Environment, Society, and Culture, Minor

Liberal Arts (Code 489-401)

Advisors: J. Boulter (Public Health and Environmental Studies), J. Phillips (Chemistry and Biochemistry), C. Pierce (Public Health and Environmental Studies).

The Environment, Society, and Culture minor enables students to apply interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the human and ecological dimensions of environmental issues, including climate change, environmental justice, pollution, and sustainable food systems. The minor provides the opportunity to integrate courses from a variety of disciplines, including economics, environmental science, ethics, gender studies, geography, history, policy, public health, and sociology. Concepts and tools from these disciplines empower students to address environmental challenges at local-to-global scales. The minor is open to all students and is designed to be flexible so that students can tailor their courses to meet their particular needs and interests.

In addition, students gain real world research skills and apply principles of environmental justice, civic engagement, sustainability, and strategic policy development to learn about the underlying drivers of critical challenges such as climate change, air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, urbanization, and infectious disease outbreaks. Students in the minor examine social and environmental conflicts and the policies and strategies to address these conflicts. The Environment, Society, and Culture minor challenges students to think critically and holistically to understand the social and environmental dynamics of environmental concerns.

Minimum of 24 credits, with at least 12 credits from courses at the 300-level or above, including:
Select at least one gateway course from the following:
Environmental Biology and Conservation
Chemistry and Climate
Introduction to Environmental Health
Sustainability Basics and Beyond
Planet Earth: Conservation of the Environment
Global Health
Select at least three of the following from the “Socio-cultural Perspectives” category:
Topics in Communication and Social Advocacy (when offered as Environmental Communications)
Environmental Economics
Sustainable Cities
Waste & Society: Energy, Food, and Efficiency
U.S. Environmental and Sustainability Policy
Sustainable Placemaking and Community
Geography of Food
International Environmental Problems and Policy
American Environmental History
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Sociology
Sociology of Food and Agriculture
Natural Science Focus Area: A two-course sequence in a natural science chosen from the following options:
Conservation Biology 1
Chemical Principles
and Environmental Chemistry 2
Planet Earth: The Physical Environment
and Introduction to Geomorphology
Environmental Hazards
Environmental Geology
and Earth Resources and Sustainability
Water Resources
Select additional courses from those listed above or from the options below to reach a total of 24 credits:
American Indian History
Contemporary American Indian Communities
Biological Field Experiences and Service-Learning Capstone
Disease Detectives: Epidemics and Data
Radiation, Air Pollution and Health
Water and Wastewater
Hazardous and Solid Waste Management
Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
Native Geographies
Tourism Geographies
Geography Field Seminar
History of Public Health in the United States
Principles of Demography
Social Class and Inequality

Must take either GEOG 178 or BIOL 180 as the gateway course as a prerequisite to BIOL 328.


CHEM 105, CHEM 106, and CHEM 109 may be used in lieu of CHEM 115 but only six credits may be counted toward the minor from these courses.

Note 1: Credits from other courses may also be applied as electives, pending advisor and college approval, when they focus specifically on environmental topics. This includes special topics, directed studies, independent study, and/or internships. Applicable environmental courses offered through the Honors program, International Study Abroad or National Student Exchange may also be applied with consent of an advisor.

Note 2: A minimum of 48 unique credits must be earned between the student’s major and this minor for purposes of meeting graduation requirements for first and second degree programs.


Program Learning Outcomes  

Students completing this program will be expected to meet the following learning outcomes:

  • Examine the human impacts on environmental systems using scientific inquiry.
  • Describe political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental problems.
  • Recognize the spiritual and philosophical interconnections between humans and the environment.
  • Integrate scientific, socioeconomic, and ethical perspectives to address environmental issues.