PEAK Majors

PEAKS | HFA SSH NSM

Students pursuing an ES major complete all of the Core courses plus six to eight courses comprising a disciplinary Focus. Students are encouraged to complete some courses in the Core before beginning coursework toward the Focus. Students should consult an ES advisor for assistance with planning a course of study. Students wishing to substitute a second major for the Focus area must submit a formal, written request to the ES Chair to be considered by the ES Committee. Given the deeply interdisciplinary nature of the ES Core and the in-depth study involved in the Focus area, students completing the ES major, an additional three credits in the Fine Arts, and six additional credits in the Social Sciences* have fulfilled three PEAKs: Humanities & Fine Arts; Social Sciences & History; and Natural Sciences & Mathematics.

Major Requirements: the Environmental Studies Core (36 credits)

The Environmental Studies Core introduces essential concepts in environmental studies, foundational approaches to the study of the environment, and the specific ways in which environmental studies are practiced in various disciplines. Courses in the Core should be taken as early as possible.

*Students participating in the Winter Wilderness Experience (WWE) can fulfill 3 of the 6 required Social Science elective credits.

Environmental Studies Major

58-60 credits depending on Focus area (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Course Course Title Credits

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

Core Requirements

ENV-200 or
IND-305.1/305.2

Nature and Culture: Introduction to Environmental Studies or
Winter Wilderness Experience Prep/Winter Wilderness Exp.

3
6

Environment, Ecology, and Natural Systems

BIO-140

Idaho Natural History and Laboratory

4

ENV-160

Environmental Science I and Laboratory

4

ENV-260

Environmental Science II and Laboratory

4

Analytical and Quantitative Skills

MAT-125 or
MAT-212

Data Analysis and Statistics or
Advanced Statistical Methods

3

Environmental Thought in the United States

ENG-239

Visions of Environment

3

Global Perspective on Environment

ATH-309

Cross-Cultural Approaches to the Environment

3

Public Policy and the Environment

POE-339 or
POE-389

Environmental Policy Analysis or
Ecological Economics

3

Values and the Environment

PHI-340

Environmental Philosophy

3

REL-348 or
REL-349

Religion and Science or
Religion and Nature

3

Senior Capstone Integrative Seminar

ENV-402

Senior Capstone

3

Understanding the biology of organisms, populations, and ecosystems is essential to addressing environmental issues. The ability to collect and interpret biological data reliably and to gather and interpret relevant scientific literature allows for the critical evaluation of ecological issues and contributes to sound environmental decision making. In the Conservation Biology Focus, students gain both a conceptual framework and the laboratory and field experience needed to understand the biological aspects of environmental issues.

Conservation Biology Focus

Course Course Title Credits

Focus Requirements

BIO-201

Molecules to Cells and Laboratory

4

BIO-202

Organismal Biology and Laboratory

4

BIO-306

Conservation Biology

3

ENV-350/350L

Geographic Information Systems and Laboratory

3

Complete 1 Systematics course from the following:

BIO-319

Ichthyology and Laboratory

4

BIO-322

Field Botany and Laboratory

4

BIO-339

Mammalogy and Laboratory

4

BIO-349

Vertebrate Natural History and Laboratory

4

Complete 1 Ecology course from the following:

BIO-317

Stream Ecology and Laboratory

4

BIO-326

Coastal Marine Ecology and Laboratory

4

BIO-345

Ecology and Laboratory

4

BIO-346.1 and
BIO-346

Field Biology Preparation and
Field Biology

2

4

Recommended course (but not required):

MAT-212

Advanced Statistical Methods

3

All human activity depends upon energy, chemical systems, and the earth's elemental cycles, and our dependence upon these systems has had profound effects on our environment. The water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles, for example, reflect the impact of human activity. Addressing environmental problems from a chemical perspective necessitates generating data about the properties of chemical systems, interpreting those data, and understanding the study of matter. In the Chemistry Focus, students study techniques for chemical analysis, the complexities of matter, the earth's elemental cycles, and electrochemistry, and gain experience conducting chemical analyses and interpreting scientific data. The Chemistry Focus provides students with a solid base of coursework that enables exploration of crucial concerns affecting the physical environment.

Chemistry Focus

Course Course Title Credits

Focus Requirements

CHE-141

General Chemistry I and Laboratory

4

CHE-142

General Chemistry II and Laboratory

4

CHE-252

Analytical Chemistry I and Laboratory

4

CHE-301

Organic Chemistry I and Laboratory

4

CHE-302

Organic Chemistry II and Laboratory
(CHE-412/412L or CHE-420/420L can substitute for this course)

4

CHE-352

Analytical Chemistry II and Laboratory

4

Our values, beliefs, and language relate deeply to environmental issues and attitudes. Similarly, the human imagination and the stories that we tell ourselves reflect and affect the physical environment. Studying the literary tradition allows us to reflect on historical assumptions and understandings about how humans relate to their world. In the Literature Focus, students examine the British, American, and World literary traditions, and study theories concerning how literature makes meaning for readers.

Literature Focus

Course Course Title Credits

Focus Requirements

ENG-280

Theory and Methods of the Study of Literature

3

ENG-498

Senior Thesis Seminar in Literature

3

 

 

Complete 1 course from the following:

ENG-245

Poetry Writing Workshop

3

ENG-246

Fiction Writing Workshop

3

ENG-247

Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop

3

 

 

Complete 12 credits of upper division (300-level) Literature Seminar Courses from

the following:

 

ENG

One Course in American Literature

3

ENG

One Course in English Literature before 1789

3

ENG

One Course in English Literature after 1789

3

ENG

One Course in World Literature

3

With the increasing power of modern science and technology to affect nature, reflections upon the place of humanity in the universe have taken on special urgency. These reflections include questions about the limits of scientific knowledge, the ethical obligations of humans to non-human life and the environment, and technology's impact on humanity's self-understanding. The Philosophy Focus enables a student to examine these and other issues thoughtfully by introducing the most important ideas in Western philosophy and developing students' abilities in critical analysis, argumentation, and presentation.

Philosophy Focus

Course Course Title Credits

Focus Requirements

PHI-214

Introduction to Logic

3

PHI-310

Ancient Philosophy

3

PHI-311

Modern Philosophy

3

PHI-331

Ethics

3

PHI-498

Philosophy Seminar

1-4

PHI/REL

Upper-Division non-western Philosophy or Religion course

3

The study of the environment requires an understanding of natural systems and of values, beliefs and language. The application of this knowledge can lead to important social and environmental change. The Political Economy Focus, which emphasizes public policy, allows Environmental Studies majors to apply their knowledge to affect substantive change to their communities, regions, and society. A thorough comprehension of political and economic systems, philosophies, and methods is critical for students to become influential members of society.

Political Economy Focus

Course Course Title Credits

Focus Requirements

POE-241

Introduction to Public Policy

3

POE-250

Introduction to Political Philosophy

3

POE-263

Introduction to Political Economy

3

POE-299

Evidence, Proof and Knowledge

3

POE-498

Senior Seminar: Politics and Economics

3

Complete 2 upper-division (300 or 400-level) courses in Political Economy (at least one course should have an international emphasis):

POE ELECT

Upper-Division Courses ( POE ES Core course not included)

6

 

Self-Designed Focus

Course Course Title Credits

Focus Requirements

Students may design a Focus in consultation with an ES advisor. All self-designed Foci must include in-depth study within a single field or discipline and at least 10 upper-division units, and must be approved by the ES Program Committee by the end of the junior year. If you are interested in designing a Focus, see your ES advisor or the Chair of the ES Program.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Environmental Studies major, students should be able to:

  • Question their own cultural and environmental attitudes and examine these values in their lives and work.
  • Think critically and interdisciplinary about environmental issues.
  • Gather and analyze data to answer environmental questions
  • Communicate effectively (oral and written format) about the environment.
  • Actively engage in their communities to foster environmental stewardship.