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Environmental Concentration

Wind turbines over vast landscape

The Environmental Concentration provides an experiential framework to support students in the exploration of issues related to the environment, ecological design, and sustainability embedded in disciplines across the college. The concentration enables students to weave together formal and informal learning opportunities as a way of bridging theory and practice in support of environmental decisions and action. With support of an academic adviser, students will shape a topical area of inquiry of their choosing to define their environmental concentration. The possibilities are endless! Some past examples include:

  • sustainable food
  • environmental justice
  • environmental education
  • sustainable development
  • environmental humanities
  • art and the environment
  • environmental journalism
  • climate science 
  • environmental diplomacy
  • agricultural economics


The concentration is limited to 15 students per class year. Sophomores, juniors and Ada Comstock Scholars are encouraged to apply. Selection of concentrators is based on academic performance, intentionality and commitment, and diversity of the cohort.

Gateway Course

Choose one:

  • ENX 100: Environment and Sustainability: Notes from the Field (1 credit/offered each year)
  • LSS 100: Landscape, Environment, Design (2 credits/offered each year)

The Gateway Course may be taken prior to admittance to the concentration and is typically completed before senior year.

Path-Making Course

IDP 132: Designing Your Path
IDP 232: Articulating Your Path

These courses are intended to support students to develop self-agency in framing the area of their intellectual inquiry. Students must complete this requirement after they have been accepted into the concentration and normally after they have completed at least one practical experience. Students who choose to take IDP 132 prior to joining the concentration should plan to take IDP 232 to meet the program requirements.


Declaration of Concentration

Students who have been accepted into the concentration and received their adviser’s name need to fill out the
Program of Study Declaration Form.
This is the last step in making the concentration official in Workday.

Practical Experience Forms

After discussing a proposed practical experience with their advisers, students must complete the corresponding practical experience approval form in order to have the experience count towards the concentration requirements:

  • Summer Internship (100 hours or more)—Internship Credit Application
    All students undertaking a summer internship of at least 100 hours are eligible to receive academic credit (0.25 credits per experience) that will appear on their transcript. All concentration students preparing to undertake a paid internship should complete this form. Students completing an unpaid internship who are applying for Praxis funding support should use the “Praxis with Credit” form. See below.
  • Unpaid Summer Internship (220 hours or more)—Praxis with Credit Application
    All Smith students are eligible to receive a stipend payment for one normally unpaid internship through the Praxis program at the Lazarus Center. These internships must take place during the summer, and must comprise at least 220 working hours. When applying for a Praxis internship, the applicant must specify if the internship counts towards a concentration and should fill out the “Praxis with Credit” application.  
    Students in Concentrations are eligible to apply for Praxis a second time - Praxis Plus. Students applying for Praxis Plus should be in touch with Concentration Director Joanne Benkley about any required Praxis forms (e.g. the Concentration Director Completion Form).
  • Other Internships and Practical Experiences
    Students whose internships do not meet the above requirements because they take place during Interterm, during the school year, or for any other reason, should fill out the forms below.
    Prior to starting the internship please fill out the Practical Experience Approval Form.
    Upon completion of the practical experience please fill out the Practical Experience Completion Form.
  • Retroactive Credit for an Experience
    Students who completed a practical experience relevant to the concentration prior to being accepted into the cohort should discuss the experience with their concentration adviser as soon as possible after being accepted into the concentration. Once the experience is approved, and before the end of the semester they join, students must fill out the Practical Experience Completion Form. Be sure to check the “Retroactive Experience” box on the form.

Advising Checklist for Graduation

Students are required to submit a completed Concentration Advising Checklist at the start of their final semester. This form documents the completed components of the concentration requirements, and must be signed by the student’s concentration adviser. Completed form should be sent to the Registrar’s office ( and to the Administrative Coordinator for Concentrations (

How to Apply

The spring 2023 application deadline is March 11. We do consider applications on a rolling basis, so let us know of your interest if you are outside of this cycle. You are always welcome to reach out to Joanne Benkley with questions. 

To apply to the Environmental Concentration, log in and fill out the online application. You may apply to the concentration in your sophomore or junior year.






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Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3352
Fax: 413-585-3333