100 level:

    • COM 120 Public Discourse
    • COM 247 Ethnography of Communication or COM 265 Video Representation
    • ENG 256 Writing Creative Non-Fiction
    • ENG 336 American Renaissance
    • ENG 121 American Literature I
    • HIS 274 Introduction to Modern China or HIS 278 Introduction to Modern Japan
    • ENG 291 or ENG-391 Independent Study (must be approved by ES director)
    • GEG 235 SubSaharan Africa
    • PHI 243 Ethics of International Development
    • IDS 243 Earth Care and Adaptation (part of the India JPSC semester abroad)
    • IDS 223 Sweden: Climate, Energy and Environment (part of the Sweden semester abroad)
    • An approved internship (1.0 credit)
    • ENV 101 Interpreting the Fall Landscape (0.5 credit)
    • ENV 103 Interpreting the Spring Landscape (0.5 credit)
    • T/D 136 Creating Theatre for Social Justice

New Minor

An ES Minor consists of the first four core courses plus two 200-level courses from any of the required courses in the tracks.