Feb 16, 2019  

Environmental Studies

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Environmental Studies Chair:  D. Martin
Professors: Merrill, Lozada, Paradise, Peroni
Associate Professors:  Hauser,  Samson
Assistant Professors: Bullock, Johnson, Smith
Visiting Professors: Backus, Kohout

The interdisciplinary major in Environmental Studies consists of eleven courses, as follows:

(3) Interdisciplinary Overviews:

ENV 201: Environmental Science, ENV 202: Environmental Social Sciences, and ENV 203: Environmental Humanities.  These three courses may be taken in any sequence, but two must be completed by the end of the sophomore year and the third must be completed by the end of the junior year.  ENV 201, 202, and 203 are prerequisites for more advanced courses that fulfill major requirements, including ENV 498:  Capstone I. 

(4) Depth Component Courses

Three content courses plus a related methodology course.  Students may choose from one of three tracks (Environmental Natural Science, Environmental Social Science, Environmental Humanities) or may self-design a Depth Component, subject to the approval of the Environmental Studies faculty.  At least three courses in the Depth Component must be at the 200 level or above; at least two courses in the Depth Component must be from the same department.

Methodology Course

 The ENV major requires a methodology course in the track of the depth component. This methodology course is specifically intended to support the capstone project. Therefore, students should complete the methodology course by the end of the junior year. Students who do not complete an appropriate and relevant methodology course by the end of the junior year will be at a significant disadvantage in undertaking the capstone project in the senior year. In order to choose the most appropriate methodology course, students should have regular conversations with their ENV major adviser and other ENV professors about plans for the capstone project; this includes plans to conduct research during the summer(s) or during study abroad. For example, if the main research for the capstone project will involve interviews, then a statistics course is not the most appropriate methodology course.

(2) Breadth Component Courses

The Breadth Component is determined in conjunction with the Depth Component. If a student chooses one of the established tracks for the Depth Component, the Breadth Component will consist of one course from each of the other two tracks. Students who self-design the Depth Component will also propose a corresponding Breadth Component, again subject to the approval of the Environmental Studies faculty.

Content Courses for Depth and Breadth Components:

Environmental Natural Sciences

Environmental Social Science

Environmental Humanities

(2) Capstone courses

ENV 498 Capstone I (Prerequisites:  ENV 201, 202, 203)

ENV 499:  Capstone II  (Prerequisite:  ENV 498)

Capstone project:  ENV majors design and propose an independent project that demonstrates both the knowledge and skills of interdisciplinary Environmental Studies.

ENV 498 proposals must be submitted by the end of the junior year, or earlier if seeking summer support. The Environmental Studies faculty evaluates and approves the proposals.

Capstone projects will culminate in a major paper or other significant project appropriate to the subject (such as an art installation or performance). Projects require relevant research. The major paper or project is due at the end of ENV 499: Capstone II. Students in ENV 498 and ENV 499 will work independently as well as meet with other majors and the Capstone professor in group sessions.

Honors in Environmental Studies

Honors in ENV is awarded to students who meet all of these criteria:

• have a 3.2 GPA overall by the time of graduation,
• have a 3.5 GPA in the major by the time of graduation,
• have done exceptional work in ENV 498 and 499, and
• have successfully defended their major paper or project in an oral defense.


a. Students may not choose both the ENV major and the ENV interdisciplinary minor.

b. No more than two courses at the 100 level may count for the major, including not more than one course at the 100 level in the Depth Component.

c.  A maximum of two courses may count toward both the ENV major and a second major, minor, or interdisciplinary minor.

d. No more than two courses taken away from Davidson may count toward the major. Once the Registrar has granted transfer credit, students may petition the Environmental Studies faculty to approve transfer courses for the major.

 e. Students may petition the Environmental Studies faculty to approve independent studies for the major. A maximum of two independent studies may count toward the major.

f. ENV 201, 202, 203, 498, and 499 must be taken at Davidson; exceptions must be approved by the Environmental Studies faculty.

g. Careful course planning is important for all Environmental Studies majors, particularly for students who plan to study abroad and those who plan to do graduate work in an environmental field.

h. Most Environmental Studies majors will receive the Bachelor of Arts degree. To receive the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies, students must: (a) choose the Environmental Sciences track for the Depth Component, (b) complete a capstone project in Environmental Sciences, and (c) take one additional science or mathematics courses at the 200 level or above beyond the methodology course and three depth component courses. Three of those courses under part (c) must include a lab component, yielding a total of four lab courses, including ENV201. Independent study courses may count as a course with a lab with the approval of the Environmental Studies Faculty. The additional laboratory course, beyond those required for the depth component, does not have to be environmental in content; if a student also chooses a minor in a science or mathematics department, those courses could count as the additional course for the B.S. degree in ENV.

i. Please visit the Environmental Studies Department’s website for up-to-date information regarding course requirements.


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