The Bi-Co ES major and the Tri-Co ES minor cultivate in students the capacity to identify and confront key environmental issues through a blend of multiple disciplines, encompassing historical, cultural, economic, political, scientific, and ethical modes of inquiry.
The Bi-Co ES major combines the strengths of our two liberal arts campuses to create an interdisciplinary program that teaches students to synthesize diverse disciplinary knowledge and approaches, and to communicate effectively across disciplinary boundaries as they engage with environmental issues. In addressing these issues, ES students will apply critical thinking and analytical skills within a holistic, systems framework that includes social justice as an essential component.
Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore also offer an interdisciplinary Tri-Co ES minor, involving departments and faculty on all three campuses from the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics, the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts. The Tri-Co ES minor brings together students and faculty to explore interactions among earth systems, human societies, and local and global environments.
The Bi-Co Environmental Studies major is an interdisciplinary program that teaches students to synthesize diverse disciplinary knowledge and approaches, and to communicate effectively across disciplinary boundaries as they engage with environmental issues. The Environmental Studies major graduate is used to applying diverse modes of data collection and analysis to problem solving for practical ends across a wide array of interconnected social and environmental challenges.
Environmental Studies students will apply critical thinking and analytical skills within a holistic, systems framework that includes the following specific goals:
- Cultivation of environmental literacies, and the ability to read, analyze, and create products from the environmental social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities
- Experience with praxis activities in the context of intellectual work, with particular emphasis on experience working with community groups in a social justice community-based, participatory framework
- Development and refining of written and oral communication skills for a variety of academic and non-academic audiences
- A nuanced understanding of, and the ability to articulate, the role of different divisions of intellectual inquiry in environmental issues
- An understanding of the diverse modes of environmental theory, from all divisions, and experience translating complex environmental data into actionable conclusions or revised theory.
Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.
There are two curricular pathways through Environmental Studies: the ES major and ES minor.
ES Major (Bi-Co)
The ES major curriculum is designed to maintain a balance between cultivating broad environmental literacies and developing a focused area of expertise with associated skills. This program includes core classes and a self-designed “focus area” that can be completed with coursework from Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore.
ES Minor (Tri-Co)
The ES minor curriculum is designed to complement any major at Haverford, Bryn Mawr or Swarthmore, pending approval of the student’s coursework plan by the home department and the ES chair.
Students are required to take a minimum of 11 courses in the Environmental Studies major.
I. Core courses (6 credits)
Six required courses are in the core program, which consists of:
- ENVS H101 or ENVS B101 or ENVS S001: Case Studies in Environmental Issues
- ENVS H201: Laboratory in Environmental Sciences
- ENVS B202: Environmental Social Sciences
- ENVS B203: Environmental Humanities
- ENVS H204: Place, People, and Praxis in Environmental Studies
- ENVS H397 or ENVS B397 or ENVS S091: Environmental Studies Senior Capstone (during the fall or spring semester of the senior year)
It is strongly recommended that students interested in pursuing an ES major take ENVS 101 during their first year of study.
ENVS 101 and 397 are each offered two times per year: once at Haverford and once at Bryn Mawr, frequently in alternate semesters. Students are welcome to take these courses on either campus, or the equivalent courses at Swarthmore (ENVS S001 and ENVS S091).
II. Electives and focus area (5 credits)
In addition to the core courses, students must take five electives for the ES major. A wide variety of environmentally themed courses may serve as ES electives, but the five elective courses must fulfill the following requirements:
- At least three elective courses must articulate a coherent intellectual or thematic focus (“focus area”) that students develop in consultation with their ES advisor;
- A minimum of one course must come from each of two broad divisional groups:
- Natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering;
- Social sciences, humanities, and arts.
- At least two elective courses must be taken at the 300-level or equivalent.
III. Focus area
The possibilities of a focus area are many. A student’s focus area may be organized by a specific perspective on the study of the environment, a particular interdisciplinary focus, or even a geographic region. Focus areas are designated in consultation with an ES advisor, and students interested in pursuing an ES major should begin to satisfy prerequisites for these advanced courses as soon as possible.
Sample focus area topics might include, but not be limited to: Environment and Society, Environmental Policy, Earth Systems, Environmental Modeling, Environmental Art and Technology, and Environment in East Asia.
Courses taken as ES major electives need not be prefixed with “ENVS” in the course catalog. Advanced courses from any program with appropriate thematic content, from English to Physics, may be counted.
All major programs require the approval of a major advisor. Courses approved for the Environmental Studies major at Swarthmore can be taken for the Bi-Co ES major or substituted for requirements contingent upon the major advisor’s approval.
Courses taken while studying abroad or off-campus may be approved for the ES major by the major advisor in consultation with the ES Department.
The Tri-Co ES minor consists of six courses, including an introductory course and capstone course. Students may complete the introductory and capstone 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 H101 at Haverford or ENVS B101 at Bryn Mawr or the parallel course at Swarthmore (ENVS S001). 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 ES website for course lists and 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 B397/ENVS H397 (Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies) and Swarthmore’s ENVS S091 (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 advisor. In choosing electives, we encourage students to reach beyond their major, and to include mostly intermediate or advanced courses.
Students majoring in Environmental Studies will pursue their capstone experience in any one of a number of ways, centered within the one-semester ENVS H397 course. In this course, students will design and complete a project under the supervision of a faculty member that builds upon methods learned in the ENVS 200-level sequence and elaborated on during the Focus Area. In most cases, ENVS H397 will involve collaborating with one or more outside organizations or groups, and senior projects will be an individual project designed in concert with the faculty member and these organizations. For example, senior projects could include, but are not limited to, digital mapping and annotation of green space, the design and implementation of an environmental education curricular module, or an environmental art project. Students are strongly encouraged to consider possible senior project topics or techniques they would like to use prior to their senior year, and to be in dialogue with their faculty advisors about possible senior projects during the third year of study.
Concentrations and Interdisciplinary Minors
Environmental Studies contributes to the following concentrations and interdisciplinary minors at Haverford:
Health Studies Multidisciplinary Minor
The goal of the Health Studies Multidisciplinary Minor is to give greater context to the issues facing health professionals on local, national, and global scales. The structure of this program is intentionally multidisciplinary, bringing scientists together with social science and humanities professors to guide students through the political, cultural and ethical questions that relate to health issues worldwide.
Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Concentration
The Interdisciplinary Concentration in Peace, Justice and Human Rights offers students the opportunity to study the history, philosophy and critiques of the rights tradition, examine themes of human rights and justice in their local and international contexts, and apply philosophical, social scientific and ethical reasoning to real-world problems.
Visual Studies Minor
The goal of the Interdisciplinary Visual Studies Minor is to create a dynamic model for critical and creative engagement with visual experience across media, time, and cultures.
The Environmental Studies Department strongly encourages students to study abroad if it fits with their career plans. Students planning to major or minor in ES may receive course credit by participation in programs which offer environmental content, including but not limited to programs in Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Iceland, Scotland and South Africa.
Students may receive course credit for elective courses, at the equivalent of the 200 level or above, that contribute to the major’s “focus area” or the four non-core classes in the ES minor. Students majoring in ES are required to take ENVS 101 and ENVS 397 at Haverford or Bryn Mawr, or the equivalent courses at Swarthmore and strongly recommended to take the four 200-level core courses within the Bi-Co.