Environmental Studies | Earlham College

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies

Multidisciplinary, Experiential, Local, Global, Critical

Environmental Studies at Earlham is an interdisciplinary program of study purposefully designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for engagement with both current and future environmental problems and problem solving. Students may pursue either a major or minor.



The curriculum emphasizes the interdisciplinary connections and linkages between the social sciences and the humanities drawing from a variety of disciplines including Philosophy, Anthropology, Politics, Education, History, and Economics.

In addition to choosing a focus, students also complete a two-course sequence in the natural sciences (Geology, Biology or Chemistry).




Excellent opportunities exist to link theory and practice in Environmental Studies. Earlham's Sustainability Office within the Center for Integrated Learning is the hub of practical, hands-on projects related to sustainability and field-based learning.


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Career planning and discernment is a key aspect of the program. Students explore and consider career options throughout the academic program beginning with the introductory course and concluding with the senior seminar. 



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A Student Perspective

"Environmental Studies has allowed me the opportunity to bring together my seemingly disparate collection of passions and interests into a cohesive, focused purpose. I see Environmental Studies as a way of knowing; a way of learning to look at the seemingly disconnected world around us through the frame of systems and connectedness. Just like an ecosystem, no part can stand alone. Environmental Studies brought together my interests in Education, Sociology, Geology, International Relations, Economics, Politics, Architecture, Art, and Outdoor Education. It is not simply, as its name might suggest, the study of the environment, it is a study of the way people, land, non-human organisms, information, and wants and desires interact with one another, and it has been the best way for me to express my interest, passions, and values."

— Katie Rose Taulbee (Class of 2012), from her final reflective essay. 

Pursuing Graduate School

Earlham graduates majoring in Environmental Studies have continued their studies at the following graduate schools:

  • Indiana University (School of Public and Environmental Affairs)
  • Pennsylvania University (Urban Planning)
  • University of Washington (Islandwood Environmental Education)
  • University of Syracuse (Public Administration)
  • Carnegie Mellon (Public Policy and Management)
  • University of Chicago (Public Policy)
  • Georgetown (Public Policy)

Earlhamites in Environmental Studies

Nicol Chinchilla Cordero
Mixing Agriculture, Business and Sustainability

The environmental studies and business and nonprofit management double major is an impressive student. Within her first year, Chinchilla completed a Ford/Knight research project, which are normally tackled by upperclassmen. The project focused on water issues in Guatemala, ecosystems and sustainability, all of which are important to Chinchilla.

Jared Patton
A Fulbright Scholar in Spain

Jared Patton '13 has joined the ranks of such notable individuals as John Lithgow, Sylvia Plath, Dale Chihuly, Aaron Copland and Joseph Hellar by being honored as Earlham College's newest Fulbright recipient.


Faculty Spotlight

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Scott Hess, Associate Professor of English spends a lot of his time thinking about the term "nature." In his class, American Literature and the Ecology, Hess has students delve into this seemingly simple word to reveal a host of contradictions and complexities.

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