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ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

 

The Environmental Studies Program at Colby is one of the oldest in the country. From understanding the impacts of climate change to preventing biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of natural resources, environmental challenges are a national and international priority. Our students and faculty are active locally, nationally, and internationally in studying and helping to solve these challenges. Colby was one of the first colleges in the nation to use 100-percent renewable-source electricity and recently committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Maine have recognized Colby for its commitment to environmental sustainability as reflected in our curriculum and our actions. Recent examples of student-led environmental initiatives include establishment of an organic garden, organizing activities to reduce carbon emissions on campus, developing a climate change action in the local community, raising awareness about the dangers of using hazardous chemicals in personal care products and children’s toys at the state and federal levels, and reducing bottled water use on campus.


Colby College and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences entered a strategic partnership that will expand educational and research opportunities in marine sciences for students. The partnership includes an expansion of the marine sciences curriculum, an increase in undergraduate student research opportunities, a semester-long in-residence study at Bigelow planned for spring 2013, and curricular innovations that combine scientific research with economic and social policy analysis.


The Environmental Studies Program offers interdisciplinary majors in environmental policy, in environmental science, and in environmental studies-interdisciplinary computation as well as a minor in environmental studies that can be elected by majors in any discipline. Each major provides a broad-based course of study and prepares graduates to understand and to address the many complex environmental challenges facing our country and the world. Our science and policy curriculum benefits from our Maine location, including access to diverse natural areas and unique access to government, nonprofit, and business institutions. Our graduates are prepared to take leadership positions in businesses, nonprofits, consulting firms, educational institutions, and government agencies. Many of our students complete graduate work in environmental sciences/studies, ecology, urban/rural planning, natural resource conservation and management, law, environmental and public policy, and other related areas. A student may elect only one of the majors offered by the Environmental Studies Program. Environmental Studies 118 and 126 fulfill the College composition/writing requirement.


Students with a major in biology, geology, or global studies considering a minor in environmental studies should consider electing a double major in biology and environmental studies, geology and environmental studies, or global studies and environmental studies because of the overlap in required courses. Interested students should discuss these possibilities with the Environmental Studies Program Director.

Also available is an environmental science concentration in the chemistry major. Like the environmental studies science major, this discipline-based program is intended to prepare students for positions in firms or government agencies concerned with environmental issues, for graduate study, or for roles as educated citizens in a world increasingly confronted with environmental problems. Students are encouraged to participate in relevant internships to complement their academic work. Requirements for the chemistry major with a concentration in environmental science are listed in the Chemistry Department section.

A student cannot elect both the chemistry: environmental science concentration and the environmental studies: science concentration.

REQUIREMENTS +

The interdisciplinary environmental policy major provides an  extensive introduction to the study of domestic and international  environmental policy. Students combine a foundation course in  environmental studies with courses in environmental economics, domestic  environmental policy and law, international environmental policy and  politics, and courses in environmental science. Diverse electives allow  students to explore topics from introductory Geographic Information  Systems (GIS) to endangered species policy to environmental and human  health. Students complete the Environmental Policy Practicum capstone  seminar in the senior year.

Environmental policy majors are encouraged to take Environmental Studies 118 (spring) in their first year and Environmental Studies 233 and 271 (fall) and Environmental Studies 234 (spring) in their sophomore year. Students pursuing this major must complete at least one course at the 300 level or above selected from category III below. No more than one course at the 100 level may be used to fulfill category III. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. AP credit can fulfill core course requirements based on exam performance and coverage. Exemption from Environmental Studies 118 is granted with an AP test score of 5, allowing advanced placement into other courses. Environmental Studies 401 and 402 provide one credit for the senior year and typically are taken in addition to a normal four-course semester. Courses not listed below, such as those offered by some off-campus study programs, may count toward the major pending prior approval by the program director.

Requirements for the Major in Environmental Policy

  

I. Required Environmental Studies Core Courses

Environmental Studies 118 Environment and Society
271 Introduction to Ecology
Economics 133 Principles of Microeconomics
231 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
   

IIa. All of the Following Courses

Biology 131 Biodiversity or
164 Evolution and Diversity
Environmental Studies 233 Environmental Policy
234 International Environmental Policy
Mathematics 212 Introduction to Statistical Methods or
231 Applied Statistics and Regression Analysis
     

IIb. Two additional environmental studies policy courses approved by student’s advisor

III. Humans and the Environment (Two courses not all taken from the same discipline unless that discipline is environmental studies)

Anthropology 256 Land, Food, Culture, and Power
Economics 341 Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Studies 126 Environmental Activism
212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing (if not used to satisfy IV below)
241 Environment and Social Inequality
265 Global Public Health

266 Environment and Human Health (if not used to satisfy IV below)
268 Hazardous Waste and Environmental Justice
297B Sustainable Development

298A History of American Environmental Policy
319 Conservation Biology (if not used to satisfy IV below)
336 Endangered Species Conservation
340 Conflict, Negotiation, and Environmental Justice
342 Marine Conservation and Policy
346 Global Food Policy
398 World Religions and the Environment
History 364 Environmental and Health History in Africa
394 Ecological History
445 Nuclear Madness
446 Global Health History
498A 20th-Century Environment History
Science, Technology,
and Society
215 Weather, Climate, and Society
253 Energy, Power, and the American Century, 1901-2001
358 Climbing the Oil Peak

IV. Three of the Following Courses

Biology 211 Taxonomy of Flowering Plants
237 Woody Plants
257j Winter Ecology
259j Plants of the Tropics
334 Ornithology
354 Marine Ecology
357 Physiological Ecology
373 Animal Behavior
452 Behavioral and Physiological Ecology
Chemistry 141 General Chemistry
142 General Chemistry
217 Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Studies

212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing or
214j Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis
266 Environment and Human Health
319 Conservation Biology
352 Advanced and Applied Ecology
356 Aquatic Ecology
358j Ecological Field Study
Geology 141 Earth and Environment or
146 Deciphering Earth History
Physics
141 Foundations of Mechanics or
143 Honors Physics
145 Foundations of Electromagnetism and Optics
   

V. One of the Following Capstone Courses

Environmental Studies 493 Environmental Policy Practicum or

494 Problems in Environmental Science (open only to double majors in biology)
VI. Senior Colloquia
Environmental Studies 401, 402 Senior Colloquium (one credit for the year)
 


The interdisciplinary environmental science major also begins with the foundation course in environmental studies and is followed by core courses in environmental economics, biology and ecology, chemistry or physics, geology or GIS, and mathematics. Students select a focus area to explore in depth. Current focus areas include conservation biology, applied ecology, marine science, environmental chemistry, and environmental geology. Students can also propose well-structured alternative focus areas. The senior capstone seminar provides a hands-on approach to environmental science research.

 

Environmental science majors are encouraged to enroll in Biology 163 (fall) and Environmental Studies 118 (spring) in their first year and Environmental Science 271 (fall) in their sophomore year.  Majors must complete at least two courses at the 300-level or above selected from categories III and IV below. No more than one course at the 100 level may be used to fulfill category III. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. AP credits can fulfill core course requirements based on exam performance and coverage. Exemption from Environmental Studies 118 is granted with an AP test score of 5, allowing advanced placement into other courses. AP credits also can provide advanced placement in focus areas, but in no case can AP credits reduce the number of required focus area courses below five. Environmental studies majors electing the science concentration should consult with the program director or the advisor for their selected focus area as early as their first year at Colby to identify any courses beyond the major requirements that may be desirable to meet their postgraduate goals, especially graduate or professional school. Environmental Studies 401 and 402 provide one credit for the senior year and typically are taken in addition to a normal four-course semester.

Requirements for the Major in Environmental Science

I. Required Environmental Studies Core Courses
Environmental Studies 118 Environment and Society
271 Introduction to Ecology
Economics 133 Principles of Microeconomics
231 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
 

II. Required Science and Mathematics Courses

Biology 164 Evolution and Diversity
Chemistry 141 and 142  General Chemistry or 145 or
Physics 141 Foundations of Mechanics and 145 Foundations in Electromagnetism and Optics
Geology 141 Earth and Environment  or
146 Deciphering Earth History or
Environmental Studies 212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing or
241j Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis
 

For students electing the conservation biology or marine science focus area:

Mathematics 121 Single-variable Calculus and either Mathematics 212 Elementary Statistics or 231 Applied Statistics and Regression Analysis
 

For students electing the environmental geology or environmental chemistry focus area:

Mathematics 121 Single-variable Calculus and 122 Series and Multi-variable Calculus
 

III. Humans and the Environment (Two courses, not taken from the same discipline unless that discipline is environmental studies)

Anthropology 256 Land, Food, Culture, and Power
Economics 341 Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Studies 126 Environmental Activism
  212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing Studies (if not used to satisfy II above)
233 Environmental Policy
234 International Environmental Policy
265 Global Public Health
266 Environment and Human Health
268 Hazardous Waste and Environmental Justice
297B Sustainable Development
298A History of American Environmental Policy
319 Conservation Biology
336 Endangered Species Conservation
340 Conflict, Negotiation, and Environmental Justice
342 Marine Conservation and Policy
346 Global Food Policy
352 Advanced and Applied Ecology
356 Aquatic Ecology
358j Ecological Field Study
398 World Religions and the Environment 
History 364 Environmental and Health History in Africa
394 Ecological History
445 Nuclear Madness
446 Global Health History
498A 20th-Century Environmental History
Science, Technology, and Society 215 Weather, Climate, and Society
253 Energy, Power, and the American Century, 1901-2001
358 Climbing the Oil Peak
 

IV. Focus Area (Five courses from one of the following focus areas and an additional corresponding culminating experience chosen in consultation with advisor. The Environmental Studies Program will consider well-structured proposals for additional focus areas.) Advanced Placement credits can provide advanced placement in focus areas but cannot reduce the number of required focus-area courses below five.

 

A. Conservation Biology

Biology 163 The Cellular Basis of Life or
 336 Endangered Species Conservation
Environmental Studies 319 Conservation Biology
352  Advanced and Applied Ecology
 

Two courses from the following:

Biology 211 Taxonomy of Flowering Plants
237 Woody Plants
254 Marine Invertebrate Zoology
257j Winter Ecology
259j Plants of the Tropics
334 Ornithology
354 Marine Ecology
357 Physiological Ecology
373 Animal Behavior
452 Behavioral and Physiological Ecology
Environmental Studies 212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing or
214j Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis (if not used to satisfy II above)
336 Endangered Species Conservation or
342 Marine Conservation and Policy
356 Aquatic Ecology
358j Ecological Field Study

Culminating Experience:
Environmental Studies 494 Problems in Environmental Science

B. Applied Ecology
Biology
Environmental Studies
163 The Cellular Basis of Life
212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing or
214j Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis (if not used to satisfy II above)
352 Advanced and Applied Ecology
356 Aquatic Ecology

One course from the following:

Biology 211 Taxonomy of Flowering Plants
237 Woody Plants
257j Winter Ecology
354 Marine Ecology
357 Physiological Ecology
382 Ecological Modeling  
452 Behavioral and Physiological Ecology
Environmental Studies
358j Ecological Field Study

Culminating Experience:
Environmental Studies 494 Problems in Environmental Science


C. Marine Science

Biology


163 The Cellular Basis of Life
254 Marine Invertebrate Zoology
354 Marine Ecology


Environmental Studies 352 Advanced and Applied Ecology

One course from the following:

Biology

 

 

Chemistry
276 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
357 Physiological Ecology
373 Animal Behavior
452 Behavioral and Physiological Ecology

217 Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Studies 342 Marine Conservation and Policy
356 Aquatic Ecology
358j Ecological Field
Courses offered by Bigelow Lab faculty may help fulfill this focus area requirement


197 Climate Change and the Oceans
297D Marine Ecosystem Response to Climate Change
297E Diversity and Function of Life in Oceanic Realms

Culminating Experience: 

Environmental Studies 494 Problems in Environmental Science or
491/492 Independent Study


D. Environmental Geology

Geology 225 Mineralogy
231 Structural Geology
251 The Record of Life on Earth
254 Principles of Geomorphology

One course from the following:

Geology 279j Geology of Bermuda
354 Glacial and Quaternary Geology
356 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
361 Topics in Geochemistry
372 Quaternary Paleoecology

Culminating Experience:

Geology 491/492 Independent Study

E. Environmental Chemistry
Chemistry 217 Environmental Chemistry
241, 242  Organic Chemistry
331 Chemical Methods of Analysis

One course from the following:
Chemistry 332 Instrumental Methods of Analysis
341 Physical Chemistry
367 Biochemistry of the Cell
411 Inorganic Chemistry

Culminating Experience:
Chemistry 481/482 Special Topics in Environmental                Chemistry

V. Senior Colloquium
Environmental Studies 401, 402 Senior Colloquium (one credit for the  year)
  

Students are encouraged to consider field courses offered by Colby or other approved programs such as: Biology 257j, 259j, Environmental Studies 358j, Geology 279j, SFS Sustainable Development in Costa Rica, and the Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole. Students electing the marine science focus area are strongly encouraged to consider a semester of off-campus study through programs offered by the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, School for Field Studies, the Duke University Marine Laboratory, the Maine Biological Laboratory, and other approved programs. An internship or research project in the discipline is strongly recommended. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research projects, relevant field study, or internships to complement their academic work. Limited financial assistance is available to help environmental studies majors participate in research or internship opportunities.

Also available is an environmental science concentration in the chemistry major. This is a discipline-based program intended to prepare students for positions in firms or government agencies concerned with environmental issues, for graduate study, or for roles as educated citizens in a world increasingly confronted with environmental problems. Requirements are listed in the Chemistry Department section. Students may not double major in environmental studies/science and chemistry/environmental science.

The major in environmental studies–interdisciplinary computation provides an introduction to environmental studies as a discipline as well as training in computational techniques used in environmental policy and science. Students will become familiar with quantitative tools used to investigate environmental problems, especially GIS and remote sensing. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Advanced Placement credits can fulfill core course requirements based on exam performance and coverage. Students interested in this major should try to take Computer Science 151 in their first year (fall or spring) and Computer Science 231 (fall) and 251 (spring) in their second year. Students should consult with the Environmental Studies Program director or their computer science advisor when planning their capstone independent-study project. Environmental Studies 401 or 402 may be taken in the senior year in addition to a normal four-course semester.

 

Requirements for the Major in Environmental Studies-Interdisciplinary Computation


I. Required Environmental Studies Core Courses

Environmental Studies 118 Environment and Society
233 Environmental Policy
234 International Environmental Policy
271 Introduction to Ecology

II. Required Environmental Studies Courses

Environmental Studies 212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing or
214j Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis    
352 Advanced and Applied Ecology
356 Aquatic Ecology

III. One Course Selected from the following:

Environmental Studies
241 Environment and Social Inequality
265 Global Public Health
266 The Environment and Human Health
297B Sustainable Development
319 Conservation Biology
336 Endangered Species Conservation
342 Marine Conservation and Policy
346 Global Food Policy

   

IV. Required Computer Science Courses:

Computer Science
151 Computational Thinking
231 Data Structures and Algorithms
251 Data Analysis and Visualization
341 Systems Biology I or 361 Object-Oriented Design
365 Computer Vision

V. Capstone Courses

Computer Science 491 or 492 Independent Study

VI. Senior Colloquia

Environmental Studies 401, 402 Senior Colloquium
 


Honors in Environmental Studies

Environmental studies majors with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 at the end of the January term of the junior year or with special program approval are eligible to apply for the Environmental Studies Honors Research Program. Interested students should contact a faculty sponsor during the spring semester of the junior year to discuss a project. Before the end of spring registration, students should secure a faculty sponsor and a faculty reader for their research project. Students who are studying abroad in the spring should try to make initial contact with a potential sponsor in the spring via e-mail, but may complete their proposal in the fall at the beginning of the academic year. The student must then petition the program for permission to undertake honors work. With approval from the program, students can register for Environmental Studies 491. Students wishing to change their honors project topic must petition the program for approval of the new topic. Honors research projects will be a total of six to eight credits and will be conducted during the student’s last two academic semesters (and may include Jan Plan). Also, students enrolled in Environmental Studies 493 or 494 may petition the program to expand their independent study for these courses into an honors project to be conducted in January and the spring semester.

Successful completion of the honors program will include an approved thesis, an oral presentation at the Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium, and a successful thesis defense as well as the completion of the required course work for the major. The student fulfilling these requirements will graduate “With Honors in Environmental Studies.” The decision whether or not the student will be approved to convert her or his seminar or independent study project to an honors project in the spring semester and continue in the Environmental Studies Honors Program by enrolling in Environmental Studies 484 will be made at the end of the first semester. In cases where requirements for honors have not been fulfilled at the end of the spring semester, Environmental Studies 484 (Honors Research) will revert to a graded Environmental Studies 492 (Independent Study).

The environmental studies minor is designed to introduce students to environmental issues and their ramifications in the context of the social and natural sciences. Course requirements provide flexibility, allowing students to study in areas of most interest to them.  Courses not listed below, such as those offered by some off-campus study programs, may count toward the minor pending prior approval by the program director.

Requirements for the Minor in Environmental Studies

(1) Environmental Studies 118
(2) Either Economics 133 and 231, or Anthropology 112 and either 256 or 355, or Environmental Studies 233 and 234
(3) Either Biology 131 or Biology 164 and Environmental Studies 271, or Geology 141 and 146 and one additional geology course, or Chemistry 141 and 142
(4) Two courses, including one numbered 300 or above, selected from the following group(s):

Group 1: At least one course selected from environmental studies core courses:

Environmental Studies 212 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing
233 Environmental Policy
234 International Environmental Policy
241 Environment and Social Inequality
265 Global Public Health
266 Environment and Human Health
268  Hazardous Waste and Environmental Justice
297B Sustainable Development
  298A History of American Environmental Policy
319 Conservation Biology
336 Endangered Species Conservation
340 Conflict, Negotiation, and Environmental Justice
342 Marine Conservation and Policy
346 Global Food Policy
334 International Environmental Regimes
352 Advanced and Applied Ecology
356 Aquatic Ecology
358j Ecological Field Study

398 World Religions and the Environment 
 
Group 2: If only one course is chosen from the environmental studies core group, then one additional course from:

Biology 211 Taxonomy of Flowering Plants
237 Woody Plants
254 Marine Invertebrate Zoology
257j Winter Ecology
259j Plants of the Tropics
354 Marine Ecology
357 Physiological Ecology
452 Behavioral and Physiological Ecology
Chemistry 217 Environmental Chemistry
Economics 341 Natural Resource Economics
  Geology 254 Principles of Geomorphology
Science, Technology, and Society 215 Weather, Climate, and Society
253 Energy, Power, and the American Century, 1901-2001
358 Climbing the Oil Peak

If not used to satisfy the social science couplet:

Anthropology 256 Land, Food, Culture, and Power
355 Development, Globalization, and Poverty
Economics 231 Environmental and Resource Economics
Environmental Studies 234 International Environmental Policy

Minors also are encouraged to have a hands-on environmental activity either of an experiential nature (internship or student teaching) or an academic nature (research paper or research lab). In many if not most cases, at least one of these may be required by one of the courses selected and thus satisfied automatically.

No requirement for the minor may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. AP credit in a subject allows advanced placement but does not reduce the number of courses required for the minor.  

 

Faculty

 

Colby College reserves the right in its sole judgement to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, academic schedule, fees, deposits, or any other matters in this catalogue.