The major and minor in Environmental Science and Policy each offer an interdisciplinary course of study designed to prepare students to address complex environmental challenges by drawing on knowledge from multiple disciplines. Students learn to interpret the empirical scientific evidence of environmental problems and understand how policy decisions can change those conditions. The minor in Marine Science and Policy permits students to pursue interests in coastal and oceanic systems through an integrated sequence of courses in the natural and social sciences.
More than 25 faculty members from over a dozen departments teach courses in the Program. Research interests of ES&P advisers span a broad range of fields in the environment, including marine ecosystems, globalization and gender, global climate change, development and population, international environmental politics, watershed health in North and Central America, political ecology, conservation biology, environmental economics, environmental engineering, and global marine policy.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an integral part of some ES&P courses, and the program's GIS facility, the Spatial Analysis Lab (SAL), is available to all Smith students and faculty.
Environmental education at Smith reaches beyond the classroom. Many students are engaged in field research in internships, with faculty or independently. Their work has been used by scientists and policy-makers alike, within local and international arenas. A Smith student may pursue her research project further through an honors thesis or special studies project. Students may also choose to spend a semester or a year studying the environment at affiliate schools abroad or in the U.S. During the summer, students can participate in the unique interdisciplinary Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program or the NOAA-Smith internship program, both coordinated by ES&P.