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: Melinda Herrold-Menzies, Lance Neckar, Susan Phillips
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 work a total of 7-10 hours with local non-profit, for-profit, governmental, or non-governmental organizations. Students may complete required hours through courses or independently, and they should 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 build professional experience that makes them more competitive for fellowships, graduate school applications, and on the job market.

Finding an Internship

Students can find an internship 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 their advisor, preferably the semester before they plan to complete the requirement.

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 strongly 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. The independent study must contain a robust academic component and requires passage through our curriculum committee.

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 submit the final product (DISP, field notes, final paper, etc.) to their advisor for approval.

CASA Pitzer 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.

Non-credit Internship: Students may complete their internships outside of their academic coursework over the course of a semester or during the summer. Students must clear the placement with their advisor.

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