Environmental Studies

Many of the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century are environmental ones. We must find ways to feed a growing human population while maintaining the natural life support system provided by the Earth's ecosystems; to make built environments more efficient as urban areas continue to grow dramatically in size; and to meet the challenges posed by rising sea-level and increasing global temperatures. These challenges are complex, multifaceted and can best be solved with expertise from multiple, relevant disciplines. To prepare students to meet these challenges, the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES) offers two undergraduate degrees: an A.B. in Environmental Studies and a Sc.B. in Environmental Science. The two degrees vary primarily in the number of course requirements; the Sc.B. is a more in-depth treatment of a single field. Both degrees provide interdisciplinary exposure to the natural and social sciences, as well as public policy. Both degrees also develop depth in a primary field by requiring students to select one of four tracks of study. Through a rigorous set of core courses, track requirements, and a course or project-based capstone experience, our students are primed to make meaningful contributions to environmental scholarship and outreach at local, national and global scales.

If you have administrative questions regarding theses concentrations or wish to be added to the email directory listing upcoming events, then please contact Jeanne Loewenstein, the administrative manager.

Standard program Environmental Studies and Environmental Science:

The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society administers two concentrations, one offering an A.B. degree in Environmental Studies (requires 14-15 courses) and the other a Sc.B. degree in Environmental Science (requires 19-20 courses). Below are a set of course offerings arranged into four tracks:

  1. Air, Climate & Energy
  2. Conservation Science & Policy
  3. Land, Water & Food Security
  4. Sustainability in Development

Requirements for the A.B. in Environmental Studies:

Core Requirements
ECON 0110Principles of Economics 11
ENVS 0490Environmental Science in a Changing World 21
ENVS 0495Introduction to Environmental Social Science1
GEOL 0240Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet1
or BIOL 0210 Diversity of Life
Track Specific Requirements 5
Track 1 - Air, Climate, and Energy
Climate:
Weather and Climate
Physics:
Foundations of Mechanics
Energy Technology: Choose 1
Renewable Energy Technologies
The Science and Technology of Energy
Policy: choose 1
Environmental Law and Policy
Power, Justice, and Climate Change
Making Connections: The Environmental Policy Process
Globalization and the Environment
Energy Policy and Politics
Sustainable Infrastructure: Choose 1
Sustainable Design in the Built Environment
Environmental Stewardship and Resilience in Urban Systems
Track 2 - Conservation Science and Policy
Ecology:
Principles of Ecology
Conservation:
Conservation Biology
Marine Conservation: choose 1
Coastal Ecology and Conservation
Marine Conservation Science and Policy
Policy: choose 1
International Environmental Law and Policy
Environmental Law and Policy
Making Connections: The Environmental Policy Process
Statistics: Choose 1
Essential Statistics
Statistical Inference I
Statistical Analysis of Biological Data
Introduction to Econometrics
Statistical Methods for the Natural and Social Environmental Sciences
Track 3 - Land, Water & Food Security
Climate:
Weather and Climate
Biology: choose 1
Diversity of Life
Plants, Food, and People
Principles of Ecology
Coastal Ecology and Conservation
Environmental History: choose 1
From Locke to Deep Ecology: Property Rights and Environmental Policy
HIST 1976F - Fueling Change: A Global History of Energy
Policy: choose 1
International Environmental Law and Policy
Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Law and Policy
Marine Conservation Science and Policy
Making Connections: The Environmental Policy Process
Tools: Choose 1
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Applications
Global Environmental Remote Sensing
Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems
Track 4 - Sustainability in Development
Environment and Development: choose 2
Urban Economics
Health, Hunger and the Household in Developing Countries
Environmental Stewardship and Resilience in Urban Systems
Power, Justice, and Climate Change
Urban Agriculture: The Importance of Localized Food Systems
Globalization and the Environment
Policy: choose 2
International Environmental Law and Policy
Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Law and Policy
Marine Conservation Science and Policy
Making Connections: The Environmental Policy Process
Analysis Tools: Choose 1
Introduction to Econometrics 3
Ethnographic Research Methods
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Statistical Methods for the Natural and Social Environmental Sciences
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Applications
Introductory Statistics for Social Research
Focus Groups for Market and Social Research
Electives3
You may choose among any ENVS course, any course shown on one or more of the tracks, and any prerequisites listed for a required course.
Methods Course
ENVS 1920Analysis and Resolution of Environmental Problems/Case Studies1
Capstone1-2
This requirement can be met with a two-semester thesis (ENVS 1970 and ENVS 1971), one or two semester practicum (ENVS 1970 and/or ENVS 1971), one-semester research project (ENVS 1970 or ENVS 1971), or an approved capstone course. Approved capstone courses are project-based senior seminars.
Total Credits14-15
1

Students with AP scores of 4 or 5 in Macroeconomics plus a 4 or 5 in Microeconomics may place out of ECON 0110. Students who place out of ECON 0110 must substitute this course with an additional environmental elective.

2

Concentrators with an AP score of 5 in Environmental Science may waive out of ENVS 0490. Students who place out of ENVS 0490 must substitute an additional environmental elective.

3

 Students pursuing the Sc.B. must take ECON 1620.

Requirements for the Sc.B. in Environmental Science:

Requires ALL 14-15 course requirements as listed in the A.B. Program14-15
Additional Track­ specific requirements for the Sc.B.5
Track 1 - Air, Climate, and Energy
Math: (both required)
Introductory Calculus, Part I 1
Introductory Calculus, Part II 1
Environmental Economics:
Environmental Economics and Policy
Advanced Climate: choose 1
Introduction to Atmospheric Dynamics
GEOL 1520 - Ocean Circulation and Climate
Thermal/Chem.: choose 1
Thermodynamics
Environmental Geochemistry
Track 2 - Conservation Science and Policy
Math:
Introductory Calculus, Part I 1
Evolution:
Evolutionary Biology
Organismal Diversity: choose 1
Invertebrate Zoology
The Evolution of Plant Diversity
Sophomore Seminar: Insect Biology
Env. Econ:
Environmental Economics and Policy
Tools: choose 1
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Applications
Global Environmental Remote Sensing
Track 3 - Land, Water & Food Security
Math:
Introductory Calculus, Part I 1
Chemistry:
Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure
Earth/Life Systems: choose 3
Conservation Biology
Biogeography
Terrestrial Biogeochemistry and the Functioning of Ecosystems
SES-Terrestrial Ecosystem Analysis 1
SES-Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis 2
Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet
Estuarine Oceanography
Ocean Biogeochemical Cycles
Environmental Geochemistry
Introduction to Atmospheric Dynamics
Instrumental Analysis with Environmental Applications
Track 4 - Sustainability in Development
Sociology and Politics: choose 1
Demographics and Development
Introduction to International Politics
Globalization and the Environment
Critical Perspectives on Development: choose 1:
Anthropology and Global Social Problems
Sophomore Seminar in Sociology of Development
Economic Perspectives: choose 2
Intermediate Microeconomics
Environmental Issues in Development Economics
Economic Development
Health, Hunger and the Household in Developing Countries
Economic Growth
Climate:
Weather and Climate
Total Credits19-20
1

Students with an AP exam of 4 0r 5 on Calc AB may place out of MATH 0090.  Students with an AP exam score of 4 or 5 on Calc BC may place out of MATH 0090 and MATH 0100.  Students who place out of these courses must substitute an additional environmental elective.

Honors

Candidates for honors must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in their concentration courses at the end of their 6th semester, and must have completed a successful thesis or practicum proposal. Students may apply during the first month of their 7th semester. Honors will be conferred upon the successful completion of the thesis or practicum.