Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies program is a learning community made up of faculty, students, staff, administrators, campus groups, community partners, and more. Our vision is the cultivation of a dynamic program at the nexus of ecology and society that enables students to address pressing environmental challenges through a combination of critical thinking and constructive engagement. Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor available to students across the university, emphasizing science, policy, and the humanities in equal parts to help students address emergent environmental issues. We invite you to join us in this integrative learning community.

Minor in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies (ENST) minor encourages students to explore complex ecological concerns — from food, water, and energy to biodiversity and climate change — through an interdisciplinary perspective. Since these issues involve the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, the minor provides a foundational introduction to all three areas, and then allows students to integrate these spheres and/or focus on a particular aspect of their choice. Members of the ENST learning community will explore possibilities for transformation through grounded research, policymaking, communication, and cultural production, and will engage with environmental issues at scales from the local to the global. Georgetown’s mission and values, coupled with our location in Washington, DC, help cultivate a framework for providing students with a rich and meaningful experience engaging with environmental challenges and opportunities for change.

The Environmental Studies program aims to provide an integrative approach to environmental issues that bridges the sciences, policy analysis, and humanities. Specifically, the program strives to cultivate core knowledge across the physical, ecological, and biological sciences; advance concepts and methodologies spanning political, social, and economic spheres; develop deep historical perspectives; analyze a range of relevant ethical and cultural values; and foster the development of effective communication skills and critical thinking. As a learning community, we encourage participation in research, policymaking, evaluation, and engagement; students in the program will participate in cohort-based coursework and will interact with others across a range of environmental topics, both within and beyond the campus. 

The Environmental Studies minor is available to students university-wide (the College, School of Foreign Service, McDonough School of Business, School of Nursing & Health Studies), and consists of three core courses and three electives (18 credits in total), plus a capstone project. The core courses below comprise the foundational requirements for the ENST Program (substitutes may be considered under exigent circumstances only):

  1. ENST 1110: Environment and Society (offered fall and spring)
  2. ENST 2220: Issues in Environmental Science (offered fall)
  3. ENST 2240: Issues in Environmental Justice (offered spring)  

Program electives will rotate on a semester-to-semester basis; students can also select courses that are cross-listed with ENST, or petition the Program to approve a course that is not listed (this includes prospective Study Abroad courses for ENST minors, for which we can accept up to one full-course equivalent as an approved elective). The Program requires three elective courses (or nine total credits of electives), which may include Core Pathways modules or similar. In addition to ENST-specific elective offerings, each semester there will be a range of courses across the curriculum that are cross-listed with ENST and designated as pre-approved electives.

The required Capstone project will be approved by the ENST directors for each student in the program. Capstone options may include: taking an advanced course with a culminating project; engaging in an experiential activity (with documentation); conducting a significant research project, curated art exhibit, or other publicly presented work; a study abroad course with a culminating project; an internship or community-based opportunity (with documentation); and more. At the end of each academic year, there will be a closing symposium in which all graduating students will present their capstone work to the ENST learning community.

For more information about the program, please visit our regularly updated web page. For any questions, please contact the ENST Co-Directors (Prof. Randall Amster and Prof. Martha Weiss), or email the program directly.