Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Environmental & Sustainability Studies

The Environmental Studies concentration offers students the opportunity to explore a wide range of environmental issues—ranging from climate change, peak oil, and renewable energy to invasive species, extinction, and globalization—from a variety of perspectives, both in the classroom and in the field.

Through the concentration and supplemental work in other disciplines, students begin to prepare themselves to engage in environmental problem solving in a complex and rapidly changing society where increasing demands on the environment threaten sustainability. The concentration draws on such disciplines as biology, ecology, the social sciences, ethics, and literature.

Students learn about aquaponics and start plants that are transplanted to the Simon's Rock Farm.

Related career paths

Students with a concentration in environmental studies may enter into fields such as social activism, education, government, law, business, research, and journalism.


The concentration requires a core of coursework in environmental studies, the sciences, the humanities, and an extended campus project or internship. 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 Introduction to Statistics. Those interested in pursuing in greater depth the political, social, or aesthetic dimensions of environmental studies can pursue complementary coursework in the social sciences, literature, or the arts.

Required Courses (7 credits)

  • Environmental Studies 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Mathematics 109 Elementary Functions (or higher)

Environmental Studies courses (8 credits)

  • Environmental Studies 200 Ecology
  • Environmental Studies 201 Principles of Environmental Management
  • Environmental Studies 209 Tropical Ecology
  • Environmental Studies 304 Topics in Environmental Management
  • Environmental Studies 308 Limnology

Courses outside Environmental Studies (9 credits)

  • A minimum of 3 credits in natural sciences at the 200-level or above
  • A minimum of 3 credits in the humanities at the 200-level or above

Jessie Parrott ’16 awarded a Torrey Botanical Society Undergraduate and Graduate Student Training Fellowship to study at the Eagle Hill Institute in Maine with two experienced scientists.

Given the concentration’s natural link between theory and practice, all students are required to enroll in at least one internship program during their time at Simon’s Rock (this can be for credit or not, but must be approved by the faculty concentration advisor and, either way, must meet the requirements for a 4-credit internship). 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 based at Simon’s Rock.

Course Spotlight

Male student observing leaves

Geography/Environmental Science 205: Geographies of Nature, Wilderness, and Conservation 

This course examines both the “sociopolitical realm” in terms of its metaphors of nature and its conservation practices, as well as the ecologies in which it seeks its moorings. We focus on the origins of modern Western conceptions of nature, wilderness, conservation, preservation, biodiversity, land ownership, and protected area management.

Related Special Programs