Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences Programs

As the human impact on the environment continues to grow, so does the need for trained professionals in environmental fields that integrate the biological, physical, and earth sciences. Students gain hands-on learning experiences both in and out of the classroom, especially in the form of student-faculty research collaborations or faculty-supervised research projects. They also conduct cutting-edge research in environmental studies, geography, marine science and science education. 

The Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences offers an undergraduate major in Environmental Systems and Sustainability Studies. The program has three tracks: Environmental Systems, Coastal Marine Systems, and Policy and Management. The program is focused on environmental problem solving in terrestrial and coastal marine settings.

The coastal marine systems track has a greater reliance on science and understanding the environmental science of the coastal marine environment. Approximately 40% of humanity lives within 60 miles of the coast. This is a critical environment that requires in-depth understanding of aquatic ecosystems and processes.

The Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences offers an undergraduate major in Environmental Systems and Sustainability Studies. The program has three tracks: Environmental Systems, Coastal Marine Systems, and Policy and Management. The program is focused on environmental problem solving in terrestrial and coastal marine settings.

The environmental systems track focuses on solving environmental problems that are essentially terrestrial in nature, the solutions to which require understanding the very complex interactions between human systems and natural systems. The types of problems that might be addressed would include water, food and climate change.

The B.A. in Geography allows for maximum flexibility for our students to explore other coursework in the context of a liberal arts education. We encourage students to supplement their BA in Geography with the completion of a minor (by advisement) which will allow students to apply disciplinary skills (e.g., multi-scalar analysis, geographical thinking, etc.) in an interdisciplinary context.

The BS in Geography with a concentration in Geographic Information Science and technology prepares students for employment and/or graduate school in the rapidly expanding geospatial technology sector. After completion of the geography core, students will take advanced coursework in Geographic Information Systems, Geospatial Analysis and Data Visualization, Remote Sensing and/or Field Techniques. This program has an applied focus and aims to engage students through hands-on projects using the latest geospatial technologies.

Study how drones (small unmanned aerial systems) are employed for geography, environmental sciences, journalism and other industries. This interdisciplinary minor prepares students with the fundamental knowledge, skills and experience in the technological, legal and ethical considerations and applications of drones in various fields.

This minor is suited for students who are interested in learning about emerging drone technologies and how they can be applied to professional settings. The minor complements environmental sciences, geography, journalism and communication programs.

The Minor in Environmental Studies consists of an interdisciplinary program that explores the range of contemporary environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, chemical pollution, agricultural and food practices, water resources, energy, and natural resource depletion. Issues are explored from a scientific point of view as well as from policy, economic, and social perspectives. The program develops critical thinking and research skills. A final research project focuses on developing credible solutions to local or regional environmental problems. The minor is often pursued by students majoring in biology, chemistry, earth science, and geography but is appropriate for majors in any field who have an interest in the environment.

Many students have expressed a desire to relate their major program of study to their concern for the environment. In response to this interest, the Department of Science Education and Environmental Studies offers a minor in environmental studies, which students may pursue in consultation with the Environmental Studies Coordinator and their major adviser. Students also may elect a freestanding minor in environmental studies in conjunction with any major, including a liberal studies major, or they may concentrate in environmental studies as part of a major in biology, chemistry, earth science, or geography.

The Geographic Information Science and Technology minor provides students with cutting-edge technical knowledge and skills using state-of-the-art information technology, such as geographic information systems (GIS), satellite imagery analysis, and global positioning systems (GPS), which are in high demand in business, government, and research platforms. Upon completion of the minor, students are well-positioned to enter the workforce or to pursue advanced degrees in geography or other relevant fields with spatial analysis skills and geographic data processing capabilities.

Courses in this minor that are being counted to a student's major (or other minor) do fulfill the class requirement for the Geographic Information Science and Technology minor, but do not count towards the total required credit hours of the minor. Relevant LEP courses can be used towards the course and credit hour requirements of this minor.

The Minor in Geography is intended to provide students is other majors and or Liberal Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies majors with an option to further their interests in geography. The program is designed for maximum flexibility while assuring a solid grounding in geographical theory and concepts.

The Minor in Marine Studies may be taken as a planned and structured sequence of courses in addition to a chosen major or as one of the minor programs in fulfillment of the requirements for the B.A. degree in Liberal Studies. Any undergraduate interested in the scientific and environmental as well as policy and management aspects of the coasts and ocean can participate in the 18-credit minor.

The Marine Studies curriculum has a focus on coastal and marine environmental issues, understanding the coastal and marine environment from a multidisciplinary scientific point of view, and understanding the associated resource management and policy issues. In the broadest sense, we wish to provide students with an in-depth perspective on the coasts and the world ocean as physical, ecological and human systems.

The marine studies minor is well suited for science and non-science majors interested in learning more about the Connecticut coastline, Long Island Sound, coastal and marine processes and environmental issues. Courses provide students an opportunity to learn science and its application to environmental problems using a "hands on" approach at field sites including marshes, estuaries, beaches, rocky intertidal zones, urban harbors, and regional aquaria. Students are encouraged to become involved in research projects, internships, and independent studies in their areas of interest.

The minor could prepare students for graduate study in marine affairs, or for entry-level jobs in coastal zone management, environmental planning, or maritime recreation including careers in local, state, and federal agencies dealing with the coastal and marine environment. In combination with a science major, the minor would help to prepare students for graduate studies in marine science. The program is also well suited for non-science majors with an interest in the oceans who are pursuing degrees in education, journalism, and pre-law.