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Environmental Studies

From debates about the health of the ozone layer to concerns about the daily destruction of the rain forests, questions about how human beings should interact with the world around them have become increasingly important in the 21st century. The environmental studies concentration offers students the opportunity to begin to explore environmental issues from a variety of perspectives, both in the classroom and in the field. Depending on how students choose to supplement the concentration, they can also begin to prepare themselves to engage in environmental problem solving in a complex and rapidly changing society where conflicting demands are increasingly being placed on environmental resources. The concentration draws on such disciplines as biology, ecology, the social sciences, ethics, and literature, and can be the basis for careers in government, law, business, journalism, education, and environmental sciences.


The concentration requires a core of at least 22 credits of work (including two courses at the 300-level or higher) in environmental studies and related courses. Given the concentration’s natural link between theory and practice, all students are strongly encouraged to enroll in at least one internship program during their time at Simon’s Rock. Recent internships have been sponsored by the Massachusetts Audubon Society; the Center for Ecological Technology; the Berkshire County Regional Planning Commission; the International Environmental Studies Internship Program in Nicosia, Cyprus; the School for Field Studies; and the Berkshire Environmental Research Center, Ltd. (BERC), a nonprofit research and education corporation located at Simon’s Rock. Students planning to pursue environmental science as a career are strongly encouraged to take a complementary body of courses in the natural sciences, including biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as mathematics through Elementary Functions and Introduction to Statistics. Those interested in pursuing the political, social, or aesthetic dimensions of environmental studies can pursue complementary course work in the social sciences, literature, and the arts.

Required Courses

Chemistry 100 or 102 Chemistry I or Chemistry in Context
Environmental Studies 200 Principles of Ecology
Environmental Studies 201 Principles of Environmental Management

Environmental Studies 304 Topics in Environmental Management
Natural Science 410 Research Methods


Economics 101 Macroeconomics
Environmental Studies 205 Human Geography of Nature Conservation and Protected Area Management
Literature 264 CP Nature and Literature

Recommended Courses

Chemistry 100–101 Chemistry I and II
Chemistry 302–303 Organic Chemistry I and II
Environmental Studies 308 Limnology
Mathematics 110 Introduction to Statistics

Recommended Courses at Bard College

Anthropology 325 Environment, Development, and Power
Economics 242 Environmental Economics
History 280A American Environmental History I
History 280B American Environmental History II
Political Studies 260 Environmental Politics in the U.S.

Recent Senior Theses

“Mercury Contamination in Fish from Suriname”
“A Determination of the Cadmium, Chromium, and Lead Concentrations in the Sediments of the Housatonic River”
“The Role of Theologically Based World Views in the Formation of Attitudes toward Nature and Environmental Ethics”
“Forested Wildlife Habitat Types on Tom Ball Mountain”
“Living With the Environment through Sustainable Agriculture”
“A Nutrient Budget and Critical Loading Estimate for Lake Mansfield”
“Must Be Something in the Water: Three Cases of PCB Contamination”
“An Investigation into Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Contamination in Two Tributaries of the Housatonic River”
“Religious Environmental Ethics: Ecological Interpretations of Buddhism and Islam”
“Parkaphilia: Exploring the Human Desire for Nature, as Embodied by Central Park”


Christopher Coggins, Donald Roeder, Robert Schmidt
Faculty contact: Donald Roeder