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Study Sustainability

Two students working on a project


Thanks to Smith’s open curriculum and breadth of classes, it’s easy for students to take sustainability focused courses, no matter their major. Students can pick a major with an environmental focus from several departments, select a unique minor or concentration, or choose sustainability-related courses offered throughout the curriculum, including classes in anthropology, architecture, English language and literature, government and physics.

Student Profile

Molly Peek

Combining a geosciences major and a climate change concentration is enabling me to study what interests me academically: the arctic and glaciology and the way glaciers and polar landscapes can preserve records of past and present climate change. I completed a practical experience for the concentration with the Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska, where I learned glaciological field methods and witnessed the impact of modern climate change on temperate glaciers and the connected ecosystems.

Smith student Molly Peek wears headlamp and stands surrounded by ice

Class of 2018

Geosciences major; climate change concentration

Sample Courses Across the Curriculum

ANT 236 Economy, Ecology and Society

BIO 268 Marine Ecology

CHM 108 Environmental Chemistry

EAS 220 Colloquium: Environment and Society in Contemporary China

ECO 224 Environmental Economics

EGR 388 Seminar: Photovoltaic and Fuel Cell System Design

ENG 119 Writing Roundtable: This Overheating World

ENV 150 Modeling Our World: An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

ENV 220 Natural Resource Management and Environmental Justice

FYS 178 Energy, the Environment and Climate

ESS 940 Outdoor Skills: Wilderness Skills

GEO 106 Extraordinary Events in the History of Earth, Life and Climate

GER 250 Advanced Intermediate German: Environmental Culture

GES 302 Costa Rica at a Crossroads: Examination of Globalization and Sustainability

GOV 364 Seminar in Political Theory Changing the World: The Political Theory of the Anthropocene

LSS 255 Art and Ecology

PHI 238 Environmental Ethics

SOC 333 Seminar: Social Justice, the Environment and the Corporation

SWG 230 Gender, Land and Food Movement

Biological Sciences

Biological sciences treats the life sciences in all their breadth and diversity, including the study of molecules, cells, whole organisms, ecosystems, plants, animals and microorganisms. Students interested in sustainability can select the Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation track.

Climate Change Concentration

Many world leaders and scientists agree that climate change is the most significant challenge the world faces today. The Climate Change Concentration lets students engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of this critical topic. Through two internships, students immerse themselves in work that is integral to sustaining life on Earth, investigating the connections among key issues, such as the science of global climate change and the socioeconomic and historical factors affecting the climate.

Sustainable Food Concentration

The Sustainable Food Concentration is an interdisciplinary exploration of food and the many issues involved in sustainability. Students immerse themselves in global food distribution systems, the economics of agriculture, food cultures around the world, agriculture policy or the various ways that gender and food intersect through coursework and two internships.


In a world of finite natural resources, Smith engineers understand sustainability and employ its principles in the practice of their profession. The engineering program believes that sustainability is not optional—it’s an essential part of the curriculum. Fundamental to the program is its setting in a liberal-arts environment in which students learn to contextualize engineering in the framework of bigger societal questions and to think in different ways as they collaborate on interdisciplinary teams.

Environmental Science and Policy

The need for environmentally literate citizens and well-educated professionals able to address increasingly complex and global environmental issues has never been greater. Pollution, ecosystem degradation and unsustainable use of natural resources are just a few examples of how humans are altering the Earth and its atmosphere in unprecedented ways. Smith's Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) Program seeks to produce future leaders in the environmental field.


Courses in geosciences at Smith highlight hands-on and discovery-based learning through modern field and laboratory techniques, as well as interactive student-faculty research experiences. Majors in the environmental geosciences track take a range of courses within the department, as well as chemistry, ecology and environmental science and policy. A degree in geosciences can lead to a variety of rewarding careers that address pressing issues, including climate change, energy and water resources, environmental stewardship and natural hazards.

Landscape Studies

The Landscape Studies Program links faculty, students and courses in architecture, engineering, and environmental science and policy to study design, ecology, politics and human relationship to the environment. Smith's campus—which includes a botanic garden and an arboretum—and curriculum form a unique, rich archive and laboratory for the study of human interactions with the spaces and places we inhabit.

Marine Science and Policy

Students interested in studying coastal and oceanic systems can minor in marine science and policy. Courses cover topics such as oceanography, coral reef ecology and environmental economics.