Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies Major

Learn more about this major
The Center for Urban Ecology & Sustainability (CUES) offers an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies major drawing from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The major is structured to provide students with a foundation in science, social science, ethics, and humanities to develop a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of environmental issues.

Major Requirements: 13 courses and corresponding laboratories where applicable, 49 credits

CUES Shared Core Requirements (6 courses and corresponding laboratories where applicable, 21 credits)

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Focuses on the natural environment through the lens of social science and humanities. Students will study texts from those disciplines to acquire a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs that underlie environmental issues. Students will investigate the policy-making processes and institutions through which those issues are decided, and the social inequalities in the distribution of environmental problems. Texts to be studied will range from literature, philosophy, and film to policy statements, impact reports, community advocacy materials, and investigative journalism.

Prerequisites:

Take UES-L111 concurrently

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Applies the fundamentals of science to environmental issues. Topics include population dynamics and resources, environmental degradation, ecosystems, geologic processes, deforestation, biodiversity, climate change, air, soil, and water resource management, and pollution and risks to health.

Prerequisites:

Take UES-111 concurrently

Credits:

1.00

Description:

Laboratory exercises are used to illustrate topics covered in UES 111. Field testing and analysis of environmental samples. Field trips may be required.

Prerequisites:

Take UES-L225 concurrently

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Provides the fundamentals of geographic information science (GIS) including the history of automated mapping. A review of the necessary hardware and software elements used in GIS is presented. Hands-on exercises with computerized mapping software are required.

Prerequisites:

Take UES-225 concurrently

Credits:

1.00

Description:

Required companion computer laboratory to be taken concurrently with UES 225.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Examines a contemporary environmental issue for the development of senior project. Students will develop a proposal to address an identified issue from the multiple perspectives (e.g., policy, ethics, environmental justice, science and culture). As appropriate, the proposal will be field tested, demonstrated, or presented to the local community.

Choose one of the following courses:

Prerequisites:

MATH 128 or higher. REMINDER: STATS 250 is a required prerequisite MKT 220, FIN 200 and ISOM 201(prerequisite for ISOM 319)

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Application of statistical analysis to real-world business and economic problems. Topics include data presentation, descriptive statistics including measures of location and dispersion, introduction to probability, discrete and continuous random variables, probability distributions including binomial and normal distributions, sampling and sampling distributions, statistical inference including estimation and hypothesis testing, simple and multiple regression analysis. The use of computers is emphasized throughout the course. Normally offered each semester.

Prerequisites:

BIO 111/L111

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Introduction to the statistical methods used to evaluate biological problems. Sampling, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests, experimental design, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation are some of the topics offered. Software for data handling, graphics, and analysis will be used.

Environmental Studies Core Requirements (4 courses and corresponding laboratories where applicable, 16 credits)

Prerequisites:

PHIL-119, PHIL-123, PHIL-127 or PHIL-120

Credits:

4.00

Description:

An examination of the moral issues involved in the interaction of humans with their natural environment. Topics include: the environmental crisis, human-centered vs. nature-centered ethics, intrinsic value in nature, obligations to future generations, the importance of preserving endangered species and wilderness, radical ecology, eco-feminism, and the role of social justice in environmental issues. Prerequisite: PHIL 119, or 123, or 127. 1 term -4 credits. Normally offered every year.

Prerequisites:

UES-L211 must be taken concurrently.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Focuses on how environmental conditions affect human, animal and ecological health. Areas may include control of environmental contaminants; public health and infectious disease control; sanitation systems; antibiotic resistance; health issues associated with food production; the effects of industrialization on the environment; and the impact of disasters on environmental health.

Prerequisites:

UES-211 must be taken concurrently.

Credits:

1.00

Description:

Illustrates topics covered UES 211 through laboratory exercises. Exercises may include analysis of environmental samples (soil, water, and air). Field trips may be required.

Prerequisites:

UES-111 UES-L111 UES-211 UES-L211

Credits:

4.00

Description:

How environmental professionals decide what to study, how they select a research design, sample and collect data, analyze results, interpret findings, and write up reports. Students are introduced to the techniques most frequently used by environmental professionals and undertake their own small research project. Required for all environmental studies majors.

Choose one of the following:

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Investigates the environmental justice movement, its basis in law, and its leaders. Students will study key topics pertaining to environmental and health disparities and learn about community organizing and advocacy and their application to shape decision-making. Sustainable practices and their integration into daily life to create healthy communities and equity will be considered.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

This course will explore our natural environment and human interacations with it. We will connect a critical study of society, power, and inequality to the study of our natural environment and the ways it is altered by human behaviors. We will also consider ways to change our society's relationship with the natural environment to keep our earth clean and safe for human society.

Concentration Requirement (3 courses, 12 credits)

Choose one of the following concentrations:

Environmental Policy Concentration

Prerequisites:

This course will have a service learning component Junior Status required

Credits:

4.00

Description:

From Rio to the Boston Harbor Project, this course examines the policies and politics of the environment. It examines the origins of the environmental movement in the United States focusing on the development and present function of government and non-government organizations responsible for the development and implementation of global, national, state and local environmental policies.

Choose two of the following. At least one must be at or above the 200-level:

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Identifies the environmental effects of economic activity, including polluted water and air, noise, and radiation, and values their costs and benefits. Analyzes mechanisms, including taxes and permits, for achieving a socially preferable level of pollution. Traces role played by institutions, including common ownership, in affecting environmental decay. Resource depletion (of oil, forests, and fisheries) and appropriate policy responses.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

The study of how economic and human activity is distributed across space, the reasons for these spatial distributions, and the processes that change the spatial organization of economic activity over time. Topics include: maps, map projections, and geographic information systems; population geography; the organization and location of cities, towns and villages; transportation and communication policy; industrial location; the geography of world trade; and geographic features of economic development. The course takes a global perspective, and draws on cases and examples from all over the world. Cultural Diversity B

Prerequisites:

GVT 110 or GVT 120 or instructor's permission

Credits:

4.00

Description:

This course will provide an examination of the institutions involved in the American policy-making process. The student will learn about the presidential system that exists in the United States. The course will focus on a relationship between the President and Congress and how that relationship impedes or facilitates the public policy process, including the budgetary process. The course will include a discussion of the president's role as head of the executive branch, and the implementation of congressional policies. Attention will be given to the role of the judiciary in the policy process. Normally offered every year.

Prerequisites:

GVT 110 and GVT 120 or instructor's permission

Credits:

4.00

Description:

An introduction to the process by which public policies are made in the United States. The class will focus on agenda-setting and policy formulation at the federal level, and will include a discussion of the various actors in governmental institutions that impact public policy. Several policy issues will be used as examples to illustrate the process. Some comparisons will be made to state and local policymaking. Normally offered every year.

Prerequisites:

SIB 101 or HST 149 or HST 150 or Instructor permission

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Global health, global poverty, and global warming are three interrelated issues that are creating a "perfect storm" of crises worldwide with major impacts on the United States. This course is an overview of the problems - the needs, systems, programs, and financing. We will look critically at policies in these areas and discuss what needs to be done to address them. Students will write a major paper on an issue of their choice.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

This course examines crime and place. Students will use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to look at crime patterns and develop crime prevention and reduction strategies. Although this will be a hands on course design, no prior knowledge of GIS or mapping techniques will be required.

Urban Environmentalism Concentration

Choose three of the following. At least two must be at or above the 300-level:

Credits:

4.00

Description:

The study of how economic and human activity is distributed across space, the reasons for these spatial distributions, and the processes that change the spatial organization of economic activity over time. Topics include: maps, map projections, and geographic information systems; population geography; the organization and location of cities, towns and villages; transportation and communication policy; industrial location; the geography of world trade; and geographic features of economic development. The course takes a global perspective, and draws on cases and examples from all over the world. Cultural Diversity B

Prerequisites:

Take EC-101

Credits:

4.00

Description:

More than half of the world population lives in urban areas. This course sets out to explain the existence, growth, geographic patterns, and impact of cities, and the effects of public policy on urban form, structure, and activity. It addresses the urban issues of transportation, congestion, housing, crime, poverty and inequality, governance, and the environment, and asks how planning and policy can tackle these. The context of these discussions is the megacities of Asia: 24 of the world's 37 megacities (those with ten million or more inhabitants) are in Asia, where they are home to almost 500 million people. The choices made by these cities will be considered in comparative perspective, including with Boston, New York, Paris, and London.

Prerequisites:

ENT-101 and Junior Standing

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Over the past decade, the world of business and the environment has exploded. Beginning as an engineering-driven movement among a handful of companies during the 1980's, many firms have learned that improved environment performance can save money and create a competitive advantage. In this course, we will cover how businesses of all sizes are more attentive to environmental issues and the realization that a green business: improves employee morale and health in the workplace, holds a marketing edge over the competition, strengthens the bottom line through operating efficiencies, is recognized as an environmental leader, can have a strong impact in the community and beyond, and can improve public relations.

Prerequisites:

Class will meet for 75 minutes a week and then travel over spring break. Instructor's consent is required

Credits:

4.00

Description:

In this course students meet community needs by engaging in service-learning outside the classroom.Focuses on the history and lasting effect of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on the physical and political landscape of the United States.Tracks the progression of work of the more than 3 million men who served in the CCC from 1933 to 1942, from the planting of billions of trees to the development of recreational opportunities on federal and state lands. Looks at the role the CCC played in redefining conservation and creating a mainstream environmental movement. Investigates the lasting legacy that the CCC left on the American landscape through the development of other conservation corps programs. Connected with a required Alternative Spring Break trip, this experiential education offering will allow students to experience and complete similar work to that completed by CCC members.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Permaculture is the design of food systems and social structures to provide for human needs while restoring ecosystem health. Examining the interconnections between environmental, social and economic components, Permaculture is informed by the disciplines of systems ecology, ecological design and ethno-ecology.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Explores how Americans have understood the environment and their relationship to it through analysis of classic environmental texts, historical contexts, and societal perspectives. Analyzes how the environment has changed from pre-colonial times to the present and how these changes have been described through the lens of environmental history. Themes include differing viewpoints of European and indigenous peoples toward the natural environment, the impacts of the Western expansion on native species and landscapes, the rise of industrialism and its impacts on natural resources and ecosystems, and the rise of 20th century environmentalism.

Credits:

4.00

Description:

Explores local and bioregional food systems through the lens of holistic design and of building a resilient food culture through the ethics of sustainability. Students will examine environmental, social and economic factors of building successful community food systems from seed to table. Provides students with the tools to assess the decisions that direct our current food chain including processing, marketing, and food distribution. Students will make connections to food justice, health, food insecurity while analyzing commercial agriculture and small scale sustainable farming.

Internship Option

Internships may be approved for credit by the CUES director. An approved internship for 3- or 4- credits may be used as a concentration course option at the discretion of the CUES director. 

Prerequisites:

Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors and minors only with junior standing.

Credits:

1.00- 4.00

Description:

Application of the principles and techniques of environmental science or studies to a specific environmental problem through a local internship placement of 10 hours per week (minimum) for 12 weeks. Typically, this experience will include literature research, classroom meetings, and field work in an off-campus environmental agency or NGO.

Credits:

1.00- 4.00

Description:

Application of the principles and techniques of environmental science or studies to a specific environmental problem through a global internship placement of 10 hours per week (minimum) for 12 weeks. Typically, this experience will include literature research, classroom meetings, and field work in an off-campus environmental agency or NGO.

Note: Certain courses required for the major will also meet core curriculum requirements and can be double-counted.

Residency Requirement Policy: In the College of Arts and Sciences, a two-course (8 credit) residency requirement must be satisfied for completion of a minor and a four-course (16 credit) residency requirement must be satisfied for the completion of a major.

Environmental Studies Learning Goals and Objectives

Learning goals and objectives reflect the educational outcomes achieved by students through the completion of this program. These transferable skills prepare Suffolk students for success in the workplace, in graduate school, and in their local and global communities.

Learning Goals Learning Objectives
Students will know/understand
Students will be able to...
Science as a process for understanding environmental phenomena and issues
  • Assess the ethics of a proposed study
  • Conduct an experiment following standard protocols
  • Recognize the importance of safety protocols
  • Collect data via quantitative and qualitative observations and measurements
  • Interpret the results of an experiment
  • How science is communicated
  • Evaluate primary literature
  • Interpret visual representations of data
  • Summarize the discoveries of scientific research
  • How to communicate scientific findings
  • Orally present findings to others in formal and informal settings
  • Construct a written document in a scientific style including proper citation of sources
  • Prepare visual representations of data
  • Access and utilize scientific databases
  • How to work collaboratively
  • Conduct an experiment or gather data as part of a group
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Record protocols and observations
  • Provide constructive feedback to group members
  • Accept feedback from group members
  • How decisions about the environment are made
  • Describe the historical context of environmental decisions
  • Describe the societal and cultural context of environmental decisions
  • Describe the political context of environmental decisions
  • Describe the ethical context of decisions about the environment
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the process of establishing environmental regulations in the US and globally
  • Analyze how poverty, social injustice, and inequity impact environmental decision making
  • The physical and chemical characteristics of the natural environment
  • Identify the chemical structures and physical characteristics of the molecules of biotic and abiotic components of the environment
  • Write and use material balances
  • Apply a systems approach to the analysis of urban, suburban, and rural areas
  • Identify the major environmental impacts of human activity
  • Understand and describe technical solutions to environmental problems
  • That energy can be changed from one form to another, and the need for, and impacts of, human energy use
  • Compare and contrast relevant forms of energy (e. g. kinetic energy vs. potential energy, energy stored in bonds vs. potential energy of concentration gradients).
  • Write and use energy balances
  • Identify solar and non-solar energy sources and their environmental impacts
  • Identify social justice issues in provision of energy to global population
  • How to apply systems thinking to environmental problems
  • Use GIS mapping software to analyze an environmental issue or problem. Evaluate an environmental problem from multiple disciplines
  • Identify the global environmental systems, including the sources and sinks for environmentally important elements and compounds
  • Provide the societal, cultural, and regulatory context for an environmental issue or problem
  • Identify multiple stakeholders in an environmental issue and how they impact policy and reform
  • Distinguish between natural and anthropogenically generated environmental phenomenon and understand their interactions
  • How to pursue a career in the environmentally related fields
  • Appraise your technical and interpersonal skills and qualities
  • Effectively search for and locate pertinent internships and jobs
  • Assess your qualifications in relation to an internship and/or job description
  • Prepare job application materials including a resume and cover letter
  • Conduct a mock interview
  • Environmental Studies Minor

    Learn more about this minor

    Minor Requirements: 5 courses and corresponding laboratories where applicable, 20 credits

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    Focuses on the natural environment through the lens of social science and humanities. Students will study texts from those disciplines to acquire a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs that underlie environmental issues. Students will investigate the policy-making processes and institutions through which those issues are decided, and the social inequalities in the distribution of environmental problems. Texts to be studied will range from literature, philosophy, and film to policy statements, impact reports, community advocacy materials, and investigative journalism.

    Prerequisites:

    Take UES-L111 concurrently

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    Applies the fundamentals of science to environmental issues. Topics include population dynamics and resources, environmental degradation, ecosystems, geologic processes, deforestation, biodiversity, climate change, air, soil, and water resource management, and pollution and risks to health.

    Prerequisites:

    Take UES-111 concurrently

    Credits:

    1.00

    Description:

    Laboratory exercises are used to illustrate topics covered in UES 111. Field testing and analysis of environmental samples. Field trips may be required.

    Choose three of the following. At least two must be at the 300-level or above.

    Prerequisites:

    PHIL-119, PHIL-123, PHIL-127 or PHIL-120

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    An examination of the moral issues involved in the interaction of humans with their natural environment. Topics include: the environmental crisis, human-centered vs. nature-centered ethics, intrinsic value in nature, obligations to future generations, the importance of preserving endangered species and wilderness, radical ecology, eco-feminism, and the role of social justice in environmental issues. Prerequisite: PHIL 119, or 123, or 127. 1 term -4 credits. Normally offered every year.

    Prerequisites:

    UES-L211 must be taken concurrently.

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    Focuses on how environmental conditions affect human, animal and ecological health. Areas may include control of environmental contaminants; public health and infectious disease control; sanitation systems; antibiotic resistance; health issues associated with food production; the effects of industrialization on the environment; and the impact of disasters on environmental health.

    Prerequisites:

    UES-211 must be taken concurrently.

    Credits:

    1.00

    Description:

    Illustrates topics covered UES 211 through laboratory exercises. Exercises may include analysis of environmental samples (soil, water, and air). Field trips may be required.

    Prerequisites:

    Class will meet for 75 minutes a week and then travel over spring break. Instructor's consent is required

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    In this course students meet community needs by engaging in service-learning outside the classroom.Focuses on the history and lasting effect of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on the physical and political landscape of the United States.Tracks the progression of work of the more than 3 million men who served in the CCC from 1933 to 1942, from the planting of billions of trees to the development of recreational opportunities on federal and state lands. Looks at the role the CCC played in redefining conservation and creating a mainstream environmental movement. Investigates the lasting legacy that the CCC left on the American landscape through the development of other conservation corps programs. Connected with a required Alternative Spring Break trip, this experiential education offering will allow students to experience and complete similar work to that completed by CCC members.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    Permaculture is the design of food systems and social structures to provide for human needs while restoring ecosystem health. Examining the interconnections between environmental, social and economic components, Permaculture is informed by the disciplines of systems ecology, ecological design and ethno-ecology.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    Explores how Americans have understood the environment and their relationship to it through analysis of classic environmental texts, historical contexts, and societal perspectives. Analyzes how the environment has changed from pre-colonial times to the present and how these changes have been described through the lens of environmental history. Themes include differing viewpoints of European and indigenous peoples toward the natural environment, the impacts of the Western expansion on native species and landscapes, the rise of industrialism and its impacts on natural resources and ecosystems, and the rise of 20th century environmentalism.

    For one of the three courses, students may select either:

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    Investigates the environmental justice movement, its basis in law, and its leaders. Students will study key topics pertaining to environmental and health disparities and learn about community organizing and advocacy and their application to shape decision-making. Sustainable practices and their integration into daily life to create healthy communities and equity will be considered.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    This course will explore our natural environment and human interacations with it. We will connect a critical study of society, power, and inequality to the study of our natural environment and the ways it is altered by human behaviors. We will also consider ways to change our society's relationship with the natural environment to keep our earth clean and safe for human society.

    Note: Certain courses required for the minor will also meet core curriculum requirements and can be double-counted.

    Residency Requirement Policy: In the College of Arts and Sciences, a two-course (8 credit) residency requirement must be satisfied for completion of a minor and a four-course (16 credit) residency requirement must be satisfied for the completion of a major.

    Minor Programs Policy: A student declaring a minor may use no more than two courses from a major to fulfill the requirements for the minor. No more than one course from one minor may count toward the fulfillment of a second minor. Students may not minor in a subject in which they are also completing a major. For more information, see the Minor Programs section of the CAS Degree Requirements page.

    Honors

    Honors

    Students participating in the program must meet the following criteria:

    1. Be invited by the CUES Honors Advisory Committee
    2. Graduate with a major GPA of 3.5 or higher
    3. Graduate with an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher
    4. Complete UES-H555 (minimum registration for 4 credits)
    5. Develop and complete an independent study project under the supervision of a member of the CUES Honors Advisory Committee. Depending on the nature of the project, the study may be conducted on or off campus, or involve a combination of both.
    6. Develop and defend a thesis to the CUES Honors Advisory Committee
    7. Present findings in a colloquium.
    8. CAS Honors Program students only: Present work from your senior honors experience at the Honors Symposium or Pecha Kucha event

    Environmental Studies Courses

    Environmental Studies Courses

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    An interdisciplinary course that focuses on the social science and humanities disciplines as they are related to the natural environment. Students will study texts from those disciplines to acquire a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs that underlie environmental issues. The course will also investigate the policy-making processes and institutions through which those issues are decided, and the social inequalities in the distribution of environmental problems. Texts to be studied will range from literature, philosophy and film to policy statements, impact reports, community advocacy materials, and investigative journalism.

    Prerequisites:

    Class will meet for 75 minutes a week and then travel over spring break. Instructor's consent is required

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    This course will focus on the history and lasting affect of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on the physical and political landscape of the United States. From 1933 to 1942 more than 3 million men served in the CCC, and this course will track the progression of their work from the planting of billions of trees to the development of recreational opportunities on federal and state lands. Over time, CCC work progressed from the conservation of natural resources to the conservation of human resources and promotion of recreation on public lands. As the CCC changed over time, so too did public opinion concerning the CCC's work and mission. This class will explore opposition to CCC projects by significant figures in America's environmental movement such as Aldo Leopold and Bob Marshall, and the resulting influence on the environmental movement in America. We will also look at the role the CCC played in redefining conservation and creating a mainstream environmental movement. In addition, this class will consider the affect that the CCC had on New Deal politics. Finally, this class will study the lasting legacy that the CCC left on the American landscape through the development of other conservation corps programs. Students will also read first hand accounts, view films, and possibly hear directly from a CCC veteran. As a class connected with an Alternative Spring Break trip, this experiential education offering will allow students to experience and complete similar work to that completed by CCC members. During Alternative Spring Break, students will visit important CCC history sites such as the first CCC camp in the country and a major national park development project. During the course, assignments will challenge students to identify CCC sites in Massachusetts or their home states. Local site visits are a possibility for this class. Other assignments will challenge students to identify modern environmental organizations who can trace their origins to the CCC (either by mimicking the CCC model or by opposing the CCC), and investigate how their current work is related to those beginnings.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    Permaculture is the design of food systems and social structures to provide for human needs while restoring ecosystem health. Examining the interconnections between environmental, social and economic components, Permaculture is informed by the disciplines of systems ecology, ecological design and ethno-ecology.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    A course examining a contemporary environmental issue from various disciplinary perspectives. Using a case-study approach, students will develop a proposal to address the identified issue from the perspectives of policy, ethics, justice, science and culture. As appropriate, the proposal will be field tested, demonstrated, or presented to the local community. Possible topics include sustainable development, urban air pollution, sustainable farming, or water conservation.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    A continuation of ENST 401

    Prerequisites:

    This class fulfills the Expanded Classroom Requirement. Junior standing or above required or consent of the instructor.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    This course combines a practicum placement of at least 10 hours a week for 12 weeks in a position that offered the student significant opportunity to learn about environmental problems as the basis for reflection, analysis, and skill development through appropriate reading, writing, and oral presentation assignments. Specific learning objectives will be tailored to the student's placement. Interested students should consult instructor in advance. ECR. 4 credits. Prerequisite: junior standing, limited to Environmental Studies majors and minors.

    Prerequisites:

    Grade point average 3.0 overall, 3.4 in major; completion of a minimum of 8 credits in courses that are part of the Environmental Studies major at Suffolk University; consent of instructor.

    Credits:

    4.00

    Description:

    Individual program of reading, research, writing on an approved topic under the supervision of a member of the Committee on Environmental Studies, for Environmental Studies majors who are candidates for honors in Environmental Studies and who wish to prepare a thesis for submission to the honors committee. Must normally be taken in the first semester of the senior year. Prerequisites: Grade point average 3.0 overall, 3.4 in major; completion of a minimum of 8 credits in courses that are part of the Environmental Studies major at Suffolk University; consent of instructor. 1 term - 4 credits. Normally offered every fall.