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The Environmental Science and Policy Program
The environmental problems that threaten the planet on which our society depends are complex, requiring us to integrate insights across the disciplines. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of these problems, students pursuing careers in the environment require significant breadth of training in the natural and social sciences and the humanities. At the same time, students must have an area of expertise, and so should develop effective skills based on depth of training in a specific area. In light of the need for an appropriate balance between breadth and depth of training, the Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) program has been designed as a secondary major and a minor, each to be pursued in conjunction with a primary major in a complementary subject field. Every ENSP major/minor must major in another discipline.
The Environmental Science and Policy major provides breadth in basic course work as well as familiarization with the specific scientific and social considerations related to a wide range of environmental issues. Participation in the program requires an initial consultation with the Director, and a formal declaration of major no later than the second semester of the junior year. Students pursuing a primary major in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, or other natural science field will normally have their secondary major designated as Environmental Science and they will receive the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Others–often students pursuing a primary major in Economics, Global Studies, Government, International Relations, Public Policy, or Sociology–will receive a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with an Environmental Policy designation. There are two slightly different programs for the B.A. and B.S. majors: the Science Track and the Policy Track.
There are no formal restrictions on the primary major pursued in conjunction with the Environmental Science and Policy major. However, the primary should both supplement and complement the student’s environmental training, while providing the necessary additional depth. Therefore, students are expected to develop a program with an appropriate rationale based on interconnections among subjects as well as the student’s long-term career interests. Two courses may be counted toward both majors; therefore, depending on the primary major, the number of additional courses required to complete the Environmental Science and Policy major may total less than 36 hours.
For both the B.A. and B.S., limited substitution of other courses for some of these requirements may be possible with the approval of the Director. In addition to the required work, various other courses as well as non-classroom training (such as internships, research projects with faculty, participation in study abroad programs, or off-campus study and research, such as participation in an REU program) are strongly recommended.
For advice, further information, updates, and additional descriptive material, contact the Director (Prof. Andrew Fisher, History Dept., firstname.lastname@example.org) and visit www.wm.edu/environment.
Programs and Course Descriptions
CoursesEnvironmental Science and Policy