Environmental Studies Program Curriculum

The Environmental Studies Program emphasizes demonstrated competence in these areas: ecological theory, descriptive observation; quantitative measurement and statistical analysis; computer literacy, communications skills, service to the community; and local sense of place.



Area of Concentration Requirements


  1. Introduction to Environmental Studies
  2. Foundations in Biology I (highly recommended)
  3. A Chemistry course – e.g. Environmental Chemistry, General Chemistry I, or equivalent taught by Chemistry faculty
  4. Psychology, or Social Psychology, or equivalent (Intro Psych will be waived for ES students)
  5. An environmentally-oriented Political Science or Economics course – e.g., Sustainable Development, Environmental Economics (Introduction to Microeconomics is a prerequisite for Environmental Economics), or equivalent.
  6. An environmentally-oriented Anthropology, History, or Urban Studies course – e.g., Urban Sociology, Ecological Anthropology, or equivalent.
  7. An environmentally oriented Ethics, Literature, Music, or Religion course – e.g., Judaism and Ecology, Ethics, Environmental Literature and Film, Music and the Environment.
  8. Environmental Studies Practicum: This can be an ISP, internship, or full-term course and must involve teamwork with other students to complete a local environmental project.
  9. Environmental Studies Capstone taken in the fourth year.

In addition to the Environmental Studies Core, students are required to complete five additional courses or tutorials in one of the following tracks: Policy Track (consult with Dr. Alcock), Science Track (consult with Dr. Heffernan) , Urban Studies Track (consult with Dr. Brain) and Student Designed Track (consult with Environmental Studies Director) These will be determined by you and your expected thesis sponsor within your desired track. A methods and a statistics course are strongly recommended.

Finally, all Environmental Studies Area of Concentration Students are required to prepare a research grant proposal approved by their senior thesis sponsor and Environmental Studies Steering Committee. They must satisfactorily complete a senior thesis or project related to the environment. And, they must satisfactorily complete a baccalaureate exam with a faculty member of the Environmental Studies Steering Committee serving as a member of the committee.

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

Students desiring to complete a joint disciplinary degree (e.g. Political Science/Environmental Studies) must complete the nine core requirements listed above, but not the additional five track courses.


New College students must satisfy both the requirements of the Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC), New College’s general education program, and the specific requirements for the Area of Concentration (AOC). With so many opportunities each term, the pathway below is provided as an example of how a student could complete the requirements for graduation. We’ve put some checkpoints in place so that you make the most of your time at New College. Each term you’ll meet with a faculty advisor to discuss courses, tutorials, internships, or other academic experiences. Schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss which courses satisfy the LAC and which satisfy the AOC. Each student completes a Provisional AOC Plan in the fifth contract to select an AOC, and each student submits a Thesis Prospectus/AOC Form in the sixth contract.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Environmental Studies

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1Introduction to Environmental Studies (LAC 1)ISP 1 (on campus)Sustainable Development (LAC3)
Foundations of Biology 1 (LAC 2)AOC course
AOC courseElective course
Elective courseElective course
Year 2General Chemistry 1 (LAC4)Environmental Studies PracticumCognitive Psychology
Environmental EthicsUrban Sociology (LAC7)
LAC 5ES track course 1
LAC 6AOC tutorial
Year 3ES track course 2ISP 3Judaism and Ecology
ES track course 3ES track course 4
LAC 8Thesis research tutorial
AOC tutorialAOC tutorial
Year 4Thesis Writing TutorialEnvironmental Studies Capstone
ES track course 5Thesis Writing Tutorial
(or ES Capstone tutorial if 7 terms)Elective course
Elective courseISP 1 (on campus)

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Environmental Studies

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 3Introduction to Env StudiesES PracticumSustainable Development
ES track course 3Cognitive Psychology
Environmental EconomicsUrban Studies
(Assume: Intro Bio, Intro Chem, 2 track courses)ES track course 4
Year 4ES track course or ElectiveISP (if needed)ES Capstone
Thesis writing tutorialThesis writing tutorial
Environmental EthicsElective course
ES track course 5