Environmental Studies Minor

The Center for the Environment Director and Deans advise Environmental Studies Minors (ESMs).

The Environmental Studies Minor (ESM) Program is an interdisciplinary one designed to enable undergraduates, who are  majoring in any discipline, to focus on environmental issues as well as their major subjects.  The ESM requires six courses plus a Capstone Experience related to our environment that complement a student’s major area of studies.  One of the courses may count toward a student’s major requirements.  (updated March 2015)

All ESMs must take the following three courses or their equivalents and undertake a Capstone Experience.  If you need to take an equivalent course, please discuss it with the Director, Professor Barrows. 

1.  BIOL-104 Foundations in Biology II (ecology, evolution, and behavior) (spring and summer semesters at GU)

2.  GOVT-354 Environmental Politics (or similar course with permission of Professor Barrows).

3.  STIA-227, Environmental Geoscience (or similar course with permission of Professor Barrows).  Note ESMs may use Biol-104 as a prerequisite for STIA-227.  In fall term 2015, STIA-227's lab is actually scheduled for 2–4:30 p.m. on Mondays, not on Wednesdays.   

Capstone Experience (CE). You should complete your CE in your senior year and may work on it before and during your senior year. Your CE may take one of three forms: (1) The Environmental Seminar which is STIA 408 or 414, or another enviromental course to be okayed by Professor Barrows, (2) a special environmental project undertaken with a selected professor(s) within an appropriate course, or (3) such a project undertaken outside a course. Options-2 and -3 may each be an extensive library-research project alone or an appropriate hands-on experience combined with library research. In you are undertaking your Capstone Experience within a course OR outside of a course, you should develop a detailed, written, mutually-agreed-upon contract of understanding with your project advisor(s) before you start your project. The contract should include the parts listed in Table 1. Both your sponsoring professor(s) and the Director of the CFE must officially approve your contract. You may undertake option-2 for no credit or you may add it to a course for credit by signing up for 1 additional credit with permission of the course’s instructor. The course should directly relate to your Capstone Experience, and your Capstone advisor should be the course's instructor. Your Capstone Advisor should be a GU tenure-track professor. Examples of CE project reports that are not part of a formal course include (1) creation and implementation of an environmentally-sound T-shirt business, (2) the GU Farmers Market compared with other university and college farmers markets, and (3) an analysis of an environmental internship held by the focal GU ESM student. If you are writing a paper, you should submit drafts of it early to your sponsoring professor, and, certainly, not wait until the last minute (e.g., March and April) to submit your first drafts. In other words, you should consult with your professor on a regular basis to maximize the quality of your CE. It is wonderful when ESM students are proactive in meeting their deadlines.


Table 1. Capstone Experience. Outline of Parts of Contract of Understanding.

For Capstone Experiences that are not undertaken within a formal course, the CFE recommends that you hone a copy of your contract with your capstone adviser in September–October of your senior year. From September (or earlier) through February, you should do your research and write in consultation with your adviser. In March through April, you should polish later drafts of your paper in consultation with your adviser. So that you will not be overly burdened around final-exam time in the spring, you should turn in your Capstone Project by early April.

I. Project title
II. Goal(s)
III. Background information including a discussion of the overall value of your project
IV. Method
V. Expected results
VI. References
VII. Time table and deadlines for preliminary drafts of your paper, the final draft of your paper, and completion of hands-on parts of your project, as are appropriate.
VIII. Signatures
A. Your signature
B. Your advisor(s) signature(s)
C. Director of the Center for the Environment signature (currently Professor Barrows)


There are different models for completing the ESM depending on a student’s background and needs. The models include the following. Hybrids of these models may be appropriate for some students.

Model 1

This model is for a science major who desires to earn an ESM with a science-policy emphasis.
Requirements: Courses 1–3 and Capstone Experience (list above); 3 courses from ECON-475; STIA-305, 310, 311, 370. 375, 407, 412, 416, 425, 445, 458, 490; others to be announced.

Model 2

This model is for a non-science major who desires to earn an ESM with a science-policy emphasis.
Requirements: Courses 1–3 and Capstone Experience (list above); 1 course from BIOL-004, 005, 007, 008, 016, 251, 280, 355, 365, 375, 380, 403; CHEM-020; others to be announced; 2 courses from ECON-475; STIA-305, 310, 311, 370. 375, 407, 412, 416, 425, 445, 458, 490; others to be announced.

Model 3

This model is for a Chemistry Major who desires to earn an ESM emphasizing environmental science.
Requirements: Courses 1–4 (list above); 3 courses from BIOL-004, 005, 007, 008, 016, 251, 280, 355, 365, 375, 380, 403; others to be announced.

Model 4

This model is for a Computer Science, Mathematics, or Physics Major who desires to earn an ESM emphasizing environmental science.
Requirements: Courses 1–4 (list above); 3 courses from BIOL-004, 005, 007, 008, 016, 251, 280, 355, 365, 375, 380, 403; CHEM-020; others to be announced.

Model 5

This model is for a Biology Major who desires to earn an ESM emphasizing environmental science.
Requirements: Courses 1–4 (list above); 3 courses from BIOL-251, 280, 355, 365, 375, 380, 403, and others to be announced as part of his or her requirements for the B.S. in biology; and 3 appropriate courses related to our environment which are outside the Department of Biology, many of which are listed below.

Here is a list of GU environmental course numbers and names. The CFE is updating this list. You can find more information about environmental courses at GU via GU Explore.  Only some of these courses are available in a particular semester.  

  • AMST-353 Energy in America: From Black Gold to Green Power
  • BIOL-004 G-Ecology*
  • BIOL-005 Urban Ecology and Citizenship*
  • BIOL-007 Ecology of the Oceans*
  • BIOL-008 Ecology and the Environment*
  • BIOL-016 Forest Ecology (non-science majors course)*
  • BIOL-180 Ecology**
  • BIOL-181 Ecology Laboratory**
  • BIOL-185 Evolutionary Processes**
  • BIOL-255 Forest Ecology**
  • BIOL-268 Global Climate Change Ecology**
  • BIOL-361 Science & Society: Global Challenges
  • BIOL-365 Conservation Biology**
  • BIOL-375 Plant-Animal Interactions**
  • BIOL-386 Ecological Analysis**
  • BIOL-403 Marine Biology**
     
  • CHEM-020 Environmental Chemistry***
     
  • CULP-344 Green Politics
     
  • ECON-475 Environmental Economics
     
  • ENG-227 Eco-Narrative
     
  • GOVT-331 Politics of Natural Resources
  • GOVT-354 Environmental Politics
     
  • HIST-382 Nature's Nation: Environment in Modern America
  • HIST-404 War and environment in the modern world
  • HIST-429 Chinese Environmental History
     
  • STIA-305 Science, Technology, and the Global Arena
  • STIA-310 Environmental Archaeology
  • STIA-311 Environmental Geomorphology
  • STIA-318 Energy and International Security
  • STIA-353 Energy and Stability
  • STIA-370 Oceans
  • STIA-375 Environment and Security
  • STIA-379 Energy and Environment in China
  • STIA-395 Biotechnology and Security
  • STIA-407 Sustenance Agriculture
  • STIA-408 Environmental Restoration and Reconstruction
  • STIA-412 Climate Science and Policy
  • STIA-414 Water in the Environment
  • STIA-416 Science, Technology, and the Future
  • STIA-425 Biosecurity and Agricultural Security
  • STIA-445 Politics and International Health
  • STIA 453 Energy & Security in the Middle East
  • STIA-458 The Future of World Energy
  • STIA-490 Survey of Population Problems
  • STIA-497 Enviro Hist of the Maya

 

For more courses, please check out http://sustainability.georgetown.edu/teachingresearch/courses/


*Not open to Biology Majors.
**Please check with the course instructor about this course’s prerequisites for you as an Environmental Studies Minor.
***Not open to Chemistry Majors.