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Overview

The Environmental Studies Program offers students an education in the complex relationships that exist between natural systems and human cultures.

This program will challenge you to:

  • Think critically, obtain and analyze data, and speak and write effectively about the environment.
  • Provide leadership in helping your communities address environmental issues.
  • Complete a set of core classes and also receive in-depth training in a specific focus discipline.
Humanities & Fine Arts Social Sciences & History Natural Sciences & Mathematics Professional Studies & Enhancements
Major
Environmental Studies Major

Peaks this program fulfills

  • Humanities & Fine Arts
  • Social Sciences & History
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Courses and Requirements

View this degree in the course catalog

Environmental Studies Core Courses

Providing a "bookend" experience to students of Environmental Studies, the first two of these required courses immerse students in the interdisciplinary thinking that both informs and structures the field. Students learn and practice what it means to think across - and through - traditional disciplines, and, in ENV-402, they work collaboratively toward an interdisciplinary project. The third course ensures that all major have preparation in dealing with data - an essential method toward understanding many challenges in the field. 

Core Courses (9 credits)

Take the following courses:

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
ENV-200 Nature and Culture: Introduction to Environmental Studies 3 credits
ENV-402 Senior Capstone 3 credits
     
MAT-125 Data Analysis and Statistics 3 credits
  or  
MAT-212 Multiple Regression Analysis 3 credits

 

HFA PEAK

Introducing students to the crucial role that literary history and philosophy have played in environmental studies, the tow required courses endure that students encounter the U.S. environmental-literary tradition and major  movements in environmental philosophy. The other course options enable students to explore further the ways in which additional forms of cultural expression (including literature, philosophy, religion, and science) reflect, challenge, and participate in the formation and perpetuation of environmental values.  

HFA PEAK (15 credits)

Take the following 2 required courses (6 credits):

ENG-239 Visions of Environment 3 credits
PHI-340 Environmental Philosophy 3 credits 

Take three of the following with at least two them at the 300 level (9 credits):

PHI-210 Human Nature & the Scientific Worldview  3 credits
REL-348 Religion and Science 3 credits
REL-349 Religion and Nature 3 credits
ENG-220 Regionalism and the British Isles 3 credits
ENG-228 Closely Reading Poems 3 credits
ENG-230 Literature and the American West 3 credits
ENG-231 Native American Fiction 3 credits
ENG-331 Gardens in American Literature 3 credits
ENG-335 The American Renaissance 3 credits
ENG-337 American Poetry and Poetics 3 credits 
ENV-389/390* Reading the Mountains 5 credits 
IND-305.1/305.2*Winter Wilderness Experience 6 credits
IND-307.1/307.2*London 5 credits 

*These courses are listed in multiple PEAK areas but can only be counted in one.

 

NSM PEAK

The two required courses introduce students to the basis for understanding the environment both on physical-science basis, from water chemistry to atmospheric flows, and on a biological-science basis, with a focus in ecology. Other course options help students explore natural historical, physical, and biological phenomena that inform debates about the resilience of the natural world, the global understanding of the effects of human activity on the environment, and climate destabilization. 

NSM PEAK (at least 15 credits)

Take one of the following 2 courses (4 credits):

ENV-260/260L Biological Environmental Interactions w/lab 4 credits
or
BIO-203/203L Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity w/lab 4 credits

Take three of the following courses of which 6 credits must be 300 level ( at least 9 credits):

BIO-140/140L Idaho Natural History w/lab 4 credits
BIO-306 Conservation Biology 3 credits
BIO-319/319L Ichthyology w/lab 4 credits 
BIO-322/322L Field Biology w/lab 4 credits 
BIO-331/331L Evolution w/lab 4 credits 
BIO-317/317L Stream Ecology 4 credits 
BIO-326/326L Coastal Marine Ecology--Florida w/lab 4 credits 
BIO-345/345L Ecology 4 credits 
BIO-346/346.1 Field Biology and Field Biology Prep 6 credits 
GEO-101/101L Physical Geology w/lab 4 credits
GEO-150 Physical Geography 3 credits 
GEO-310 Earth's Dynamic Climate System 3 credits 
GEO-320 Watershed Hydrology 3 credits 
ENV-350/350L Intro to Geographic Information Systems w/lab 4 credits 
ENV-389/390* Reading the Mountains 5 credits 

*This course is listed in multiple PEAK areas but can only be counted in one PEAK area.

 

 

SSH PEAK

Introducing students to the way that different groups and societies have organized their activity and interrelations, the two required courses ensure that students study the variety of human culture and societal practices in different places as well as exposing them to dominant analyses of human economy. Other course options offer the opportunity to appreciate the complexity of the way human societies have interacted with the physical world and represented it to themselves as part of their history. 

SSH PEAK (15 credits)

Take the following course choices (6 credits):

POE-263 Introduction to Political Economy 3 credits 
or
POE-339 Environmental Policy Analysis 3 credits
 
ENV-151 Human Geography 3 credits 

Take three of the following courses (9 credits)

One of the three can be the POE course not taken above; at least 2 courses must be 300 level

 

ENV-357 Applied Cartography 3 credits 
HIS-351 History of Science 3 credits 
ENV-330 Working Landscapes 3 credits 
HIS-399.T Environmental History of Asia 3 credits 
ENV-355 Urban Geography 3 credits 
POE-263 Introduction to Political Economy 3 credits 
POE-339 Environmental Policy Analysis 3 credits 
IND-305.1/305.2* Winter Wilderness Experience 6 credits 
IND-307.1/307.2* London 5 credits 

* These courses are listed in multiple PEAK areas but can only be counted in one PEAK area.

 

CHEMISTRY FOCUS

All human activity depends upon energy, chemical system, 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, foe 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. Courses taken in the ES core may not be applied to the focus area or second major. 

CHEMISTRY FOCUS (24 credits)

Take all of the following courses:

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
CHE-141 General Chemistry I 4 credits
CHE-142 General Chemistry II 4 credits
CHE-252 Analytical Chemistry I 3 credits
CHE-252L Analytical Chemistry I Lab 1 credits
CHE-301 Organic Chemistry I 3 credits
CHE-301L Organic Chemistry I Lab 1 credits
CHE-302 Organic Chemistry II 3 credits
CHE-302L Organic Chemistry II Lab 1 credits
CHE-352 Analytical Chemistry II 3 credits
CHE-352L Analytical Chemistry Lab II 1 credits

 

CHE-412/412L or CHE-402/402L can substitute for CHE-302/302L

 

CONVERSATION BIOLOGY FOCUS

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. Courses taken in the ES core may not be applied to the focus area or second major. 

CONVERSATION BIOLOGY FOCUS (22-24 credits)

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
BIO-201 Biology I: Molecules to Cells 3 credits
     
BIO-201L Molecules to Cells Lab 1 credits
  or  
BIO-210L Molecules to Cells Research-Based Lab 1 credits
     
BIO-202 Organismal Biology 3 credits
BIO-202L Organismal Biology 1 credits
BIO-306 Conservation Biology 3 credits
ENV-350 Introduction to Geographic Information System (GIS) 2 credits
ENV-350L Introduction to Geographic Information System Lab 1 credits

 

Systematics

Take 4 credits (lecture and lab) from the following:

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
BIO-319 Ichthyology 3 credits
BIO-319L Ichthyology Lab 1 credits
BIO-322.1 Field Botany 3 credits
BIO-322L Field Botany Lab 1 credits
BIO-331 Evolution 3 credits
BIO-331L Evolution Lab 1 credits
BIO-339 Mammalogy 3 credits
BIO-339L Mammalogy Lab 1 credits
BIO-349 Vertebrate Natural History 3 credits
BIO-349L Vertebrate Natural History Lab 1 credits

 

Ecology

Take 4 credits (lecture and lab) from the following:

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
BIO-317 Stream Ecology 3 credits
BIO-317L Stream Ecology Lab 1 credits
BIO-326 Coastal Marine Ecology 4 credits
BIO-326L Coastal Marine Ecology Lab 1 credits
BIO-345 Ecology 3 credits
BIO-345L Ecology Lab 1 credits
     
BIO-346.1 Field Biology Preparation 2 credits
  and  
BIO-346 Field Biology 4 credits

 

If choosing the Field Biology option BIO-346.1 and BIO-346 must be taken together.

 

GEOSCIENCE FOCUS

Understanding the complex interactions among chemical, physical, biological and geological processes across Earth's systems (e.g., lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere) is essential to addressing environmental issues. The public and policy makers increasingly recognize the contribution of geosciences to resolving societally important issues such as natural hazards, water, energy, climate, sustainability, and natural resources. In the Geoscience Focus, students will develop an understanding of rapidly changing environmental systems, through laboratory and field experiences as well as experience working wit large data sets and evolving technologies. Courses taken in the ES core may not be applied to the focus area or second major. 

GEOSCIENCE FOCUS (24 credits)

Complete the following courses (12 credits):

CHE-141 General Chemistry I 4 credits 
GEO-101/101L Physical Geology w/lab 4 credits
 
PHY-231/231L General Physics I w/lab 4 credits 
  or
PHY-271/271L Analytical Physics w/lab 4 credits 

Take 3 courses from the following upper level Geoscience courses (at least 9 credits):

GEO-310 Earth's Dynamic Climate System 3 credits 
GEO-320 Watershed Hydrology 3 credits 
GEO-410/410L Geomorphology w/lab 4 credits
ENV-350/350L Introduction to GIS w/lab 3 credits 

Earth Systems Connections (3 credits)

Take at least 3 credits of upper-division coursework (300-level and above) in CHE, CSC, BIO, MAT, PHY, ENV, or GEO courses in consultation with an ES advisor. 

 

LITERATURE FOCUS

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 understanding about how humans relate to their world. In the Literature Focus, student examine the British, American, and World literary traditions, and study theories concerning how literature makes meaning for readers. Courses taken in ES core may not be applied to the focus area or second major. 

LITERATURE FOCUS (21 credits)

Take the following 2 courses (6 credits):

ENG-280  Theory and Methods in the Study of Literature  3 credits 
ENG-498  Senior Thesis Seminar in Literature  3 credits 

Take 1 course from the following (3 credits):

ENG-245  Poetry Writing Workshop  3 credits 
ENG-246  Fiction Writing Workshop  3 credits 
ENG-247  Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop  3 credits 

Complete 12 credits of upper division (300-400 level) seminars from the following:

 

American Literature

Complete at least 1 course from the following:

ENG-329  Inventing America  3 credits 
ENG-330  African American Literature  3 credits 
ENG-331  Gardens of American Literature 3 credits 
ENG-332  Adrienne Rich  3 credits 
ENG-333  Hemingway and Faulkner  3 credits 
ENG-335  American Renaissance  3 credits 
ENG-337  American Poetry and Poetics  3 credits 

English Literature before 1789

Complete at least 1 course from the following:

ENG-306  The 17th Century Lyric  3 credits 
ENG-307  Origins and Traditions of English Literature  3 credits 
ENG-308  Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Shakespeare, Johnson  3 credits 
ENG-309  The Epic Tradition  3 credits 
ENG-310  English Renaissance Literature  3 credits 
ENG-311  Drama of Early Modern Europe  3 credits 

 

English Literature after 1789

Complete at least 1 course from the following:

ENG-315  Ghosties and Ghoulies and Long-Leggedy Beasties 3 credits 
ENG-316  The Brontes  3 credits 
ENG-317 19th Century British Fiction 3 credits 
ENG-318  Prize Books 3 credits 
ENG-319  19th Century Literature of the British Isles 3 credits 
ENG-320  20th Century Literature of the British Isles  3 credits 

 

Postcolonial Literature

Complete at least 1 course from the following:

ENG-322  V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie 3 credits 
ENG-323  Postcolonial Studies 3 credits 
ENG-324 Narratives Against Oppression 3 credits 
ENG-325  Constructing World Literatures 3 credits 
3 credits
3 credits

 

PHILOSOPHY FOCUS

With 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 human to non-human life and the environment, and technology's impact on humanity's self-understanding. The philosophy emphasis 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. Courses taken in the ES core may not be applied to the focus area or second major. 

PHILOSOPHY FOCUS (16 credits)

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
PHI-214 Introduction to Logic 3 credits
PHI-310 Ancient Philosophy 3 credits
PHI-311 Modern Philosophy 3 credits
PHI-331 Ethics 3 credits
PHI-498 Philosophy Seminar 1 credits

 

PHI/REL  One course in Upper-Division non-Western Philosophy or Religion  3 credits 

SELF-DESIGNED FOCUS

Self-designed (at least 30 credits):

Students may design a Focus in consultation with and 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. 

 

Humanities & Fine Arts Social Sciences & History Natural Sciences & Mathematics Professional Studies & Enhancements
Minor
Environmental Humanities Minor

Peaks this program fulfills

  • Humanities & Fine Arts

Courses and Requirements

View this degree in the course catalog

15 credits

Minor Requirements

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
ENG-239 Visions of Environment 3 credits
PHI-340 Environmental Philosophy 3 credits

 

Complete either Nature and Culture or the Winter Wilderness Experience

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
ENV-200 Nature and Culture: Introduction to Environmental Studies 3 credits
  or  
IND-305.1 Winter Wilderness Experience 2 credits
IND-305.2 Winter Wilderness Experience 4 credits

 

Complete 2 courses (6 credits) from the following:

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
ENG-220 Regionalisms of the British Isles 3 credits
ENG-228 Closely Reading Poems 3 credits
ENG-230 Literature of the American West 3 credits
ENG-231 Native American Fiction 3 credits
ENG-331 Gardens of American Literature 3 credits
ENG-335 American Renaissance 3 credits
ENG-337 American Poetry and Poetics 3 credits
ENV-151 Introduction to Human Geography 3 credits
PHI-210 Human Nature and the Scientific World -View 3 credits
REL-348 Religion and Science 3 credits
REL-349 Religion and Nature 3 credits

 

Humanities & Fine Arts Social Sciences & History Natural Sciences & Mathematics Professional Studies & Enhancements
Minor
Environmental Science Minor

Peaks this program fulfills

  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Courses and Requirements

View this degree in the course catalog

18 credits (Total does not include prerequisite courses)

Minor Requirements

Course ID Course Name Number of Credits
ENV-160 Physical Environmental Systems 3 credits
ENV-160L Physical Environmental Systems Laboratory 1 credits
ENV-260 Biological Environmental Interactions 3 credits
ENV-260L Biological Environmental Interactions Laboratory 1 credits
     
ENV-200 Nature and Culture: Introduction to Environmental Studies 3 credits
  or  
IND-305.1 Winter Wilderness Experience 2 credits
IND-305.2 Winter Wilderness Experience 4 credits
     
GEO-101 Physical Geology 3 credits
GEO-101L Physical Geology Lab 1 credits
  or  
BIO-140 Idaho Natural History 3 credits
BIO-140L Idaho Natural History Lab 1 credits
     
MAT-125 Data Analysis and Statistics 3 credits
  or  
MAT-212 Multiple Regression Analysis 3 credits

 

Winter Wilderness ExperienceAn adventure you won't forget!

Take a special four-week adventure in Idaho's breathtaking Sawtooth Mountains. You'll learn about the relationships between environmental studies, creative writing and literature's power for capturing the beauty of nature--and you'll learn how to telemark ski, too!

Belize

Fins Up!You better Belize it!

Join environmental studies professors on a memorable adventure to beautiful Belize, where you'll learn about coastal ecology and get a first-hand look at subtropical ecosystems. This study abroad experience includes snorkeling, jungle exploration and a visit to ancient Mayan ruins.