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.
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.
Class of 2018
Geosciences major; climate change concentration
The environmental concentration gives students a way to organize a combination of intellectual and practical experiences, such as internships and service learning, around an environmental area of interest. A concentration allows for more flexibility than is possible within an academic minor, and students can pursue a concentration alongside a minor or a second major.
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.
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.
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.
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.