Environmental Studies Minor
Drawing on a broad range of disciplines and the resources of the Tri-co (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore), Haverford’s Environmental Studies minor brings together a diverse group of students and faculty to explore environmental issues in all of their complexity.
Our rigorous program examines the environment from a scientific as well as a social perspective. We are committed to applying the approaches and perspectives of multiple disciplines to key environmental issues as we challenge students to work in the spaces that fall between traditional lines of analysis. We are especially interested in cultivating in students the ability to reach across disciplines and professions to develop the innovative and collaborative solutions that environmental problems require.
Curriculum & Courses
Students in the concentration are required to explore both the scientific dimensions (in the form of two “Environmental Science and Engineering” classes) of the environment as well as the social, political, and ethical dimensions (in the form of two “Environment and Society” classes) of the environment.
Also required are two classes that take a broadly interdisciplinary approach: our cross-disciplinary introductory class and Senior Seminar, the minor’s capstone class. Focused around a single environmental issue, the Seminar requires students to draw on their majors as well as their collaborative skills to develop a group project that addresses the issue. For students, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to work together to create innovative and viable solutions to an urgent environmental problem.
Our formal curriculum is greatly enhanced by a number of campus resources, among them an active roster of visiting speakers and Haverford’s three interdisciplinary centers, which offer a range of research, programming, and funding opportunities.
The Tri-Co ES Minor consists of six courses, including an introductory course and capstone course. Students may complete the courses at any of the three campuses (or any combination thereof). The six required courses are:
- A required introductory course to be taken prior to the senior year. This may be ENVS 101 at Haverford or Bryn Mawr or the parallel course at Swarthmore (ENVS 001). Any one of these courses satisfies the requirement, and students may take no more than one such course for credit toward the minor.
- Four elective course credits from approved lists of core and cognate courses, including two credits in each of the following two categories. Students may use no more than one cognate course credit for each category. (See the course lists for more about core and cognate courses.) For Haverford students, no more than one of these four course credits may be in the student’s major.
- Environmental Science, Engineering, and Math: courses that build understanding and knowledge of scientific methods and theories, and explore how these can be applied in identifying and addressing environmental challenges. At least one of the courses in this category must have a laboratory component.
- Environmental Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts: courses that build understanding and knowledge of social and political structures as well as ethical considerations, and how these inform our individual and collective responses to environmental challenges.
- A senior seminar (case-based), with culminating work that reflects tangible research design and inquiry, but might materialize in any number of project forms. Haverford and Bryn Mawr’s ENVS 397 (Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies) and Swarthmore’s ENVS 091 (Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar) satisfy the requirement.
Haverford students interested in the ES Minor should plan their course schedule with the Haverford Director of Environmental Studies in consultation with their major adviser. In choosing electives, we encourage students to reach beyond their major, and to include mostly intermediate or advanced courses.
Research & Outreach
Formed in great part in response to strong student interest, our program has been infinitely enriched by ongoing student involvement. Their deep commitment to the environment has helped create an academic community in which classroom rigor goes hand in hand with active engagement in protecting our world.
At the Maya Mountain Research Farm, the biology major will help build a sustainable farming structure that promotes food security and a vibrant ecosystem.
The political science major and environmental studies minor will spend next year teaching in an elementary school in La Rioja, Spain.
This environmental studies course investigates ongoing debates on the trajectory of agricultural development, with attention to the intersection of scientific and political issues.
For his thesis, the anthropology major and environmental studies minor pondered the pivotal role of water in the lives of the people of his hometown.
After finishing a six weeks of ecological field and lab work at the Toolik Lake field station in Alaska, Thurston will become a laboratory and field technician at Drexel University’s Patrick Center for Environmental Research.
Rowlett is one of six Haverford House fellows, selected for their commitment to social justice and community action.
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