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

The Environment and Sustainability 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 community garden.

Related career paths

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


The concentration requires completion of four prerequisites prior to moderation, a core of at least 21 credits of coursework (including two courses at the 300-level or higher) in environmental studies and related courses, and an 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 Elementary Functions and Introduction to Statistics. Those interested in pursuing in greater depth the political, social, or aesthetic dimensions of environmental studies can pursue complementary coursework or a second concentration in the social sciences, literature, or the arts.

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