Environmental Studies (BA)

Director: Erin Robinson, PhD


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.

Major Tracks

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.


Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major, earn a C or higher in all required courses in the major, and earn a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies.


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.  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.  

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. This decision may be based on career goals, planned graduate studies, and/or other student interests. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement.  In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the Major/Minor Declaration form. This form will be submitted electronically and reviewed and approved by each department chairperson as well as the appropriate associate dean. 

Per university policy, each additional major requires a minimum of 15 credits that do not apply to the student's first or subsequent major.  Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in other cases additional course work may be required. Please note that students will receive only one degree unless completing the dual degree requirement including at least 150 undergraduate credit hours, regardless of the number of majors they complete. Both (all) majors appear on a student’s transcript.

Minors in Other Disciplines

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. To receive a minor, the student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their other credentials (i.e., majors, other minors). The complete list of minors is available on the Canisius website and in the catalog 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.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

ECO 101Principles of Macroeconomics3
EVST 110Science of Environmental Problems I3
EVST 111Science of Environmental Problems II3
SOC 234Environment and Society3
PHI 244Environmental Ethics3
or RST 347 Ecotheology
Select 1 of the following Research Methods courses:3
Research Methods in the Social Sciences (formerly HSV303)
Ethnography and Culture
Select 1 of the following Geographical Information Systems (GIS) courses:3
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences
Select 4 Major Electives 12
SOC 324Visual Sociology3
EVST 498Internship1-3
Total Credits37-39

Major Electives

A student's electives must be 4 courses from any of the designated major tracks.

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 250Narratives of Nature and Culture3
SOC 273Social Movements and Social Change3
SOC 340Sociology of the City3
PHI 245Animal Ethics3
PSY 329Leadership and Motivation3
EVST 235Environmental Policy3
EVST 300Special Topics The Ecology of Nature and Identity3

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
COM 302Strategic Communication in Teams3
ENT 101Experiential Entrepreneurship: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity, and Idea Generation3
CRJ 358Green and White Collar Crime3
PSC 242International Organizations3
EVST 235Environmental Policy3
EVST 300Special Topics The Ecology of Nature and Identity3

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.

ENT 101Experiential Entrepreneurship: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity, and Idea Generation3
ENT 314Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability 3
MGT 440Global Supply Chain Management3
EVST 235Environmental Policy3
EVST 300Special Topics The Ecology of Nature and Identity3

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.

BIO 116Disease: Myth and Reality3
EVST 235Environmental Policy3
EVST 300Special Topics The Ecology of Nature and Identity3
EVST 360Environmental Health3


Recommended Sequence for Major Courses

EVST 110EVST 111
ECO 101 
Select one of the following:SOC 234
EDU 303 (formerly HSV303)
Track Option Elective
PHI 244 or RST 347 
Select one of the following:Track Option Elective
Track Option Elective 
EVST 498Track Option Elective
 SOC 324

Learning Goals and Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Environmental Studies Majors will Demonstrate knowledge of complex environmental systems and environmental issues in scientific, cultural, and social realms

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Evaluate information on political economy of environmental issues;
  • Objective B: Articulate issues of social construction of science;
  • Objective C: Articulate an integration of issues of environmental and social justice.

Student Learning Goal 2

Environmental Studies Majors will Demonstrate scientific literacy of environmental issues

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Demonstrate knowledge of complex theories of 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, to address relevant research questions. 

Student Learning Goal 3

Environmental Studies Students will Demonstrate readiness to enter post graduate career and educational opportunities

Students will: 
  • Objective A: Demonstrate skills needed to compete in green careers, for example grant writing and oral communication;
  • Objective B: Complete an internship with an established environmental organization; 
  • Objective C: Collaborate with local, regional, national, and/or 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 235 Environmental Policy 3 Credits

This course key issues within environmental policy. As well as exploring the history and origins of policy, we will explore some of the key debates such as eco-centrism versus anthropocentrism, animal rights, global justice and our obligations to future generations. Key concepts will include local, state, national, and internation policy perspectives; views of democrac and social justice. Reference will be made to other strands of environmental policy and contemporary political theory such as liberalism, socialism, feminism, nationalism and anarchism.

Offered: Fall

EVST 250 Narratives of Nature and Culture 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.

Prerequisites: ENG 111 and ENG 112 or HON 101.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: once a year.

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 300 Special Topics The Ecology of Nature and Identity 3 Credits

Ecology is defined as the study of relationships. Do we really understand the full significance and complexity of the idea that all life is interconnected? How do factors such as race, class, sex, gender, age, physical abilities, consciousness and intellect shape our access and relationship(s) with nature and “others”? This course works to reconsider and possibly revise the ways in which we “identify” with the natural world and to “others” in all forms both nonhuman and human. Travel is required in early January. Students are responsible for arranging and covering the costs of their travel to our meeting point in the Everglades as well as their return travel after. The course has an additional $800 fee to cover costs of programming. Students will also meet regularly prior to and following travel to engage with course material. Throughout the travel and campus-based components, students will read narratives about authors’ relationship with the environment, connect with unique ecosystems, and reflect on their individual place in ecology.

Fulfills College Core: Field 6 (Natural Sciences)

Offered: occasionally.

EVST 360 Environmental Health 3 Credits

Environmental effects on human health, including biological, physical and chemical hazards in water soil, and air. Course focuses on public health and epidemiological study approaches. Emerging issues also discussed.

Offered: occasionally.

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.

3+3 Accelerated BA/BSJD ProgAM

Director: Robert Klump, Esq. at 716.888.2884

The 3+3 Accelerated BA/BS-JD program through the University at Buffalo School of Law is open to a variety of majors. By participating, you can:

  • Complete your undergraduate education and law degree in less time (and for less cost) than the 7 years typically required
  • Become fully eligible for scholarships and grants offered to qualified incoming students at the University at Buffalo School of Law
  • Upon successful completion of the first-year curriculum at UB Law School, a student's credits for the year will be transferred to Canisius to complete his or her bachelor's degree which will then be conferred by Canisius.


This unique program is open to pre-law students who:

*The LSAT score must be at or above the median LSAT score for the UB School of Law’s previous year’s enrolled class or the GRE score must be at or above the 70th percentile for Verbal Reasoning and the 40th percentile for Quantitative Reasoning.

For more information, contact the Raichle Center director.

3+3 Environmental Studies BA/JD Roadmap  

ENG 111ENG 112
RST 101PHI 101
Attribute: Global Awareness Field 7: Mathematical Sciences
EVST 110EVST 111
ECO 101HSV 303 or SOC 375
Field 1: Religious Studies and TheologyField 2: Philosophy
Attribute: Justice Attribute: Ethics *
Skills: Advanced Writing-Intensive Attribute: Diversity
SOC 234ECO 310, 311, or SOC 315
PHI 244 or RST 347Track Option Elective
Field 3: Literature and Arts Field 4: History
Field 5: Social Sciences Field 6: Natural Sciences
Skills: Oral Communication Track Option Elective
Track Option Elective SOC 324
Track Option Elective Capstone
 EVST 498
1st year JD courses taken at UB1st year JD courses taken at UB
LAW 509: TortsLAW 505: Criminal Law
LAW 501: Civil ProcedureLAW 507: Property
LAW 503: Contracts LAW 511: Constitutional Law
LAW 515: Legal Analysis, Writing and Research ILAW 515: Legal Analysis, Writing and Research II
ATTRIBUTES - Can be fulfilled using a variety of courses including Field of Knowledge courses and electives with attribute designation
Global Awareness
Advanced Writing Intensive - Must be at the 200-level or above
Oral Communication Skills

Ethics is required of all students

Note: All students must complete a total of 60 hours of Arts and Science courses. We strongly recommend that all students run a Griff Audit to check for this and any other additional requirements.