Linked Major

Linked Major. The linked-major program in environmental studies (ENVS) is the secondary major to a primary major.  Students cannot obtain the BA degree with ENVS as their only major.  Students must complete all the requirements for graduation from their primary major in addition to those of ENVS as their secondary major.  Each student will work closely with an ENVS advisor to develop an individual course of study. ENVS requires an introductory course, seven elective courses, a senior colloquium, and a senior capstone project (thesis, essay, performance, etc.) on an environmental topic that is researched, mentored, and credited in the primary major program.  In addition, students must take one course in any subject that fulfills the writing essential capability.

Introductory course. One of the following introductory courses serves as the gateway to the ENVS linked-major program:

  • BIOL/E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science

Elective course. A total of seven elective courses are required, two must be at the upper level of academic study (usually 300 level or higher), and one elective must come from each of the three following core areas:

Core Electives Area 1

  • AFAM213  The Science and Politics of Environmental Realism
  • PHIL212  Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL215  Humans, Animals, and Nature
  • SISP205  Sciences as Social and Cultural Practices
  • SISP207Social and Cultural Practices of Science

Core Electives Area 2

  • ECON210  Economics of the Environment
  • GOVT206  Public Policy
  • GOVT221  Environmental Policy
  • GOVT222  Regulation and Governance

Core Electives Area 3

  • BIOL216 Ecology
  • BIOL220  Conservation Biology
  • E&ES290  Oceans and Climate
  • E&ES233  Geobiology
  • E&ES280  Environmental Geochemistry

Students will choose an additional four electives with their ENVS advisor.  The electives may be selected from the entire list (see attached), in addition to those courses listed in core elective areas 1-3 above.  Four of the elective courses must constitute a disciplinary or thematic concentration including at least one upper-level course (usually at the 300 level).  Thematic concentrations are encouraged to be interdisciplinary.  Courses selected from the three core areas above may be used as part of the concentration. Students are encouraged to develop their own thematic concentrations that require approval by their ENVS advisor.

Example 1 - Conservation

  • BIOL219 Ecology
  • BIOL220 Conservation Biology
  • E&ES233 Geobiology
  • BIOL/E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems

Example 2 - Public Health

  • BIOL222 Issues in the Health Sciences
  • BIOL273 Global Change and Infectious Disease
  • CCIV225 Medicine and Health in Antiquity
  • SOC315 The Health of Communities

Example 3 - The Human Environment

  • AFAM213 The Science and Politics of Environmental Realism
  • GOVT222 Regulation and Governance
  • PHIL334 Biomedical Ethics Seminar
  • SOC247 Environmental Sociology

Example 4 - Climate Change 1

  • E&ES290 Oceans and Climate
  • ECON210 Economics of the Environment
  • ECON310 Environmental and Resource Economics
  • GOVT221 Regulation and Governance

Example 5 - Climate Change 2

  • E&ES290 Oceans and Climate
  • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
  • ECON210 Economics of the Environment
  • GOVT221 Environmental Policy

Example 6 - The Human Environment

  • AFAM213 The Science and Politics of Environmental Realism
  • GOVT222 Regulation and Governance
  • PHIL334 Biomedical Ethics Seminar
  • SOC247 Environmental Sociology

Senior capstone experience. The ENVS linked-major program provides a capstone experience that includes a senior project and a senior colloquium.   The purpose of the ENVS capstone experience is to challenge students to think creatively, deeply, and originally about an environmental issue and to produce a significant work that uses their expertise from their primary major.  The students will then have the opportunity to present and discuss their research in the ENVS Senior Colloquium with seniors and faculty.

  • Senior capstone project. The creative exploration of a critical environmental issue through independent research is an essential part of ENVS. All ENVS majors must complete a senior capstone project in one of three categories discussed below, though students are encouraged strongly to pursue a project in either of the first two categories.  The topic must concern an environmental issue and must be approved in advance by the ENVS advisor. 

    • Category 1. The capstone project may take any of the forms accepted by the primary department as a senior project (e.g., senior thesis, senior essay, senior performance, senior exhibition, senior film thesis). The senior project is submitted only to the primary department and is not evaluated by ENVS. Students may select an interdisciplinary thesis topic such that they solicit the help of more than one mentor if permitted by the primary department. 
    • Category 2. The capstone project may be a thesis submitted in general scholarship.  The student must have a mentor for the thesis, and the topic must be approved by the ENVS advisor.
    • Category 3. In the event that the student cannot find a mentor, the student may complete a special written research project to meet the research requirement.  The topic must be approved by the ENVS advisor, and progress must be reported to both the ENVS advisor and the ENVS program director during the fall semester.  The written project is similar in its purpose to a senior essay, using primary sources, and must concern an environmental topic from the perspective of the student’s primary major.  The senior project is due at the senior thesis deadline.  It will be the responsibility of the ENVS program director to find a suitable reader or to evaluate the written work.
  • Senior colloquium. The ENVS Senior Colloquium provides students and faculty the opportunity to discuss, but not evaluate, the senior projects.  Students will make a half-hour presentation on their projects followed by 30 minutes of discussion.  Two students will present per colloquium session.  Any interested faculty may attend, but the project mentors and ENVS advisors will be especially invited.  Two weeks prior to their presentation, students will distribute several critical published works (articles, essays, etc.) to enhance the level of discussion for their topic.  The colloquium may also invite several presentations by faculty or outside speakers.

As a prelude to the Senior Colloquium, there will be three dinners for ENVS seniors and faculty during the Fall semester.  At the dinners, the students will speak for up to five minutes about the topic and strategies for their senior project.  Faculty and the seniors can provide insights, references, or research resources or some advice.  The mentors from the primary departments or programs will also be invited. 

Additionally, all declared ENVS majors will be invited to the dinners and to the colloquium to enrich their early experience and encourage them to begin thinking about their future projects; their attendance is encouraged only and they do not enroll in the colloquium until their senior year.

Additional considerations.With the exceptions of  ENGL112 (The Environmental Imagination: Green Writing and Ecocriticism), ECON148 (The Economics of Climate Change), and the introductory courses, 100-level courses do not count toward the major.

  • Up to three courses from the primary major may be counted toward the ENVS-linked major.
  • Students may substitute two reading or research tutorials, or one tutorial and one student forum, for two electives with approval of the ENVS advisor.  Only one tutorial may count within a concentration; the student-run forum cannot count toward the concentration.
  • Up to three credits from study-abroad programs may be used for elective courses, including for the concentration, with prior approval of the ENVS advisor and as long as the credits from abroad are accepted by Wesleyan.
  • One course in the student’s entire curriculum must satisfy the essential capabilities for writing.
  • With the approval of the advisor and a written petition by the student, certain internships (e.g., Sierra Club, state agency, EPA, NOAA) may be substituted for one noncore elective.