Interested in majoring in Environmental Studies?

Environmental Studies (ENST) one of LU’s longest-standing interdisciplinary programs, and it brings together perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences, fine arts, and humanities.

To get started, you should take Environmental Studies 150: Introduction to Environmental Science (ENST 150), and Environmental Studies 151: Introduction to Environmental Policy (ENST 151) in your first or second years at Lawrence. It’s fine to take both courses in the same year, but this is not mandatory. Students with a 4 or a 5 on the AP Environmental Science exam can submit this credit instead of taking ENST150.

In addition to the pair of introductory courses, the ENST major includes two other required core classes: a project-based symposium (ENST 300) that most students take during their sophomore or junior year, and the capstone seminar (ENST 650) that most students take during their senior year. Students should start thinking about possible capstone topics in their junior year and consulting with faculty for guidance. The rest of the courses in the major are an interdisciplinary mix of natural sciences, social sciences, art, and humanities. In most cases, students can select courses from a list of options in each category (see the major requirements list for details).

Some of the electives in the major include 18 units of disciplinary focus in one of the departments that are affiliated with ENST. The disciplinary focus is meant to give students a more refined toolset in one academic discipline, and the courses they choose for their disciplinary focus need not be cross-listed with ENST. For example, an ENST major who is interested in US climate policy might choose Government as their disciplinary focus and take courses in international law, US Congressional politics, and the Presidency. Students should try to choose their “disciplinary focus” by the middle of the sophomore year, if possible.

Students with a special interest in environmental science should plan to do a disciplinary focus in one of the following departments: Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, or Physics. They also should talk to their advisors about off-campus and research opportunities to develop their skills and experiences as environmental scientists. Students with an interest in policy may choose a disciplinary focus in one of the following areas: Anthropology, Economics, Government, or Philosophy. Prospective majors should consult with ENST-affiliated faculty in their intended focus department.

ENST majors are also required to complete an experiential learning project through field research, an internship, off-campus study, or volunteering. Many students complete this requirement in the summer. This requirement does not have to be completed as part of a credit-earning class.

Note that the Environmental Studies program also offers an Environmental Science major, which might appeal to students who want even more of an interdisciplinary science focus than an ENST major with a natural science disciplinary focus. Double-majoring in ENST and ENSC is not allowed, so students who are having trouble deciding between the two should reach out to one of the faculty members who is affiliated with both majors.