Andrea Townsend's research is focused on understanding how land-use changes affect populations of wild birds.
Working closely with distinguished professors in biology, geosciences, government, economics, English and other disciplines, you will investigate environmental issues and attitudes with rigor and imagination — and emerge ready to make a difference. Research will be an essential part of your work, and you will find a broad range of research opportunities.
About the Major
Students in environmental studies develop a variety of tools and perspectives by doing coursework in several disciplines. After completing a series of foundation courses, majors select a more specific track to follow: humanities, social sciences or natural sciences.
As an academic field, environmental studies is only a few decades old, but the concept is ancient. We interact continuously with our surroundings, and we benefit deeply from understanding that interaction. But while the environment has always shaped human life and culture, we also shape the environment — and never more so than today, in an era of rapid technological change and population growth.
I loved that Hamilton's Environmental Studies Program was so interdisciplinary, meaning that it allowed me to take a lot of environmental humanities courses in the history or philosophy departments, for instance. Moreover, without the program's flexibility, I wouldn't have been able to choose art as my environmental studies focus and create a documentary for my senior project.
Eunice Lee — environmental studies and French major
Careers After Hamilton
- Corps Member, Teach for America
- Chair, Department of Rheumatology, Cleveland Clinic
- Trip Leader, Naturalists At Large
- Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
- Policy Coordinator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Clinical Research Coordinator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Program Assistant, Natural Resources Defense Council
Carbon Footprints and Sustainability 160S
What is a carbon footprint? Is it a useful concept? What are the scientific, social and economic implications of measuring environmental impacts through the billion dollar industry of sustainability accounting? In seeking to answer these questions, this course uses the concept of the carbon footprint as a lens through which to understand and critically assess scientific, economic practices and social discourses around sustainability as it is practiced across American and global society today. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Resilience and Collapse: Archaeological Perspectives on People and the Environment 218
Archaeology offers the opportunity to examine social-ecological systems over long time scales. This course explores different ways of conceptualizing these systems and considers major topics such as: decreasing biodiversity, traditional ecological knowledge, human-environment interactions related to food production, social responses to natural disasters and climate change, and resilience and collapse of past societies. We’ll engage with discussions on sustainability and our ecological impact on the environment.View All Courses
Gender and Environment 255
The theoretical, historical and material links between gender and the natural world. Through a study of contemporary and historical social movements, this course explores the intersections of labor, gender, and environment in contemporary and historical social movements. An examination of women’s activism around paid and unpaid labor; the gendered work of organizing; the caretaking and emotional work of women, queer and gender-nonconforming people in environmental movements; and ideas and realities of mothering. The course will include an engagement with art, through the exhibit at the Wellin Museum.View All Courses
Introduction to Environmental Politics 285S
An overview of environmental politics, domestic and global. Topics include the environmental movement and its history and values, anti-environmentalism, environmental policy analysis, the relation between environmental science and politics, the domestic and international environmental policy processes, the North-South debate, globalization, race and environmental justice, and the implications of environmental politics for liberal democracy.View All Courses
Seminar on Climate Risk and Resilience 305F
An exploration of our scientific understanding of the risks of climate change. Focused on the primary scientific literature, this course covers risk and vulnerability assessments, climate modeling and scenario development, remote sensing and observational data interpretation, critical thinking about scientific articles, and use of scientific evidence to understand the risks of extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other manifestations of anthropogenic climate change. Discussions will emphasize how climate science informs how we can make society more resilient to climate risks. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning. Proseminar.View All Courses
Research and Discovery
Toward a Sustainable Future
Research and Discovery
Historical Imagery Offers Clues to Utica’s Evolution
As a research assistant for Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Heather Kropp, Claire Williams '25 is helping to produce historical spatial data sets and historical maps of Utica, which will be accessible to researchers and community members interested in how the Utica environment has changed over decades.
Research and Discovery
Benson ’23 Sails the High SEAs
Emily Benson ’23 spent the fall semester with the Sea Education Association (SEA) program studying coral reef ecology. She sailed aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer through the Caribbean beginning and ending in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.