Environmental Studies

Director: Erin Robinson, PhD

Introduction

Environmental problems are more visible in our society than ever before. In order to address these issues, there is an ever present need to develop an understanding of the social and natural systems that foster the creation and resolution of environmental issues. Cultural, economic, and social systems provide the structure within which environmental problems are created and solved.

The Environmental Studies BA focuses on interdisciplinary connections between environmental and social systems. The program engages students to think critically about environmental issues and offers active learning experiences for students to apply their knowledge. Combining environmental science with social sciences, business and economics, and the humanities ensures an integrated perspective on environmental issues which lays a foundation for a wide range of careers. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to combine ways of knowing which fully address the multiple facets and complex systems of environmental issues. Students take a series of required courses for the major and then select a specialization option to further focus their knowledge.

Environmental Studies majors can select a specialization track made up of five courses

Specialization Tracks include Environmental Justice, Environmental Conservation and Administration, Sustainable Economics, Environmental Literacy and Public Health. Students can specialize in one area, or select a combination of electives from different tracks that best meet their interests. Each student will select four electives and an internship.

All Environmental Studies majors will complete an internship (EVST 498). Internship opportunities will range from local and regional opportunities to international opportunities through partnerships with well-established environmental organizations.

For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the Environmental Studies website.  

Qualifications

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies.

Advisement

All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Major advisors are normally assigned in the sophomore year, but may be requested in the freshman year to supplement a student's freshman advisor (their GRIF 101 facilitator). Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Students should consult with Dr. Erin Robinson, Director of Environmental Studies, for current advisement information. Students are advised to be familiar with their Griff Audit.  

Dual Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a dual major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.

Minors

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum.

Free Electives

Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum or Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Major Requirements

EVST 110Science of Environmental Problems I3
EVST 111Science of Environmental Problems II3
SOC 234Environment and Society3
Select one of the following:3
Social Research Methods
Research Methods
Qualitative Research Methods
RST 342Theological Ethics and Environmental Justice3
or PHI 244 Environmental Ethics
ECO 101Principles of Macroeconomics3
ECO 310Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
or ECO 311 Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS
SOC 324Visual Sociology3
Total Credits24

Major Electives

Students need to complete 5 additional courses: 4 courses from any of the designated major tracks; and EVST 498.

Environmental Justice Track

Focuses student attention on social and environmental justice through the use of critical thinking of structural problems and how these issues are applied to environmental problems and human society.

EVST 250Nature, Culture and Interpretation3
EVST 275Global Environmental Problems3
SOC 273Social Movements and Social Change3
SOC 340Sociology of the City3
PHI 245Animal Ethics3
PSY 329Leadership and Motivation3

Environmental Conservation and Administration

Focuses student attention on the movements for conservation practices and the legal, historical, and organization implications for the welfare of the environment.

EVST 259Environmental History of the United States3
EVST 275Global Environmental Problems3
COM 302Small Group Communication3
ENT 101Experiential Entrepreneurship: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity, and Idea Generation3
PSC 242International Organizations3

Sustainable Economics

Focuses student attention on the development of sustainable business practices from a systems approach. Enables students to develop an understanding of the nature of green economic practices.

EVST 275Global Environmental Problems3
ENT 101Experiential Entrepreneurship: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity, and Idea Generation3
ENT 314Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability 3
MGT 440Global Supply Chain Management3

Environmental Literacy and Public Health

Focuses student attention on the role of information literacy in environmental issues. Allows for critical perspective and analysis of the role of science, risk, and communication in society today.

EVST 275Global Environmental Problems3
COM 348Environmental Communication3
BIO 116Disease: Myth and Reality3

Major Experiences

Students are required to complete an internship with an environmental organization, EVST 498. Additionally, students are encouraged to pursue community based learning opportunities as they pertain to their interests and course selection.

Additional Course Considerations

Freshman
FallSpring
EVST 110EVST 111
ECO 101 
Sophomore
FallSpring
Select one of the following:SOC 234
Track Option Elective
 
 
RST 342 or PHI 244 
Junior
FallSpring
ECO 310Track Option Elective
Track Option Elective 
Senior
FallSpring
EVST 498Track Option Elective
 SOC 324

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Environmental Studies majors will demonstrate knowledge of complex environmental systems and environmental issues problems in scientific, cultural, and social realms.

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Critically evaluate information on human/environmental systems; 
  • Objective B: Integrate human ecology and science of environmental problems; 
  • Objective C: Articulate issues of social construction of science. 
 

Student Learning Goal 2

Environmental Studies majors will demonstrate an understanding of the foundations of environmental problems in society from an interdisciplinary approach. (Focusing on, but not limited to the social sciences and humanities perspectives.) 

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Evaluate information on political economy of environmental issues; 
  • Objective B: Demonstrate knowledge of complex theories of environmental problems; 
  • Objective C: Communicate relationships between social institutions and environmental problems. 
 

Student Learning Goal 3

Environmental Studies majors will demonstrate scientific literacy of environmental issues. 

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Critically evaluate literature on environmental problems; 
  • Objective B: Develop relevant research questions for environmental investigation; 
  • Objective C: Use methods and tools of environmental research, including statistical analysis, GIS, and other techniques; 
  • Objective D: Analyze findings from original research.   
 

Student Learning Goal 4

Environmental Studies majors will articulate issues of environmental justice and social systems. 

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Articulate ethical aspects of environmental problems; 
  • Objective B: Synthesize issues of race and class in connection with environmental issues; 
  • Objective C: Integrate environmental justice as an aspect of social justice. 
 

Student Learning Goal 5

Environmental Studies majors will demonstrate readiness to enter post graduate career and educational opportunities.

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Demonstrate skills needed to compete in green careers, including grant writing and oral communication; 
  • Objective B: Complete an internship with an established environmental organization; 
  • Objective C: Collaborate with local, regional, national, and international professionals in environmental career and post graduate educational settings. 

EVST 110 Science of Environmental Problems I 3 Credits

Environmental problems are defined as problems that result from interactions between humans and the natural environment. This course is designed to provide a conceptual framework for understanding and analyzing environmental problems, an introduction to the scientific basis of key environmental problems, and an introduction to scientific solutions to environmental problems.

Fulfills College Core: Field 6 (Natural Sciences)

EVST 111 Science of Environmental Problems II 3 Credits

This course is designed to provide a conceptual framework for understanding and analyzing environmental problems, to the scientific basis of key environmental problems abnd their solutions. An extension from EVST 110.

Fulfills College Core: Field 6 (Natural Sciences)

EVST 250 Nature, Culture and Interpretation 3 Credits

Narratives--stories--are one of the primary tools humans use to shape their understanding of themselves and their environment. Course examines non-fiction, creative non-fiction and fictional narratives to identify origins and elaborations of stories we tell about nature and culture as they impact our relationships to our environments.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

EVST 259 Environmental History of the United States 3 Credits

This course examines the evolving relationship between humans and the nonhuman natural world in the United States. Topics include the ecological implications of the arrival of African and European peoples in North America, westward expansion, impacts of industrialization, the industrialization of agriculture, and the development of ecological consciousness.

Fulfills College Core: Field 4 (History)

EVST 275 Global Environmental Problems 3 Credits

This course examines global environmental policy in relation to structural and historical realities of environmental change. Topics to be discussed include pre and post industrialization and environmental policy, globalization, environmental activism, climate change, and perspectives of international historical roots of policy and change.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

EVST 498 Internship 1-3 Credits

Students will have the opportunity to participate in the daily work of an environmental agency or organization. Students assume responsibility for daily work and, upon agreement with the instructor and site supervisor, a reflection journal, a research paper and 120 hours of work on-site.

Prerequisite: permission of chair & associate dean.

EVST 499 Independent Study 1-4 Credits

Study and work with a faculty supervisor. Project to be determined by faculty agreement. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.