Environmental Analysis

Environmental Analysis is an interdisciplinary major focusing on the interaction between human and non-human components of the biosphere. The major applies approaches in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and natural sciences to understanding and solving environmental problems. Environmental Analysis offers an integrated, unifying perspective on life, as well as a program for creating positive change. The major prepares students for graduate work and careers in teaching, public policy and administration, law, environmental sciences, international affairs, environmental design, and the non-profit sector. Developing sustainable ways of living is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The Environmental Analysis Program combines the strengths of the five Claremont Colleges to provide robust interdisciplinary training for students interested in environmental issues. Resources for field research, community-based research, internships, and service learning include the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability, the Pitzer in Costa Rica Program, and the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology, the Pitzer in Ontario Program, the John R. Rodman Arboretum, the Bernard Biological Field Station, and numerous local partnerships.

The Environmental Analysis Program regards study abroad as a valuable, though not required, part of the curriculum, enabling students to secure deeper appreciation of the global dimensions of environmental challenges. Additionally, the Program encourages students to engage in internships and fieldwork that move them beyond the classroom and library to engage in research and action.

Pitzer Advisers: Paul Faulstich, Melinda Herrold-Menzies, Lance Neckar, Muriel Poston, Susan Phillips, Brinda Sarathy,
Keck Science Advisers: (Environmental Science Track): D. McFarlane, K. Purvis-Roberts, C. Robins, D. Thomson, B. Williams

The Major

The Environmental Analysis major offers four Tracks: Environmental Science, Environmental Policy, Environment & Society and Sustainability and the Built Environment. For the Environmental Policy and Environment and Society Tracks of the major, students take 11 to 12 courses, depending on how they fulfill the internship requirement. Students in the SBE track take 12 to 13 courses. Students who craft a thesis for honors do an additional course of independent research and writing (ENVS 198).

The major consists of five sets of requirements:

  • Core set of courses
  • One natural science course
  • Track with Course Plan
  • Environmental Internship for the Environment & Society and Environmental Policy Tracks
  • Capstone Seminar or Thesis depending upon Track

Internships in Environmental Analysis

Environmental Analysis majors are required to deepen their understanding of the discipline through an internship. Students can register for the Environmental Internships course (EA 101), which requires working 7-10 hours per week with local non-profit, for-profit, governmental, or non-governmental organizations. Students may also complete required hours through additional credit and non-credit options, provided their work is integrated with the academic curriculum and they obtain approval from their advisors. Our goal is for students to contribute to efforts in environmental justice, conservation, green architecture, planning, and business, agroecology, policy, or education. Through internship work, students also build professional experience that makes them more competitive on the job market.

Finding an Internship

Students can find an internship through the Environmental Analysis internships list on this website, on their own, in consultation with a faculty member, or with the help of the career services office. Students are encouraged to discuss ideas with internship advisor Professor Susan Phillips, preferably the semester before they plan to complete the requirement.Click here for a list of internship possibilities.

Requirements for completing an environmental internship are as follows:

  • Locate a suitable internship site
  • Identify a site supervisor
  • Complete a learning contract with your site supervisor
  • Complete CEC ethics training and paperwork
  • Conduct 7-10 hours of internship work per week, for a least 10 weeks
  • Track and provide proof of hours twice per semester
  • Complete internship paperwork
  • Write a summary of how the experience has impacted your understanding of the discipline

If you fail to complete the listed requirements within the indicated time frames, your work may not meet the internship requirement for the major. Except in the case of summer or study abroad internships, all internship materials are due by the last day of classes of the semester during which the internship is conducted.

Required Internship Forms

Internship summary filled out by student.
Internship Summary Form

Employer verification form filled out by site supervisor.
Employer Verification Form

To be filled out by student and signed by site supervisor
Internship Time Sheet

Learning Contract to be written and signed by student and site supervisor (instructions below)

Credit and Non-Credit Internship Options

Environmental Analysis majors must engage in one semester’s worth of intensive (70-100 hours, or 7-10 hours per week for 10 weeks) internship work with a local organization. Students are encouraged to complete the internship requirement before their senior year. Options for completing this requirement are as follows:

Independent Study: Students may fulfill the internship requirement as an independent study, to be arranged with an appropriate professor.

Study Abroad:  A student may petition to have work abroad in the Costa Rica program or another study abroad site count toward the requirement.  Students must furnish proof of hours and submit the final product (DISP, field notes, final paper, etc.) to the EA field group for approval.

Ontario Program: Students may complete their internships through the Ontario program.  Internships and final papers must explicitly revolve around environmental issues. Students must work with an advisor from Environmental Analysis to ensure that their Ontario work is appropriate to the major.

Adding Hours: A regular Environmental Analysis class with a community-based component usually does not require enough hours to meet the major’s internship requirement. Professors may allow students to add hours to their required off-campus work.  Similarly, students can propose to add an internship to a class that does not currently have a community-based component.  In both cases, the student must have the professor’s prior written approval, and written agreement from the host organization.

In all cases, students are responsible for completing required internship forms and evaluations.

Non-credit Internship: Students may complete their internships outside of their academic coursework over the course of a semester or during the summer. Students are still required to complete all forms, training and requirements and are responsible for being in communication with the appropriate internship adviser.

Learning Contract

A learning contract is a document that formalizes the relationship between you and your partner site.  It sets up parameters for commitment and expectations.  It also clarifies the purpose of your internship and what you intend to learn.  You must collaborate with people at your site in order to outline tasks or jobs.

Internships should be considered works in progress.  Clarifying responsibilities appropriate to your site encourages interesting conversations to take place, and guards against potential misunderstandings. If work at a site deviates from your original learning contract, you should arrange a meeting with your primary site supervisor in which to discuss roles and responsibilities that lead to a new contract. If you deem this level of formality inappropriate to your site, please let your Pitzer adviser know.

The learning contract should include the following:

  • Name, address, phone number, and email address for: you, your adviser, and your internship site supervisor.
  • Start and end date (totaling a minimum of 10 hours/week for one semester).
  • Indicate that your internship is for academic credit or completes a graduation requirement at Pitzer College.
  • The nature and detail of internship/tasks/skills (min. 2 paragraphs).
  • Intended learning goals, e.g. learning how a green business works (min. 1 paragraph).
  • How the internship relates to your course of study.

This document is designed to help you, your adviser, and your site supervisor. Write using accessible language and be open for discussion and revision if necessary.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes for All Majors in Environmental Analysis:

  1. Understand and describe the complex social, scientific and humanistic aspects of environmental issues
  2. Understand and apply both disciplinary and interdisciplinary analysis to environmental issues
  3. Critically analyze, evaluate, and interpret scholarly arguments and popular discourse and be able to communicate this analysis to a variety of communities
  4. Develop well-reasoned solutions to environmental predicaments, testing them against relevant criteria and standards
  5. Be able to craft well-researched, informative and effective scholarly presentations
  6. Contribute knowledge and action regarding environmental issues to the public through service learning, internships, community-based-research, and other activities

Additional Specific Student Learning Outcomes for the Separate Tracks within the major of Environmental Analysis: Environment and Society Track

  1. Understand and describe different cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender perspectives on the environment
  2. Understand, describe, and conduct research on where social justice and environmental issues intersect

Environmental Policy Track

  1. Acquire a working knowledge of the concepts, principles, and theories of environmental policy, law, and politics
  2. Engage in critical thinking about issues and concepts in environmental policy and politics
  3. Locate and analyze research and reports in the field of environmental policy and politics

Sustainability and the Built Environment Track

  1. Understand and analyze sustainable design in a holistic manner.
  2. Develop conceptual frameworks for critical inquiry and environmental problem solving.
  3. Apply design concepts and skills for a sustainability and resilience.
  4. ntegrate scholarship and analyses to test spatial ideas.

Environmental Science Track

  1. Design and execute experiments using the scientific method
  2. Be able to utilize field and laboratory techniques and skills