Major in Environmental Sustainability

The environmental sustainability major is distinguished by a sustainability framework for resolving environmental problems. Students will apply both scientific and non-scientific knowledge to analyze pervasive environmental problems.

Features of this major include:

  • An orientation toward service learning and experiential learning, which help students to develop leadership skills necessary for successful implementation of environmental sustainability efforts.
  • An internship (or study-abroad) experience will be incorporated with coursework that is interdisciplinary and project-oriented.
  • A curriculum that is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.

The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sustainability reinforces the Wilson College Mission Statement, which contains the following sentence: “Wilson is committed to the life of the mind and spirit, to environmental sustainability and to preparing articulate, ethical leaders who will serve their communities and professions effectively in an increasingly complex, interdependent and global world.”

Goals and Objectives

  • Promote institutional and systemic thinking that understands the systems approach to finding solutions to local to global environmental problems.
  • Develop social leaders that are adept in community organizing, service learning, and organization and management.
  • Educate students about environmental policy issues and foster in them an ability to understand and solve complex environmental problems.
  • Cultivate an appreciation of environmental challenges through a framework of sustainability. Cross-disciplinary research in the natural and social sciences and humanities to develop a holistic approach to these environmental challenges.

Required Courses

Students complete a series of core courses that develop a broad base in the natural and social sciences, as well as humanities, in order to cultivate a foundation for analyzing the complex environmental problems that challenge our species. The core courses provide a solid foundation across disciplines. The following courses are required of all majors:

  • ENV 105 Foundations of Environmental Sustainability
  • ENV 110 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ENV 203 Science, Technology and Societ or ENV 210 Environmental History
  • ENV 204 Environmental Policy
  • ENV 215 Environmental Impact Assessment
  • ENV 217 Environmental Stewardship
  • ENV 355 Internship or Study abroad that will be counted for ENV 355
  • ENV 401 Ecological Perspectives in the Science and Humanities
  • MAT 115 Statistics
  • PHI/RLS 220 Environmental Ethics
  • PS 216 Public Policy or SOC 227/327 Environmental Sociology

*With the permission of adviser, students may substitute ENV 270 or 370 for any course except ENV 110 or ENV 204.

To further strengthen the major, students will be required to complete:

Option A: A second coordinating major or Oprion
B: A minor that supports the study of environmental sustainability.

Special topics courses are offered on a regular basis at the 170, 270, 370 and occa­sionally 570 (graduate) level. Some of these courses are: Stewardship of Watershed Ecosystems, Sustainable Architecture, Sustainable Energy and Permaculture.

Features of the Environmental Sustainability Major

Emphasis on Service Learning: ENV 204 and ENV 215

“Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities." (National Service Learning Clearinghouse,

Emphasis on Experiential Learning: ENV 105, ENV 110, ENV 217, ENV 4XX


Experiential learning is a process of learning by direct experience and then deriving meaning from this encounter. It is also defined as a  “direct encounter with the phenomena being studied rather than merely thinking about the encounter.” (Borzak 1981: 9 quoted in Brookfield 1983).

Contact Information

Dr. Edward Wells
Department Chair
717-264-4141  ext. 3413