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Environmental Studies & Science Curriculum

The Environmental Studies Program at Randolph College embodies the conviction that to pursue life work in the realm of the environment, a student must grasp the complex interactions that characterize today’s most pressing environmental problems.

Since these problems lie at the nexus of natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, environmental studies provides a rigorous, interdisciplinary course of study, enriched with research experiences and practical opportunities.

Both a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Science are offered. Both degrees provide a strong foundation upon which to build environmental expertise and are designed to incorporate study abroad, internships, and research

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies

The B.A. degree is a flexible, interdisciplinary program focusing on the relationships between human society and the environment. 

The B.A. provides a solid grounding in the natural sciences as well as economics, political science, and humanities.

Students pursuing the B.A. complete an environmental internship during a semester or over a summer as part of their senior capstone experience.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

The B.S. degree is a strong, science-oriented program focusing on the biogeochemical dynamics of the earth system, methods of environmental analysis, and the impacts of human activity on the environment. 

The major has depth and breadth in mathematics and the natural sciences as well as advanced courses in environmental science. 

Students conduct senior research with a faculty member as part of their capstone experience.

Minor in Environmental Studies

The minor in environmental studies is appropriate for students in any major program who wish to add an environmental perspective to their chosen field.

Course Offerings

Below is a list of available courses offered by the Environmental Studies and Science Program. Consult the Registrar’s Office and the College Catalog for registration information.

EVST 1101 - Environmental Systems And Solut

A natural science-based introduction to current environmental issues and the science central to understanding them, including scientific method, systems theory, principles of critical thinking, sustainability basics, population dynamics, biogeochemical cycles, water and air pollution, energy resources, and global climate change. The course combines informational lectures, readings, and media with in-class activities, discussion, case study analysis, and field work opportunities designed to highlight the diversity of environment-related problems and the importance of critical thinking and scientific analysis. Credit hours: 4. (CI)

EVST 1104 - Ecosphere & Environment

Climate change, deforestation, and water pollution all impact natural ecosystems. This class will cover ecological concepts such as biogeochemical cycles, speciation, and biodiversity in the context of current environmental issues. Credit hours: 3. (NS)

EVST 1104L - Ecosphere & Environment Lab

Students will gain scientific knowledge about ecological principles and see how scientific theory can be applied to environmental issues. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite or prerequisite: EVST 1104. (NS)

EVST 1117 - Physical Geology

Physical Geology is the study of the earth, its structure and composition, and the processes that shape it. This course offers an overview of geologic time, plate tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes, mountain building, weathering, erosion, soils, and the origin of minerals and rocks. Credit hours: 3. (NS)

EVST 1117L - Physical Geology Lab

The laboratory provides hands-on exploration of physical geology topics and concepts, and will include rock and mineral identification, the use of geologic maps, data analysis, and field work. . Credit hours: 1. (NS)

EVST 1186 - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 1. One time only.

EVST 1186S - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 2. One time only.

EVST 1186W - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 4. One time only.

EVST 1188 - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 1. One time only.

EVST 1188S - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 2. One time only.

EVST 2201 - Quant Aspects Of Global Envirmtl Problem

An interdisciplinary, quantitative approach to understanding environmental issues. Students will learn practical applications of methods used to assess environmental problems including estimation techniques, box modelling, and visual displays of data. Topics include transport and fate of persistent pollutants, impact of human activities on climate, climate feedbacks, air pollution, acid deposition, fisheries management, ocean acidification, and disruptions of biogeochemical cycles. Credit horus: 4. Prerequisite: EVST 1101 or EVST 1104 or MSCI 1101 or permission of the instructor.

EVST 2205 - Research Design & Geographic Info System

This course provides students with a basic understanding of measurement and analysis techniques in environmental science. The course is focused on experimental design, data analysis, and sampling techniques, and introduction to ARCGIS. Credit hours: it: 4. Prerequisite: one of the following EVST 1101, EVST 1104-1104L, MSCI 1101, or other introductory class in natural science, or permission of the instructor. Alternate years.

EVST 2215 - Water Resources

Water is critical for human health, agriculture, electricity generation, and more, and many of our water resources are threatened by climate change, pollution and overuse. In this class, students will study how water moves in the environment, water policy, water use and threats to water supply. The class will also look at the history of water use and water use conflicts. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

EVST 2250 - Sustainability Principles & Practice

This course surveys the three realms of sustainability-economic, environmental, and social equity-and considers current global trends in these areas and tools for implementing and assessing sustainability. We explore applications of the principles of sustainability in food production, energy and resources, corporate management, consumption and waste, green architecture, and sustainable community planning. Students employ problem-based learning, and develop practical skills and professional tools. Sustainability professionals share their experiences during guest lectures. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: EVST 1101, EVST 1104, MSCI 1101 or sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

EVST 2286 - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 4. One time only.

EVST 2287 - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 4. One time only.

EVST 2288 - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 4. One time only.

EVST 3315 - Energy & Society

An interdisciplinary survey of human energy use, including its history, origins, constraints, consequences, and possible future scenarios. Students will develop analytical skills for addressing questions about energy, and will examine issues of sustainable energy futures, electric utility deregulation and restructuring, transportation policy, energy efficiency, environmental impacts of energy and resource use, and climate change and mitigation. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: EVST 1101 and 2201 or permission of instructor.

EVST 3325 - Ocean, Atmosphere, Climate Dynamics

In this course we examine the structure and dynamics of the earth's atmosphere, ocean, and how they interact to drive changes in weather and climate. Topics include general circulation of the ocean and the atmosphere, weather systems and forecasting, paleoclimatology, natural and anthropogenic climate change, mathematical modeling of climate systems, and atmosphere-ocean interactions including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Credit hours: 3. Prerequisite: EVST 1101 or 2201 or MSCI 1101 or permission of instructor. (NS)

EVST 3325L - Ocean, Atmosphere, Climate Dynam Lab

The laboratory provides a hands-on approach to data analysis, field work, and scientific inquiry, including remote sensing tools, use of weather forecasting products and instrumentation, global ocean, atmospheric, and climatological data sets and visualization tools. Credit hours: 1. Corequisite: EVST 3325. (NS)

EVST 3326 - Environmental Problems: History &culture

The course grounds students in the literature of environmental history in order to provide a cultural and historical framework for analysis of contemporary environmental problems, from the local to the global. Students evaluate the origin, scientific significance, and challenges of some of today's most pressing environmental concerns. Special attention is given to the role and contribution of women in environmental history. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: EVST 1101 or 1104 or MSCI 1101; junior standing; or permission of the instructor.

EVST 3386 - Evst One Time Only

Credit hours: 4. One time only.

EVST 3394 - Research Topics

The student will participate in a research project in environmental or marine science in conjunction with a faculty member, in an area of mutual interest. Research projects will vary from session to session, and with different faculty members. The student will gain experience in research and problem solving methods, and refine laboratory and field techniques. Research results are written up in formal lab reports and in some cases will be published and/or presented at local, regional, or national conferences. Credit hours: 1, 2, or 3. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of nine hours.

EVST 4495 - Senior Seminar I

Students critically evaluate scholarly articles from peer-reviewed environmental or marine science journals, gain expertise in researching and writing a literature survey, in their chosen area of focus, and hone oral presentation skills. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisites: senior standing.

EVST 4496 - Prof Development Seminar

A forum on the environmental realm. Guest speakers include professionals from government, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms. Students gain practical experience to prepare for employment in environmental studies and science. Certification programs, training modules, and continuing education options will be discussed. Credit hours: 1. Prerequisite: senior standing. Pass/Fail only.

EVST 4497H - Honors In The Major

EVST 4498H - Honors In The Major

Credit hours: 1-4 credits, repeatable once, and must total 4 credits.

MSCI 1101 - Introduction To Marine Science

This course will provide a broad overview of marine systems focusing on the physical processes controlling marine and coastal systems, such as waves and tides, the chemistry of seawater, and light in marine environments, and how these processes impact productivity. The course will also highlight major threats to marine ecosystems such as the impact of fisheries and ocean acidification. Credit hours: 4. (QR)

MSCI 2210 - Special Topics In Marine Sci

Focused reading, lectures, class activities, projects, and discussion on a specific theme or themes in marine science, marine ecology, coastal systems, and/or oceanography. Topics will be selected in advance. Themes/topics will vary from year to year and by instructor. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: a previous course in natural science, or permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit when the topic differs.

MSCI 3310 - Marine Organisms & Ecosystems

In this course, students study marine and coastal ecosystems from intertidal wetlands to the deep ocean. They will also explore the plants and animals typical of these habitats and the adaptations required of these organisms to live in these ecosystems. The course includes lecture and hands-on lab activities. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: MSCI 1101 or permission of instructor.

MSCI 3320 - Marine & Coastal Geology

This course will cover the role of plate tectonics in formation of the oceans and characteristics of continental margins as well as coastal geologic processes. In addition, the course will explore standard methods and instrumentation in marine and coastal geology. Credit hours: 4. Prerequisite: MSCI 1101, or permission of instructor.

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