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Environmental Studies

Major / Minor Info

There are new ENVS major requirements effective 2019-20. Please see here for details, to be included in the 2019-20 Lewis & Clark College catalog. Below are current requirements. 

The Program and Requirements

The major includes core courses in environmental studies, breadth courses in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and a concentration or second major. Core courses are designed to weave together concepts and skills drawn from breadth course fields in order to build an intellectually coherent understanding of environmental problems and solutions. The core sequence starts with a broad introductory course, followed by development of quantitative and qualitative analytical skills, and advanced treatment of environmental problems and solutions, culminating with a senior capstone representing original research on a topic of practical relevance. An additional core course builds communication, cultural competency, and other skills toward successful public engagement. All core courses offer the option to build skills in digital scholarship, as students document the process and outcomes of their work. Breadth courses in fields including biology, geology, economics, sociology, international affairs, history, and philosophy provide important discipline-specific tools for environmental analysis. Students also propose a concentration in order to gain greater depth in one particular subfield of environmental studies as preparation for research culminating in the student’s senior capstone.

Major and minor requirements are spelled out in the Catalog. Requirements total a minimum of 60 semester credits for majors and 24 semester credits for minors.


All ENVS majors (with the exception of double majors) must design an area of concentration. We want to give students the opportunity to identify a scholarly area for which they have interest, or desire advanced professional or academic preparation. Students design a 16-credit concentration to build an excellent grasp of the concepts (theories, major issues of scholarly debate, etc.) and skills (research and analytical methods) necessary to do a sensational senior research project in this area. Due to the broad academic nature of the ENVS Program, a student’s concentration may take many tracks, including a natural science, social science, humanities, or transdisciplinary focus.

Senior Capstone

ENVS students complete a senior capstone via ENVS 400 during their senior year. The project is based on a student’s concentration or second major and represents the culmination of a student’s scholarly career in ENVS at L&C. Ideally a student will be able to demonstrate expertise in his or her concentration or second major, as well as draw connections across the span of ENVS to produce a creative scholarly outcome with real-world applicability.


Students who distinguish themselves academically (GPA of 3.5 in the major and overall) are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in the honors program. Honors candidates work with faculty advisers to develop proposals for research projects, which must be approved by a committee of three faculty members selected by the candidate. After the student completes the final version of the thesis and makes a formal oral presentation to the faculty, the faculty determine whether to grant honors on graduation.  

Students interested in qualifying for the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa should consult the College’s chapter website, as additional coursework may be required.

Prospective or Transfer Students

Here is a page with information for you! If you have any questions whatsoever about the above, please do not hesitate to contact for additional guidance. We’re very happy to work with you!