Majors

Overview

ENVS students choose to pursue either a BS in environmental science with a focus on the natural sciences or a BA in environmental studies with a focus on the social sciences and humanities. The core requirements common to both majors provide a strong, interdisciplinary background in the environmental and social aspects of our changing world. All ENVS students are encouraged to choose their elective courses with care in consultation with their advisor to develop a focus in a particular environmental issue or disciplinary perspective or to explore different topics of relevance to their future career.

Two important components of the ENVS majors provide students with the experiences they need to make informed career choices and to contribute effectively to environmental problem-solving. The first is the Applied Experience which involves at least 80 hours of environmental or sustainability-related work as an intern, volunteer, or employee of an organization such as a private company, non-profit organization, or government agency. The goal is for students to acquire hands-on experience working in the environmental field to enhance their skill set and explore career options.

The second key requirement is the Senior Capstone Experience which involves completion of a one-semester independent research project or equivalent scholarly endeavor in the fall of the senior year. To balance the breadth of the multidisciplinary course requirements, students completing the experience develop a project with depth that requires them to  develop expertise in a particular topic or skill under the guidance of a JHU faculty research advisor. The senior class also takes a Senior Seminar in which they share their research experiences, discuss current events, and explore career pathways with guidance from faculty and career counselors from the JHU Life Design Lab.

To further enhance the students’ perspective of the global nature of environmental issues and the differences in world views of different cultures, students are encouraged to include a study abroad experience in their university education.

Requirements

Completion of the Environmental Science major typically requires 72-77.5 credits. Completion of the environmental studies major typically requires 65-67.5 credits. Both majors share a series of core courses, additional requirements in the natural or social sciences, plus electives in the student’s area of interest. All courses must be taken for a letter grade, except for AS.271.509 Applied Experience which is graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Students must receive a grade of C- or better to apply courses toward the major. Full program requirements may be downloaded from the sidebar.

See a list of all required courses on the Courses page.

Honors in the Major

  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in the courses taken to fulfill the ENVS major requirements.
  • Successfully complete 3 credits of Senior Thesis beyond the senior capstone experience involving an environmental or sustainability-related research project or other comparable scholarly endeavor.
  • Earn a rating of good or excellent on the final product of the thesis, as determined by the faculty research advisor.
  • Present the results of the thesis orally in an appropriate JHU department.

The Office of Academic Advising has additional information about other types of honors that can be earned.

Learning Goals

Graduates of the ENVS program will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Explain the fundamental principles and concepts of the natural, social sciences, and humanities that underlie issues of global environmental change and sustainability.
  2. Integrate learning and perspectives from multiple disciplines to address environmental issues.
  3. Investigate and solve problems through the collection and analysis of data.
  4. Critique the underlying assumptions, evidence, and arguments made by others.
  5. Communicate effectively about environmental issues visually, orally, and in writing.
  6. Collaborate productively with community partners on an environmental problem of local significance.
  7. Work effectively as a member of a team.