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Students getting practical experience in the field while on a trip with CSE.

The major in sustainability studies at Albion College is an interdisciplinary, international program that is grounded in the social sciences and designed for students who are engaged in today's and tomorrow's sustainability challenges. Students develop an understanding of human prosperity, social justice, and ecological integrity as essential elements in a sustainable world. Students explore the relationships among the economy, lifestyle, politics and policy, the physical environment, natural resource use, climate change and biodiversity preservation. A required international experience stresses the global dimensions of sustainability and introduces other nations' approaches to sustainability. Students prepare for careers as sustainability professionals in corporate and civic settings, policy advocates, and educators.

Course Work

The requirements for the major in sustainability studies are as follows:

  1. Nine and one-quarter to ten units of courses including:

    • ENVN 101, 102 and 220;
    • One of the following: Anthropology 271, 357 or Political Science 237;
    • Two of the following, with at least one from the arts and humanities list, and both from different departments:
      • Art 315, English 206, 238, 354, Philosophy 301 (arts and humanities courses);
      • Political Science 216, History 337, Communications 311 (social science courses).
  2. In some cases, courses may require prerequisites, class standing or permission of the instructor. Please discuss these options with your adviser.

    • PBSV 289: Innovative and Sustainable Cities
    • Study abroad in an approved program, with a minimum of three courses summing to a minimum of 2.25 units approved in advance. A list of programs and approved courses is available from the director of the Center for Sustainability and the Environment.
  3. Two cognate courses including:

    • Geology 111
    • One of the following: Anthropology 240, Biology 240, Geology 104, 106, 115, Physics 102.
  4. Experiential requirement including:

    • Selection from one approved opportunity for experiential learning (up to one-half unit). This can include one of the following:
      • Honors Program or departmental honors thesis
      • FURSCA
      • ENVN 201or 206
      • An approved internship or summer work experience
    • Participation in the bi-weekly Center for Sustainability and the Environment Seminar unless excused because of a conflicting obligation.

The following programs of study are offered through Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment.

Environmental Science Major

The 10-unit environmental science major provides broad exposure to environmental sciences at the introductory level, focused work in science at the upper level, and a set of cognates designed to show the social and humanistic context in which scientists work.

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Environmental Studies Major

Students completing the environmental studies major will gain a deep understanding of the complex relationships among natural and social systems, as well as a proficiency in the analytical, rhetorical and creative skills necessary to perceive the wonders of the natural and human worlds and to solve the environmental challenges we face in the twenty-first century.

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Sustainability Studies Major

Note: This major is currently under revision. Please contact Timothy Lincoln, CSE director, for further information.

This major offers an opportunity for Albion students to participate in an international, interdisciplinary program that is grounded in the social sciences and designed for students who are engaged in today’s and tomorrow’s sustainability challenges.

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Environmental Science Concentration

Some environmental careers are practiced primarily in one field of science. Students interested in pursuing such careers should consider the option of a science major with an environmental science concentration. It is strongly advised that students talk with science faculty in choosing their option.

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Environmental Studies Concentration

The environmental studies concentration is designed for students who have an interest in environmental issues and plan careers in related fields. The choice of courses for this concentration is more open than in the environmental science concentration, due to the varying interests and backgrounds of the students who choose this option. Participating students may pursue a major in any field. Students who complete this concentration might, for example, enter science journalism or work for environmental advocacy groups.

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The ten-unit environmental science major provides broad exposure to environmental sciences at the introductory level, focused work in science at the upper level and a set of cognates designed to show the social and humanistic context in which scientists work.

Requirements

  • Core: Five units of science and mathematics, consisting of Biology 195, Chemistry 121, Geology 101, Geology 111 and Mathematics 141.

  • Science electives: Five units of focused work in science. Courses should have a central theme such as (but not limited to) habitat protection, modeling in environmental science, or water resources, and should be selected in consultation with a science faculty adviser and approved by the CSE director. Courses must be at the 200-level or higher, no more than three courses can be in one department, and at least one 300-level course must be included. Before beginning the study of theme, the student must secure the CSE director's approval of the proposed five-course sequence. This approval must be granted no later than mid-semester of the second semester of the student's sophomore year. A copy of the approved program and any subsequently approved changes are to be filed with the registrar after being signed by the CSE director.

  • Cognate courses: Two and one-half units, ENVN 201, ENVN 220, and one additional cognate selected from the "Society and Culture” or "Language, Idea and Image" lists in the environmental studies major.

  • Experiential requirements:

    • Attendance at a series of seminars each semester. In these, students who completed internships the previous semester will report on them, and other items of general interest, such as graduate schools and careers, will be discussed.
    • An environmental research project, service project or internship. Students should have prior approval of the CSE director, and must make a presentation in the seminar and submit a paper summarizing the experience.

Students completing the environmental studies major will gain a deep understanding of the complex relationships among natural and social systems, as well as a proficiency in the analytical, rhetorical and creative skills necessary to perceive the wonders of the natural and human worlds and to solve the environmental challenges we face in the twenty-first century.

Requirements

  • Core: Four units of required foundation courses consisting of: Anthropology 105, ENVN 101, Biology 195, Geology 101.

  • Categories of emphasis: Six units total from the following three categories with at least one but no more than three courses in each category. If students choose to take three courses from a single category, at least two courses must be at the 200-level.

    • Earth Systems
      • Biology 206, 237, 240
      • Geology 103, 104, 106, 111, 115, 211, 306, 311
      • Physics 102
      • Mathematics 209
    • Language, Idea and Image
      • Art, 241
      • Art History 311, 315
      • Communication Studies 311
      • English 206, 238, 354, 358
      • Philosophy 335
    • Society and Culture
      • Anthropology 220, 240, 271
      • Economics 273
      • ENVN 220
      • History 337, 382
      • International Studies 130
      • Philosophy 206, 220, 301, 304
      • Political Science 216, 256
      • Religious Studies 242
  • Experiential requirements:

    • Attendance at a series of seminars each semester. In these, students who completed internships the previous semester will report on them, and other items of general interest, such as graduate schools and careers, will be discussed.
  • Completion of one of the following for up to one-half unit:

    • An environmental research project, service project or internship. Students should have prior approval of the concentration director, and must make a presentation in the seminar and submit a paper summarizing the experience.
    • One-year of residence in Environmental House with ENVN 206: Sustainable Living Seminar. (Note that residence in the E-House is not available in 2015-16.)
    • ENVN 201: Ecology and Environmental Field Trip

Bonnet Carré Spillway during a flood, as seen on CSE's Louisiana trip.
Bonnet Carré Spillway during a flood, as seen on CSE's Louisiana trip.

Some environmental careers are practiced primarily in one field of science. Students interested in pursuing such careers should consider the option of a science major with an environmental science concentration. It is strongly advised that students talk with science faculty in choosing their option.

Requirements

Core: A major in biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, mathematics/physics, or physics and six additional courses as described below:

  • Four science courses in two sciences outside the student’s major including two or three units in one science and one or two in another. Only two courses can be at the introductory level, which means they lack prerequisites. Courses are to be selected from the list below and in consultation with the concentration director and the student’s major department. It is possible to substitute other upper-level science courses, depending on the interests of the student.
    • Biology 195, 215, 216, 225, 227, 237, 332, 240, 365
    • Chemistry 121,123, 200, 206, 211, 212, 337, 327 (1/2 unit)
    • Geology 101, 202, 205, 208, 211, 216, 306, 307, 311
    • Mathematics and Computer Science 209, 141, 143, 171, 173, 210
    • Physics 115, 116, 167, 168
  • ENVN 220
  • One unit selected from the “Society and Culture” or “Language, Idea and Image” lists in the environmental studies major or one additional upper-level science course not in the student’s major.

Experiential requirements:

  • Attendance at a series of seminars each semester. In these, students who completed internships the previous semester will report on them, and other items of general interest, such as graduate schools and careers, will be discussed.
  • An environmental research project, service project or internship. Students should have prior approval of the concentration director, and must make a presentation in the seminar and submit a paper summarizing the experience

Hiking near Mount St. Helens, observing recovery from a natural disaster.
Hiking near Mount St. Helens, observing recovery from a natural disaster.

The environmental studies concentration is designed for students who have an interest in environmental issues and plan careers in related fields. Due to the varying interests and backgrounds of the students who choose this option, the choice of courses for this concentration is more open than in the environmental science concentration. Participating students may pursue a major in any field. Students who complete this concentration might, for example, enter science journalism or work for environmental advocacy groups.

Requirements

The following are required for the concentration:

  • ENVN 102, 220.
  • Two skills courses selected from the following: Economics 101, English 203, Mathematics 209, Political Science 216.
  • No more than one lab science course selected from the following (this option not available for science majors): Biology 195, Chemistry 121, Geology 101.
  • Two courses that deal explicitly with environmental issues, selected in consultation with the director.
  • One course in the student’s major that is given an environmental focus by completion of an environmental paper, project or activity within the existing structure of the course. Normally these will be at the 200-level or higher. This work will be done in consultation with the director and the course instructor.
  • Experiential requirements:
    • Attendance at a series of seminars each semester. In these, students who completed internships the previous semester will report on them, and other items of general interest, such as graduate schools and careers, will be discussed.
    • An environmental research project, service project or internship. Students should have prior approval of the concentration director, and must make a presentation in the seminar and submit a paper summarizing the experience.

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