Linked Major

Department/Program Description.

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.

Admission to the Major.

The following requirements are necessary to complete the ENVS linked-major:

  • An introductory course or an AP 4 or 5 on Environmental Science AP Exam
  • Three core electives, one from each area
  • Four additional electives, whether or not in the core list
  • Two semesters of senior colloquium, ENVS391, 392
  • A senior capstone project 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
Major Requirements.

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

  • ENVS214 Women, Animals, Nature
  • ENVS230 The Simple Life
  • ENVS305 Moral Ecologies and the Anthropology of Vitality
  • ENVS307 The Economy of Nature and Nations
  • PHIL212 Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL215 Humans, Animals, Nature
  • PHIL270 Key Issues in Environmental Philosophy

Core Electives Area 2

  • ECON212 The Economics of Sustainable Development, Vulnerability, and Resilience
  • ENVS285 Environmental Law and Policy
  • ENVS325 Healthy Places: Practice, Policy and Population Health
  • GOVT206 Public Policy
  • GOVT221 Environmental Policy
  • GOVT322 Global Environmental Politics

Core Electives Area 3

  • BIOL216 Ecology
  • BIOL220 Conservation Biology
  • BIOL226 Invasive Species
  • BIOL312/E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems
  • E&ES290 Oceans and Climate
  • E&ES233 Geobiology
  • E&ES280 Environmental Geochemistry
  • ENVS340 The Forest Ecosystem
  • ENVS361 Living in a Polluted World

Students will choose an additional four electives with their ENVS advisor. These electives may be selected from the entire list in addition to those courses listed in core elective areas 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. The following are some possible examples.

Example 1-Conservation

  • BIOL216 Ecology
  • BIOL220 Conservation Biology
  • E&ES233 Geobiology
  • BIOL/E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems

Example 2-Public Health

  • BIOL222 Issues in the Health Sciences
  • CCIV225 Medicine and Health in Antiquity
  • SOC 315 The Health of Communities

Example 3-Climate Change 1

  • E&ES290 Oceans and Climate
  • ECON310 Environmental and Resource Economics
  • GOVT221 Environmental Policy

Example 4 - Climate Change 2

  • E&ES290 Oceans and Climate
  • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
  • GOVT221 Environmental Policy
Capstone Experience.

The ENVS-linked-major program provides a capstone experience that includes a senior project and a full year of senior colloquia. 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 ENVS391/392 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. The student must be officially enrolled in one or more courses while they complete the research project.  The students must submit to the director of ENVS no later than the last day of classes in the spring semester in their junior year a 3-page research prospectus on their planned course of research.  This plan must be signed by the potential mentor of the senior research.  The mentor does not have to be a member of the ENVS faculty.

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 satisfy the conditions for the above categories, the student may register for and complete a Senior Essay: Environmental Studies (ENVS 403/404). The mentor can be any Wesleyan faculty member and the topic must be approved by the ENVS advisor. If the student cannot find a mentor, then it will be the responsibility of the ENVS program director to find a suitable reader or to evaluate the written work. The due date for the senior essay is set between the student and the mentor.

  • Senior colloquium. The ENVS Senior Colloquium provides students and faculty the opportunity to discuss, but not evaluate, the senior projects. Students will make 10-minute presentations on their projects followed by five minutes of discussion. 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 a one- to two-page summary of their findings to enhance the level of discussion for their topic. The colloquium may also invite several presentations by faculty or outside speakers. Students must be formally enrolled in the colloquium each semester of their senior year.

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 Information.

With the exception of 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; only one student-run forum can count toward the concentration.
  • Up to three credits from study-abroad programs may be used for noncore 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.