Since environmental issues are often multidisciplinary, Eastern Nazarene College has developed a BA in Environmental Studies that is combined with a BA in another program like education; business, crime, law, and justice; or theater for social justice to prepare students to make a positive impact in the world.
Environmental issues affect every part of our lives, both in our communities and throughout the world. An Environmental Studies degree helps students tackle environmental problems and become environmentally responsible citizens. Since environmental issues are often multidisciplinary, students in the environmental studies major consider social, economic, and other implications of environmental concerns. Eastern Nazarene College has developed the BA in Environmental Studies that is combined with a BA in another program and includes, but is not limited to, the study of education; crime, law, and justice; business; or theater for social justice.
Students learn environmental studies from professors who have worked for environmental companies and have practical knowledge and experience solving environmental problems. Students benefit from small class sizes where they use lab and field equipment under the guidance of their professors. They have access to internships in the Greater Boston Area, including New England Aquarium, Neponset River Watershed Association, South Shore Natural Science Center, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Friends of the Blue Hills, Museum of Science, Quincy Climate Action Network, Buttonwoods Park Zoo, and Roger Williams Park Zoo. Finally, they have the opportunity to participate in travel courses to destinations like Hawaii and Costa Rica to put their education into practice.
The core curriculum in environmental studies encompasses courses in environmental science, biology, chemistry, and math. Students take classes and labs such as Introduction to Ecology and Diversity, Environmental Science, Environmental Ethics and Policy, and Conservation Biology as well as biology, chemistry, and statistics. They also have the opportunity to experience environmental issues outside of the US in courses like Field Problems in Ecology/Tropical Ecology. In addition, students research and propose their own research projects in a sequence of two seminar courses designed to teach them how to read, write, and speak like a scientist.
Students in this degree program complete seven credits of environmental science electives that include courses in environmental science, biology, or chemistry. Many students study genetics, marine or freshwater biology, bioinformatics, microbiology, comparative anatomy, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, instrumental analysis, and current topics in biology/environmental science. Descriptions of these courses may be found in the Biology and Chemistry departments.
Environmental studies majors take three cognate courses: Introduction to Statistics, Physical Science, and Chemistry of Life (descriptions of these courses may be found in the math, physics, and chemistry departments). Finally, students are required to do an internship for a minimum of four hours per week for 10 weeks, where they gain practical experience outside of the classroom in a specific area of environmental science that is of interest to them. Internships may be completed throughout the Boston area or at home, usually during the summer. While it is possible to do an internship during the academic year, it may be challenging with a full schedule of classes and labs.
To complete the credits required for graduation, students add an additional major, minor, or other classes in a related topic.
Armed with a dual degree in Environmental Studies and another discipline, students are ready to make a difference in a career that may include environmental non-profit management, environmental education, social justice advocacy, or environmental business, to name just a few.
Students have gone on to pursue graduate school or certificate programs at Green Mountain College, Clark University, and the University of Rhode Island. Some alumni are working for state environmental agencies, while other graduates have chosen to pursue careers with environmental consulting firms, renewable energy companies, and non-profit organizations.
- Introduction to Ecology and Diversity – Introduction to Ecology and Diversity, along with Plants and Animals and Introduction to Cell Biology and Genetics, is a required course for all environmental science majors. The first section of the course introduces the student to the basic concepts of ecology, including ecosystem types, population and community ecology, and the flow of energy and materials within ecosystems. Students will then explore the theory of evolution by natural selection to understand the processes that result in morphological and behavioral adaptations as well as the development of new species.
- Introduction to Ecology and Diversity Lab – This lab introduces students to the basic concepts of ecology, while getting an initial look at some of the techniques that are used to study ecological problems in the field. We spend time at some of the local ecosystems, including forests, bogs, streams, vernal pools, and coastal marine ecosystems, while looking at some of the species found in each.
- Environmental Science with lab – This course covers principles of environmental science, the study of how humans interact with the natural world. The course includes topics such as human population growth, extinction and loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution, global climate change, food and water security, waste management, energy and water conservation, and sustainability. Emphasis will be placed on understanding our Christian response to these concerns as caretakers of the earth.
- Environmental Science Lab – In the first half of Environmental Science Lab, we study some of the many environmental issues related to pollution and environmental degradation. The second half of the lab is project based, and students have the opportunity to explore renewable energy sources such as biofuels, and build models of solar houses, windmills, and solar cookers.
- Environmental Ethics and Policy – The first half of this course introduces the student to the variety of ethical approaches taken with regard to environmental issues, including creation care, stewardship, biocentrism, ecocentrism, ecofeminism, the land ethic, deep ecology, and environmental justice. Then in the second half, students consider how these worldviews might be expressed in the form of governmental or corporate policies that guide or restrict human interactions with the environment.
- Field Problems in Ecology/Tropical Ecology with lab – Tropical ecosystems play a major role in regulating climate, absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen, and providing habitats for both humans and many other species. In this course, we study the major biomes found in tropical ecosystems, as well as the ecology and natural history of select species and the ecological interactions that occur between species. We also look at the way humans use tropical ecosystems, and how that has resulted in their degradation. Students will then travel to a tropical ecosystem (most recently Costa Rica) during the May term to experience these tropical ecosystems and their associated species first hand.
- Topics in Environmental Science – elective course involving discussion of one or more current topics related to the fields of ecology and environmental science. Possible topics might include the biology of venomous/poisonous animals, global climate change, renewable energy, and sustainability.
- Conservation Biology – Emphasizes the application of ecological principles to the conservation of biodiversity. Examines the major threats to biodiversity, including human exploitation of species, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, and global climate change, as well as the methods used to monitor and resolve these concerns. Employs case studies as a tool for discussing current issues in conservation biology.
- Conservation Biology Lab – focuses on the main concepts taught in Conservation Biology, including measuring biodiversity, methods for population census and species identification, animal behavioral observations, the use of technology in conservation, island biogeography and species-area relationships, and the design of nature reserves.
- Environmental Science Seminar 1 – this course is the first in a sequence of four courses which ultimately leads to the completion of a senior research project, the preparation of a scientific report, and the presentation of your results in either multimedia or poster format. In this course, we will be learning how to write like scientists by reviewing the principles of excellent writing, fixing common errors made in scientific writing, researching peer-reviewed journal articles in an area of interest, and preparing a literature review. It is in your best interest to use this literature review if you can as the first step towards writing your Seminar 2 research proposal.
- Environmental Science Seminar 2 – focuses on learning how to present scientific research papers to your peers, and writing a research proposal. Most scientific research doesn’t happen without a well-written proposal to get funding for your research. A proposal makes a justification for the research project, and outlines how it will be accomplished, what it will cost, and how long it will take.