Environmental Studies Program

The Colorado College Environmental Studies Program prepares its majors to understand their connection to the environment, acquire the skills to explore scientific and human interrelationships in the global ecosystem, and pursue interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving. We offer two integrated majors in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, and a disciplinary track in Environmental Chemistry

The Environmental Science Major has the following goals:

The Environmental Science major prepares students to investigate the Earth system with a particular focus on how humans interact with the environment. Students acquire tools from multiple scientific disciplines to solve problems at the interface of society and the environment.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Student can articulate, measure/calculate, analyze, and model:
    • the dynamics of a complex system
    • the flows and transformations of energy and matter within and between each sphere in the Earth System
  • Students can utilize quantitative reasoning skills to address societally-relevant environmental problems
  • Students can critically analyze the ways in which scientific knowledge is gathered, as well as an appreciation for the historical and societal constructs in which it occurs
  • Students are able to disseminate scientific knowledge to multiple relevant audiences

The Environmental Studies Major has the following goals:

The Environmental Studies major prepares students to investigate the complexity of socio-ecological relationships. Students use approaches from multiple disciplines across the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences to pursue interdisciplinary inquiry and problem-solving. Students will be able to articulate the ways institutions, societies, and individuals respond to and shape environmental outcomes.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the major, students will be able to articulate the following:

  • How institutions, values, ideas, and power relations shape the relationships between humans and the biophysical environment
  • How current social, cultural, and ecological conditions are shaped by changes over time and across space
  • Possible pathways for more sustainable and just outcomes

Elective Tracks
Though you are not required to have a focus area for your major, many students find it useful to do so. Below are suggested elective tracks (Note that some of the following electives can also fulfill major requirements; classes cannot be double counted.)

  • Environmental Justice: EV274, EV276, EV282, SW220, EV375, EV301, EV342
  • Environmental Policy and Management: EV373, EV341, EV356, EV334, EV323, EV352, EV375, EV342, EV335, EV321
  • Environmental Humanities: EV281, EV282, EV255, EV285, EV273, EV261, EV361, PH303
  • Conservation Ecology: EV209; EV343, EV316, EV309, EV321


In The News

Fall 2023 Newsletter 

EV315 course in the Colorado SunA resurgence of grapes in southern Colorado is giving esoteric wines a spotlight 

Environmental Science and Environmental Studies Professors and Students win Colorado American Planning Association Award

Whales, From Above The photographer Sutton Lynch is documenting a dramatic turning point off the coast of Long Island — a resurgence of sea life after decades of depletion.

Assistant Professor Mike Angstadt published "Can Domestic Environmental Courts Implement International Environmental Law? A Framework for Institutional Analysis" in the journal Transnational Environmental Law (July 2023).

Associate Professor Amy Kohout (History) published her first book this year! Taking the Field: Soldiers, Nature, and Empire on American Frontiers (University of Nebraska, 2023) examines the intersection of ideas about nature and empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by tracing the ways soldiers in the U.S. Army made sense of the landscapes of their service in both the U.S. West and the Philippines. By following these imperial pathways back and forth across the Pacific, Kohout shows us how soldiers—through their writing, their labor, and all that they collected—played a critical role in shaping American ideas about both nature and empire, ideas that persist to the present.


Rikki Held ’23 (EV Science major) Wins Landmark Lawsuit Regarding Climate Change
On Monday, a Montana judge ruled in favor of young environmental activists led by Rikki Held ’23 who had raised concerns about the violation of their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment. They argued that state agencies were allowing fossil fuel development without adequately considering its impact on the climate.

This groundbreaking ruling stems from a unique trial, marking the first of its kind in the United States. It joins a limited set of global legal decisions that have established a governmental obligation to safeguard citizens from the consequences of climate change.

In this context, District Court Judge Kathy Seeley declared that the state's policy for assessing requests for fossil fuel permits was unconstitutional. This policy currently restricts agencies from evaluating the ramifications of greenhouse gas emissions.

Rikki Held ’23 was named to the 2023 TIME100 Next – a list recognizing rising leaders in health, climate, the arts – for her work as the lead plaintiff in Held v. State of Montana, which was the first constitutional and the first youth-led climate lawsuit to go to trial in the U.S. See her bio here 

Spring 2023 Newsletter 

Congratulations to EV seniors Olivia Coutre and Charlie Lynch who both recently had their research published! 

  • Coutre, O. (2023). Conjunctive Water Management Practices for the Edwards Aquifer, Texas.The Water Report 228: 11-21.
  • Lynch, C., and M. Ferasso (2023). The influence of a company’s inherent values on its sustainability: Evidence from a born-sustainable SME in the footwear industry. Cleaner and Responsible Consumption 9: 100124.

Fall 2022 Newsletter

Assistant Professor Mike Angstadt presented “Judicial Innovation and Decentralized Environmental Governance: Lessons from climate litigation” virtually to the October 2022 Toronto Conference on Earth System Governance. The initial findings were generated from research conducted in Spring 2022 with CC students Aidan Daly (’22), Will Funk (’22), Gillian Lasher, Evan Rao, and Ceilidh Shea (’22) and in collaboration with Dr. Hyeyoon Park (Lund University, Sweden). 

COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt! Here you will find media and student reports of our time abroad

Spring 2022 Newsletter

Fall 2021 Newsletter

Associate Professor Political Science, Director Environmental Studies Program Corina McKendry has co-edited a book titled “Urban Cascadia and the Pursuit of Environmental Justice.” Urban Cascadia and the Pursuit of Environmental Justice

book photo

Professor of Environmental Education Howard Drossman has received a lifetime achievement award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.






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