Environmental Studies

The environmental studies major provides students with an interdisciplinary opportunity to investigate the relationship between humans and their environment. As distinct from environmental science, the curriculum in environmental studies is based in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, emphasizing the political, economic, and social organization of human cultures in relation to the natural world, as well as the artistic, philosophical, and experiential responses to natural and built environments.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a major in environmental studies will:

  1. Become environmentally literate, broadly aware of the types of problems facing the world as well as the local region;
  2. Study the impact of human actions on the environment;
  3. Develop an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies;
  4. Investigate the complexity of social issues – historical, philosophical, cultural, political, and economic – that underlie the formation of environmental policy;
  5. Cultivate effective communication and critical-thinking skills to be applied toward environmental issues;
  6. Develop an ethic and attitude of care toward the environment.

Major in Environmental Studies

A minimum of 37 semester hours is required, including:
ESC 105: Environmental Science: Sustainable Communities
ESC 209: Field Survey Techniques in Zoology
ESC 490: Seminar
EST 101: Introduction to Environmental Studies
ENG 244: Literature and the Environment
HST 365: American Environmental History
PHR 304: Environment Ethics
PHR 378: Philosophy of Technology and Modern Culture
POL 313: Environmental Politics

Choose one of the following:
ART 222: Art History Survey III
ART 243: Digital Photography

Choose one of the following:
COM 355: Mass Media
ENG 355: Mass Media

And one additional course chosen in consultation with an environmental studies advisor.

ART 222 - Art History Survey III
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This is a general survey of art historical periods and movements during the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Study focuses on the materials, techniques, style, historical context, aesthetics, and criticism of this wide variety of art. Traditional art historical methods of slide lecture, discussion, written exams, and papers are de rigueur as well as exploration of relevant topics on the Internet and via the course website. Though sequential, ART 220, ART 221, and ART 222 may be taken separately.
ART 243 - Digital Photography
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course introduces students to the process of digital photography. Camera handling, editing techniques, and the elements of design are covered. Students are encouraged to pursue this art form in the surrounding community and landscape.
COM 355 - Mass Media
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course explores the social and cultural roles of media – from local newspapers to the global reach of the Internet. By the end of this course, students will be able to understand and articulate the social, cultural, and economic power of media in order to better manage its influence in their lives.
Prerequisite: COM 102
ENG 244 - Literature and the Environment
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course is a comparative study of the environmental imagination as expressed in literature. By reading and discussing a wide range of literary texts, students investigate timeless and more urgent questions, such as “What is nature?”; “What is our responsibility to the environment?”; “How do various cultures express their relation to the natural world?”.
ENG 355 - Mass Media
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course explores how the communication medium, whether smoke signals, newspapers, television, or the Internet, influences human communication. With each change in technology, communication changes. These changes alter what it means to be human. Students must be able to understand the power of the media to better manage its influence in their personal and professional lives.
ESC 105 - Environmental Science: Sustainable Communities
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 4
An introductory course designed for students entering the environmental sciences and studies program and for other students who would like to take an ecology lab course. Topics address the central concepts of ecology including the physical environment in which life exists. Students will explore the properties and processes of populations and communities, ecosystem dynamics, biogeography and biodiversity, as well as issues in conservation and restoration ecology. In the laboratory, students will apply these concepts to ecological studies in the natural environment and learn how to present their results in a scientific report. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
ESC 209 - Field Survey Techniques in Zoology
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 4
A field and laboratory course covering basic field techniques to survey and inventory areas to assess biodiversity, with an emphasis on Montana mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, and fish fauna. Topics include species identification, survey and trapping, experimental design, data analysis, and report completion. Once identification and survey skills are learned, field teams will be formed and assigned to survey and inventory local habitats of concern with the goal of helping guide local management and restoration of these habitats. An additional fee is required.
ESC 490 - Seminar
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 2-3
Selected topics in environmental sciences or environmental studies are explored.
EST 101 - Introduction to Environmental Studies
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course explores the complexity of environmental issues as approached from the perspectives of the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Since environmental issues are inherently complex, attention is focused on how human beings perceive, understand, and respond to environmental change. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ abilities to investigate matters critically and to respond in original, thoughtful, and imaginative ways.
Corequesite: EST 102
EST 102 - Introduction to Environmental Studies Lab
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 1
This course introduces students through field experience to some of the landscape and environmental issues in our region. Depending on the instructor, students will be involved in some combination of various activities, including backpacks, a river cleanup, a film festival, among other outdoor activities. They will be expected to keep journals, write papers, or learn basic photography and watercolor techniques.
Corequesite: EST 101
EST 226 - Energy & Society
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course is designed to introduce students to baseline knowledge, theories, and analytical techniques that will help them better understand and communicate effectively about the scientific, technical, economic, social, political, and environmental dimensions of Earth-Energy-Society interactions. While other energy sources will be discussed, the course focuses primarily on human use of energy from hydrocarbons (fossil fuels). In this class, students will examine Earth-Energy-Society interactions from a historical-geographic perspective. Particular attention will be given to policy tools and technical options for addressing problematic/unsustainable patterns of energy production.
EST 299 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
EST 490 - Seminar
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 2-3
This capstone course for Environmental Studies majors will explore selected topics in environmental humanities through common readings and student research projects.
EST 499 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
HST 365 - American Environmental History
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course examines the interrelationship of human society and nature in American history. Topics will include ecology as it relates to European conquest of the Americas, Native American peoples, public lands policies, American national character, technological society, conservation, and the modern environmental movement.
PHR 304 - Environmental Ethics
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course will address issues such as whether natural beings and the natural world have rights or whether only humans have rights. Students will determine what is ethically appropriate for humans in their relationship with the environment as well as what environmental ethics must take account of to be consequential in the world today.
PHR 378 - Philosophy of Technology and Modern Culture
Semester: Fall; Alternate years.
Semester hours: 3
It is often a difficult task to understand one's own culture and age. Recent philosophical work offers profound insights into our age and places these insights within a much wider context.
POL 313 - Environmental Politics
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course explores the political problems associated with the human impact on the natural environment: pollution, natural resources, public lands, land use, energy, cultural/social justice, and population.
omniupdate