Analyze and think critically about environmental issues

Local and global societies face an array of environmental problems, from biodiversity loss to climate change to various types of pollution. To tackle these problems, future leaders need to understand the science behind the issues as well as the societal context in which they occur.


The Environmental Sciences and Studies (ESS) major provides students the knowledge and skills to become these future leaders through two major options. The general Environmental Studies major exposes students to environmental issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, while the Environmental Studies major with an emphasis in science allows students to focus primarily on the natural and physical science aspects of today’s environmental problems. Both major curricula integrate Franklin’s Academic Travel program, offer opportunities to pursue independent research, incorporate real-world experience, and encourage majors to study abroad.In particular, Franklin’s affiliation with the School for Field Studies (SFS - allows ESS students to study at one of the SFS sites during a summer or semester and receive major credit. Both major programs prepare students for careers in government, non-profit conservation, consulting, as well as for graduate degree programs.



Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies major gives students an interdisciplinary background and enables them to think critically about, analyze, and understand today's environmental issues. In this major, students receive a broad overview of environmental issues that includes environmental science, the social sciences, and humanities. Students take a core set of fundamental courses and then tailor a set of broad upper-level electives that reflects the students' specific interests.

View Requirements

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies major gives students an interdisciplinary background and enables them to think critically about, analyze, and understand today’s environmental issues. In this major, students receive a broad overview of environmental issues that includes environmental science, the social sciences, and humanities. Students take a core set of fundamental courses and then tailor a set of broad upper-level electives that reflects the students’ specific interests.

Major Requirements (46 Credits)

Foundation Courses (17 credits)
BIO 101 Introduction to Biology: Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology

An introduction to the biological sciences. Topics include the principles of genetics, evolutionary theory, ecology, and conservation biology. Students enrolling in this course must enroll in the parallel laboratory section BIO 101L.

BIO 101L Laboratory to Introduction to Biology: Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology

The laboratory course parallels the topics in BIO 101 and provides lab-based investigations of the material covered in BIO 101. Students must register for both BIO 101 and the lab section concurrently. Students who have previously taken BIO 101 and only need the lab credit should discuss this possibility with their advisor and the class professor.

ENV 200 Understanding Environmental Issues

This case study based course serves as the bridge experience for students completing their introductory course requirements for the ESS major or the ENV minor and who are now moving into the upper-level courses (However it is open to all interested students meeting the prerequisite). Through detailed examination of several case studies at the local, regional, and global levels, students synthesize material from introductory level courses to explore the interdisciplinary nature of today’s environmental issues. They examine what different disciplines offer to our understanding of and attempt to solve these issues.

MAT 201 Introduction to Statistics

This computer-based course presents the main concepts in Statistics: the concept of random variables, frequency, and probability distributions, variance and standard deviation, kurtosis and skewness, probability rules, Bayes theorem, and posterior probabilities. Important statistical methods like Contingency analysis, ANOVA, Correlation analysis and Regression Analysis are introduced and their algorithms are fully explained. The most important probability distributions are introduced: Binomial, Poisson, and Normal distribution, as well as the Chebyshev theorem for non-known distributions. Inferential statistics, sampling distributions, and confidence intervals are covered to introduce statistical model building and single linear regression. Active learning and algorithmic learning are stressed. Emphasis is put both on algorithms –methods and assumptions for their applications. Excel is used while calculators with STAT buttons are not allowed. Ultimately students are required to make a month-long research project, select the theoretical concept they want to test, perform a literature review, find real data from Internet databases or make their surveys, apply methods they studied in the class, and compare theoretical results with their findings. Research is done and presented in groups, papers are Individual. Selected SPSS or Excel Data Analysis examples are also provided.

One of the following:
BIO 102 Introduction to Biology: Cell and Animal Biology

This course provides students with an introduction to the biological sciences focused on the structure and functioning of animal cells and organs. Topics include basic biochemistry, cell structure and function, cellular respiration, and animal physiology. This course will emphasize human anatomy and physiology as model systems for understanding and contrasting key principles of animal biology. Students enrolling in this course must enroll in the parallel laboratory section BIO 102L.

BIO 102L Laboratory to Introduction to Biology: Cell and Animal Biology

The laboratory course parallels the topics in BIO 102 and provides lab-based investigations of the material covered in BIO 102. Students must register for both BIO 102 and the lab section concurrently. Students who have previously taken BIO 102 and only need the lab credit should discuss this possibility with their advisor and the class professor.

BIO 103 Introduction to Biology: Plant Science

The course introduces students to the fascinating world of plants and examines them from different biological levels: cell, organism, and communities. It also explores a variety of topics, including how they capture carbon from the atmosphere, how they have adapted to different environments across the globe, and how they reproduce. It also considers the important role they play in the world and human societies. Using the campus and the local area, students will study the plants nearby in various field activities that may take place outside of the regularly scheduled course period.

One additional 100-level science course (BIO, CHEM, ENV, GEO).
Lower-level Humanities and Social Sciences (9 credits)

Three of the following:

ECN 100 Principles of Macroeconomics

This entry-level course in economics covers the fundamentals of macroeconomics and is aimed at students who choose it as an elective or plan to continue their studies in economics. Together with ECN 101, it provides the necessary prerequisites for any other upper-level course in economics. The course is a program requirement for the majors in International Banking and Finance, International Economics, International Relations, International Management, and Environmental Science. It is also a prerequisite for Economics as a combined major as well as a minor. This course introduces students to the study of economics as a field of knowledge within the social sciences. In the first part, focus will be on the definition, the explanation, and the significance of national income, business fluctuations, the price level, and aggregate employment. In the second part, special attention is devoted to the functioning of a payment system based on currency and bank money. Finally, students will discuss the instruments and the functioning of public policy aimed to stabilize prices and maintain high levels of output and employment within the current macroeconomic context. Current economic news will be regularly scrutinized.

ECN 101 Principles of Microeconomics

This is an entry-level course in economics, covering fundamentals of microeconomics and aimed at students who choose it as an elective or plan to continue their studies in economics. This course helps students develop basic analytical skills in economics and microeconomics. It provides students with a basic understanding of the market system in advanced capitalist economies. It examines the logic of constrained choice with a focus on the economic behavior of individuals and organizations. After a theoretical analysis of the determinants and the interaction of supply and demand under competitive conditions, alternative market structures will be investigated, including monopolistic and oligopolistic forms. The course examines the conditions under which markets allocate resources efficiently and identifies causes of market failure and the appropriate government response. The introduction to the role of government includes its taxing and expenditure activities as well as regulatory policies.

COM 180 Public Speaking

This course introduces students to the basic theory and practice of public speaking. More than simply a required skill for class and/or professional presentations, public speaking has a long political tradition in many cultures both ancient and modern. It complements civic engagement within the public sphere and plays a central role in deliberative political participation. Since the emergence of the Internet, public speaking has also become increasingly important in digital form. From a theoretical point of view, this course considers both the historical role of public speaking as it relates to socio-political change and its ongoing necessity today within global processes. From a practical point of view, students will become familiar with various rhetorical methods and concepts involved in public speaking, learn how to analyze and critically understand actual speeches, and practice public speaking in a variety of contexts. Students should leave the course with a better understanding of both the theory and practice of public speak-ing, particularly with a view towards global social engagement.

HIS 104 Global History I: Traditions, Encounters, and Adaptation from the Stone Age to the 16th Century

This course is an introduction to themes and trends in the political, economic, cultural, and social, history of pre-modern societies in global perspective. It covers the development of civilizations in Eurasia, Africa and the Americas from the Neolithic Revolution to the ''Columbian Exchange'' with emphasis on the emergence and diffusion of religious and political institutions, the role of the environmental context, as well as the impact of encounters between human societies. Students are introduced to the historiography of empire and global history/globalization, and attention is devoted to the reading and analysis of different categories of primary sources.

HIS 105 Global History II: Globalization, the Emergence of the Modern State, and Coping with Change

This course is an introduction to themes and trends in the political, economic, cultural, and social history of modern societies in global perspective. It covers the development of societies in Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas from the ''Columbian Exchange'' to the twenty-first century with emphasis on the development of institutions within their changing cultural, political, and environmental context, as well as the impact of encounters between human societies. Students are introduced to the historiography of globalization and of the modern state. Further attention is devoted to the analysis of different categories of primary sources. (It is recommended that HIS 104 be taken prior to HIS 105).

LC 110 Reading Cultures: Approaches to Cultural Studies

This course has two primary goals: to introduce students to the history and theoretical writings of various strands of cultural studies, and to acquaint them with some of the intersecting axes - race, class and gender - that energize the field. Close attention will be paid to issues such as the shaping of identity, forms of representation, the production, consumption and distribution of cultural goods, and the construction of knowledge and power in a host of cultural practices and cultural institutions.

POL 100 Introduction to Political Science

Basic concepts of the discipline are discussed in this class with a focus on the evolution of the state and the role of the individual from historical, ideological, and comparative perspectives.

POL 101 Introduction to International Relations

This course provides the basic analytic tools necessary for the understanding of international relations. After a brief introduction to the realist and liberal approaches to the study of international relations, the course covers various fundamental concepts, such as national power, foreign policy, conflict, political economy, international trade, and international organizations.

SJS 100 Sustainability and Social Justice: Ethics, Equality, and Environments

One of the fundamental questions we all face today is how to counter the urgent challenges posed by global climate change and unequal economic development. Questions coalescing around notions of ethics, justice, equality, and human rights intersect with questions of how to shape a culturally and environmentally sustainable world. Exploring a wide range of theoretical and practical perspectives on Sustainability, Social Justice and Ethics, this cross-disciplinary, introductory course will give students multiple disciplinary frameworks to think critically and productively about the intersections between the social and the natural worlds. The course provides the gateway to the program in Social Justice and Sustainability (SJS).

Upper-level Science Courses (6 credits)

Two of the following:

BIO 210T Alpine Ecosystems

This course examines the ecology and the management of the European Alps. It introduces students to the natural history and functions of these important ecosystems. It examines how the climate, fauna, flora, and landscapes have interacted and evolved over time. Further, it provides students an overview of threats facing these systems today, such as climate change, human use, and non-native species. It introduces students to research methods used to study mountain environments and impacts of management activities. The travel portion will visit sites in the Central and Western Alps to study natural environments in situ and connect students with local researchers and organizations active in the field. Students will spend significant time outdoors in the field in a variety of weather. Access to some sites will require moderate amounts of hiking in mountainous terrain. Previous coursework in biology or environmental science encouraged.

ENV 210 Natural Disasters, Catastrophes, and the Environment

As long as humans have walked the planet, they have faced dangers from the environment, such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanoes. Today's technology creates new possibilities for disasters, including climate change, killer smog, and nuclear accidents. Students in this course will study the science behind natural disasters as well as examine society's preparedness for and response to these problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. It will look at both historical and recent events and consider what disasters await us in the future. Students who have already taken SCI 110 must obtain permission to enroll.

ENV 230T Freshwater Conservation

This course explores various aspects of rivers, freshwater lakes, and groundwater aquifers. It provides an introduction to the distinct ecology of these three freshwater systems, their human uses, different approaches to their conservation, possibilities for restoration of degraded systems, and a look at the role that lakes and rivers play in international relationships. During Academic Travel, the class will visit various freshwater systems and will also practice field data collection techniques. Tentatively, the travel will take place in North-East Italy and Slovenia. This course may also include shorter day-trips to local points of interests.

ENV 250 Quantitative Methods for Environmental Science

The course exposes students to a range of quantitative methods used in the environmental sciences. It will introduce students to the science of geographic information systems (GIS) and their use in understanding and analyzing environmental issues. Students will gain hands-on experience with GIS software. This course will also examine statistical methods commonly applied in quantitative environmental research. It assumes students already possess a background in statistics and environmental science.

ENV 280T Managing the New Zealand Environment

This course examines the management of environmental resources in New Zealand and the discourse of sustainability from the island's perspective. It will focus on the challenge of conserving New Zealand's flora and fauna, as well as New Zealand's aggressive management of the non-native species that have arrived since human settlement. It will examine attempts to restore natural habitats through visits to the several restoration projects, and to Christchurch to study how environmental concerns are being incorporated into the city's recovery from the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The course will also scrutinize the effects of tourism on the New Zealand environment and the opportunities that tourism also present. Lastly, the course will explore how the Maori culture influences environmental management in the country. (Previous coursework in environmental studies recommended.)

ENV 282T Tourism and the Environment: Iceland

This course explores the environmental impacts of tourism and travel. It examines the problems generated by travelers as they journey from home locations to travel destinations and as they participate in activities at those destinations. It focuses on issues of air pollution, biodiversity, climate change, resource use, and waste management. It also considers the potential for positive impacts from tourism, examining how tourism can contribute to improved management of environmental resources. The course engages students with the ethics of responsible travel and examines various attempts to mitigate problems through different forms of sustainable tourism, policies, and tools (e.g. carbon offsets and eco-labels). The course includes a 12-day field experience in Iceland where students will examine first-hand the problems and potentials generated by that country's rapid increase in tourism. Students will also meet with stakeholders in the Icelandic tourism industry to discuss local and national responses to the increased levels of tourism. (This course carries a supplemental fee, to be determined).

ENV 350 Environmental Management in Switzerland

Serving as an introduction to environmental management in Switzerland, this course draws from case studies and current examples. Students learn how the Swiss manage and exploit forests, agricultural areas, and aquatic systems. Students further explore the cultural and economic importance of natural resources and wildlife in Switzerland, the policies behind their protection and use, and the challenges Switzerland faces in managing them. The course includes multiple required trips to local points of interest including a weekend field-trip.

ENV 360 Research Methods in Environmental Sciences

This course integrates field, laboratory, computing, and statistical methodologies commonly employed in environmental sampling. The course will also emphasize professional presentation and scientific report writing skills. It includes a mandatory weekend field trip, as well as local field trips.

ENV 372 Sustainability Science

This seminar-style course will examine the emergent field of sustainability as well as the science it employs to understand and manage the interactions between human society and the natural world. It will trace the development of our understanding of sustainability and its importance in the contemporary world. It will examine key processes driving global change in areas such as biodiversity, climate, energy use, pollution, population growth, public health, and urbanization, as well as provide an overview of the tools we use to measure sustainability. Lastly, it will explore some of the innovative approaches people are employing to address contemporary problems and effect a transition to a more sustainable society. Students in the course will apply their learning in a project that develops a solution for a particular sustainability problem on campus, locally, or somewhere on the globe.

ENV 399 Research in Environmental Studies

The research project is an opportunity for the student to pursue independent research either at Franklin or with an approved external partner. May be used in preparation for ENV 499, the senior research project or thesis.

Upper-level Humanities and Social Sciences (12 credits)

Four of the following:

AHT 361 The Visual Culture of Disaster

The destruction of Pompeii after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the plague, the Sack of Rome, Hiroshima, and 9/11 are some examples with which The Visual Culture of Disaster will examine the impact of natural and man-made catastrophes on the visual world. How have painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, and filmmakers come to terms with these disasters? Did the devastation have a tabula rasa effect, meaning in what manner did it destroy an existing and produce a new visual culture? In addition to the historical perspective, the course will place a focus on the contemporary world. It will investigate how real-time media, such as television, has influenced the visual culture of disaster; and it will probe how art can contribute to the prevention of disaster by looking at the iconographies and aesthetics of sustainable energies - sun, wind, and water - and to what extent they have been incorporated in contemporary architecture, art, and film.

CLCS 250 Ecocritical Approaches to Film

This course approaches film from an ecocritical perspective to explore how the medium of film articulates relations between the environment and human rights. In recent decades, scholars have increasingly examined how film represents ecological issues and humans' involvement with those issues, particularly with regards to environmental disaster and climate change. The course aims to make students familiar with those debates by examining a variety of film genres -- blockbuster, documentary, animation, among others -- to offer a survey in reading film ecocritically, from a human rights’ perspective. Students will gain experience in analyzing films as texts and in applying ecocritical theory to those films and the ethical issues surrounding them, from production to narrative, and distribution to reception. Screenings, theoretical readings, class discussion, video-making and writing assignments will help students develop a critical awareness of how film tells the story of our complex relation with the environment against the backdrop of contemporary human rights regimes.

CLCS 320 Culture, Class, Cuisine: Questions of Taste

Food carries social, symbolic, and political-economic meaning that differs across cultures, and hence cuisine represents a focal point for studying divergent cultural practices. In that sense, this class examines the sociological, anthropological, literary, and cultural dimensions of food. The class will explore people's relationship to food with regard to the environment, gender roles, and social hierarchy, from French haute cuisine to the fast food phenomenon.

CLCS 330 The Politics of Mobility: Exile and Immigration

Beginning with the post-colonial theory of Edward Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, this class will examine the ideas of exile and immigration in a colonial and post-colonial context. This course will explore exile vs. expatriatism, language and power, movement across cultures, narrative agency and authority, and voices in the new immigrant narrative. By approaching the topic from a comparative perspective, students will be exposed to a polyphony of voices and the variety of experiences associated with exile and the construction of identity. Students will examine, in particular, the variations on the autobiographical form in the context of this experience.(This writing-intensive course counts towards the Academic Writing requirements).

CLCS 372 Tales of Catastrophe

The cultural debris that results from political and natural catastrophes is made up of narratives that contain both implosion and creation, wreckage and renewal. In that sense disasters mark pivotal turning points in the way we conceptualize and understand human phenomena and cultural processes in a number of disciplinary perspectives from psychoanalysis to literature, from environmental science to religion and from ethics to aesthetics. Students will read the narrative fallout in fiction, science, and film that emanate from distinct disaster zones ranging from the petrified texture of Pompeii to the generative force field of ground zero.

COM 301 Globalization and Media

This course examines media in the context of globalization. Most broadly, students will explore what constitutes globalization, how globalization has been facilitated and articulated by media, how media have been shaped by the processes of globalization, and perhaps most significantly, the social implications of these complex and varied processes on politics, international relations, advocacy and cultural flows. In order to map this terrain, students will survey the major theories that constitute this dynamic area of study.

COM 310 Issues in Journalism

This course uses key topics, themes and trends in journalism to explore the foundations and functions of the press, learn techniques of gathering and writing news, discuss the shifting terrain of journalism, and reflect upon the status and functions of journalism in different cultural contexts. As a writing-intensive course, this course is designed to help students produce high quality written work through a process of drafting, workshopping and editing. Written work may include journalistic reviews, letters to the editor, pitches to the editor and interviews.

COM 352 Environmental Discourses

This course examines the distinct modes of representation that have come to color how we think and act upon the natural world. Given the increasing importance of the environment in local, national, and global politics, this course is invested in helping students understand the significance of language in creating, defining, mitigating, and negotiating environmental issues and controversies. During the course of the semester, students will investigate (1) the socio-cultural history of environmental discourse, (2) the dominant discursive constructions of the environment, (3) the implications of these on, and the status of, contemporary environmental politics and advocacy, and (4) the importance of studying environmental discourse from a cross-cultural perspective. In order to explore the ideologies and attitudes at the heart of varying environmental discourses, students will analyze texts from various disciplines and spheres (e.g. political, scientific, activist, and popular), genres (e.g. films, books, newspaper articles, image events, policy briefs, and speeches) and rhetorical strategies (e.g. metaphors, tropes, and ideographs).

ECN 256 Managerial Economics (Intermediate Microeconomics)

This intermediate-level course in microeconomics builds upon the introductory two-semester sequence and, in conjunction with ECN 225, prepares students to upper-level economics. It is a program requirement for the majors in International Banking and Finance and International Economics, as well as for Economics as a combined major. It is also one of the options towards Economics as a minor. This course completes the theoretical background on microeconomics and introduces students to more advanced topics, with an emphasis on the practical relevance and application of theory. The essence of the course is, in particular, the study of the interaction between rational individual decision-making (e.g. consumers, firms, the government) and the working of economic institutions like markets, regulation and social rules. Topics covered include an introduction to game theory, strategic behavior and entry deterrence; analysis of technological change; the internal organization of the firm; economic efficiency; public goods, externalities and information; government and business.

ECN 303 Development Economics

The course will introduce students to the evolution of theory and practice in economic development in three stages. First, models of economic growth and development including work by Harrod-Domar, Robert Solow, Arthur Lewis, and Michael Kremer are compared to provide students with a feeling for how economists have conceived of the development process. The class then proceeds to examine particular development issues such as population growth, stagnant agriculture, environmental degradation, illiteracy, gender disparities, and rapid urbanization to understand how these dynamics reinforce poverty and deprivation. In the final stage, students will read work by supporters as well as critics of international development assistance and use the knowledge and perspective they have gained thus far to independently evaluate efficacy of a specific development intervention.

ECN 330T Neo-liberal India: Globalization and Development

India has often been described as one of the developing countries that has achieved considerable economic success by following a neo-liberal policy regime in the past twenty years. However, over the last two years, India’s growth has stagnated. Moreo-ver, a substantial part of the population continues to live below the poverty line and lack access to basic services like clean water, health care, education etc. This course has been designed to use India as a case study to investigate the impact of globaliza-tion on development and will introduce students to different facets of globalization and allow students to understand the complicated interrelations between globaliza-tion and development. Students will study about labor reforms, environmental sus-tainability, politics of land grab, agricultural policies, urbanization-all within the framework of political economy of globalization and economic development. Students will be introduced to the flourishing IT and financial service sector, one of the main beneficiaries of globalization and the impact these sectors have had on India’s grow-ing middle class. Students will then be introduced to the problems and issues faced in the semi urban regions of the country. This travel course will allow students to ob-serve and recognize the causes of uneven growth and the consequent impact on peo-ple’s standards of living.

ECN 331T Sustainable Economic Development

Traditionally, efficiency has been given priority over sustainability in orthodox economics. With the declaration of Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, the idea of sustainability has become central in mainstream economic and policy discussions, thereby challenging many fundamental building blocks of economics. This course will examine the different approaches used in economics to study sustainability within the context of economic development. This will include both mainstream approach that uses neoclassical assumptions of market clearing and the rational choice theory and non-mainstream schools of thoughts that include Marxian economics, Ecological economics and Institutional economics. The course will then explore the relationships between sustainability and various economic and political issues like employment generation, property and resource rights, mode of production, economic growth and poverty. The aim of this course is to provide tools to students that will allow them to critically examine the various approaches to sustainable development. A grade of at least C is highly recommended in the prequisite ECN 100. This Academic Travel course carries a supplemental fee, to be announced prior to registration.

ECN 341 International Trade

This course will introduce students to the major theories and tools used in the study of international trade. Particular attention will be paid to deriving, analyzing, and assessing the empirical evidence for and against the Ricardian and Heckscher-Ohlin conceptions of comparative advantage, the Stolper-Samuelson Factor-Price Equalization Theorem, and New Trade Theories based on assumptions of imperfect competition. Students will become skilled at using a variety of graphical devices including offer curves to describe the effect which variations in government policy, factor dynamics, country size, technology, tastes, and transport costs will have on the terms of as well as the magnitude and distribution of the gains from trade. (With professor permission, students may take this course with no ECN 256 prerequisite.)

ECN 355 Political Economy: Theories and Issues

This course is designed to introduce students to the foundations of political economy. In this course, students will study the economic system from a critical, historical and interdisciplinary perspective and in doing so will gain a greater understanding of our current economic system. Students will learn about different theories in political economy and how these theories help us understand the transformation of a pre capitalist system to a capitalist system. Some of the schools of thoughts that students will be introduced to are Institutional, Marxian, Post-Keynesian and Austrian. This course will also draw from these various theories and examine their implications for different issues that arise from the current economic formation. Some of the issues that will be considered in this course are social and economic inequality, gender inequality, the relationship of the economic sphere to the ecology, power relations and conflict in modern society, political economy of poverty and uneven development. (This writing intensive course counts towards the Academic Writing requirements).

ENV 220 Ecocritical Approaches to Literature

This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to environmental literary criticism, more commonly known since the 1990s as ''ecocriticism.'' As a theoretical approach to literature, eco-criticism provides a secondary lens through which to analyze primary sources; an eco-critical approach focuses on how these primary sources have ''constructed'' our relationship to the natural world through writing and narrative. In applying eco-critical theory to a selection of primary fiction, students will examine some of the major environmental themes found in literature, among others: land use, speciesism, climate change, environmental apocalypse, and the post-human. Students will explore these themes using some of the basic critical tools and methodologies of ecocriticism, not only to explore how authors write about the environment, but also to examine how the environment itself is constructed through aesthetic discourse. Students should leave the course with improved critical environmental literacy skills that will enable interdisciplinary reflection about our interactions with the natural environment.

ENV 498 Internship in Environmental Studies

This course provides credit for a professional experience in the environmental field in a public, private, or non-profit organization anywhere in the world. Throughout the internship period, the student should ensure close on-site supervision. Students should follow guidelines laid out in Franklin’s Internship Handbook and the ENV 498 syllabus.

ENV 499 Senior Research Project in Environmental Studies

The research project is an opportunity for the student to pursue independent research or a professional project on a topic related to the student's course of study. Depending on the student's career path, the research can be classified either as a research project or a thesis.

HIS 202T History of Switzerland

Switzerland can be seen as a striking exception to the idea of a modern Western nation state: one of the oldest republics, with four official languages, neutral by tradition with at the same time a strong military tradition, a direct democracy and nevertheless one of the most stable states in the world. Hence, it has convincingly been called a ''country of minorities'' or just ''an exception''. This course analyzes the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Switzerland as a coherent and significant part of the history of medieval and modern Europe, with visits to places such as Bern, Basel, Schwyz, St. Gallen, and Zurich. Key themes covered include the founding of the Swiss Confederation in the thirteenth century, the initiation of the Swiss Reformation by Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century, the introduction of the federal government in the nineteenth century, and the present day polemics of immigration and direct democracy. Local day trips to the medieval Ticinese towns of Riva San Vitale and Mendrisio round out the course.

HIS 325 Human Rights in History

The idea of universal, inalienable rights has become one of the most influential concepts in modern history. Human Rights have become an inspiration to oppressed groups and individuals around the globe, a rallying cry for a global civil society, and also a controversial source of legitimation for political and military interventions. The course asks about the reasons for the stellar rise of the concept of Human Rights from ''nonsense on stilts'' (Jeremy Bentham) to such a powerful driving force in contemporary politics. Also, it asks whether Human Rights are the result of a specifically European or Western or Christian legacy. Students in this course will discuss some key thinkers from the Enlightenment to the present within their historical contexts, and analyze not only the philosophical and theoretical framework for Human Rights as a factor in history, but also have a closer look into the consequences of Human Rights influenced politics in general.

HIS 355 The World and the West in the Long 19th Century

The world today has been shaped to a large extent by Europe and America in the long nineteenth century between the Enlightenment and the First World War. During this period dramatic changes in social, economic, political and cultural ideas and institutions were related to changes in how people in the West conceptualized the world around them. Although Europeans and Americans exerted global influence through industrialization and imperialism, in turn they were influenced by people beyond the West from Africa to the Far East. Thus globalization is not a recent phenomenon. With emphasis on Christopher Bayly's recent book The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons, among other works, this course will focus on major themes in the study of modernity such as political ideologies and the roles of science and religion as related to the development of the idea of ''Europe'' or ''the West'' with special reference to the British colonies, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and Japan. It is intended to provide not only a broad view of a crucial period in modern history but also a functional knowledge of themes and concepts necessary for understanding the contemporary world. Students read primary as well as secondary sources, and attention is devoted to methodological considerations and recent trends in scholarship.

POL 281T Sustainable Development in Africa: Politics, Prospects, and Practice

This interdisciplinary course explores the politics and practice of sustainable development in Africa (destination countries may change). Through a series of on-site explorations in the host countries, problem-based exercises, service learning and presentations by local university professors, public policy makers (to include NGOs) and experts in sustainable development, students will learn about the political, social, economic, environmental and cultural relationships that encompass the important field of sustainable development. Students will come to better understand how each country approaches sustainable development and natural resource management through participation in on-site expeditions and visits. Student research projects will include team-based case studies in the areas of sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, water and natural resource management, and sustainable housing in light of global environmental issues such as deforestation, water resource and human habitat degradation, threats to biodiversity, and conventional models of development. Please note: The field portion of the course will include traveling in overland vehicles with experienced guides. Accommodations will be in either backpacker lodges (dormitory style beds) or in safari tents at campgrounds with hot showers and toilets.

POL 310 International Law

This lecture-seminar course introduces students to the main elements of international law. The historical origins of the system, the sources of the law, the importance of territory, jurisdiction, recognition, treaties, claims and nationality, are studied both in theory and in applications. The examination of cases is emphasized.

POL 321 International Organization

The focus of this course is the development of supra-national and international agencies and entities. The United Nations, the European Union, the IMF, the World Bank, trading blocs, and other specialized agencies are studied as examples-in light of increasing economic interdependence in the international system.

POL 376 International Environmental Politics

It has become increasingly apparent in recent years that environmental problems have been proliferating and nation-states are not able to cope with them individually. International cooperation is essential to finding and applying solutions. This course will first examine the nature and the sources of the main environmental problems affecting the lives of nations, such as climate change and its effects, including the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect, acid rain, desertification, pollution, disposal of radioactive and chemical waste material, etc. Students will investigate the environmental problems connected to trade globalization and the question of sustainable development and will study how states have tried to deal with these problems and the role of international organizations such as the UN and the EU and non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace, etc. The effectiveness of international treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the problems in their application will also be examined.

POL 377 International Political Economy

The interplay between political and economic issues has become central to the study of international relations in the modern world. This course will examine the traditional theoretical foundations of International Political Economy (the views of the liberals, the Marxists, the nationalists, etc.) and their applicability to today's world. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, the course will look at both historical background and present-day issues and conditions. The problems of development and North-South relations and the question of sustainability will be examined. International trade issues, such as the relations between trade globalization and environmental and human rights concerns and the role of institutions such as, the WTO, the IMF and G8 meetings will be studied. Finally the course will also consider new problem areas such as the internet and its control and e-commerce and the emerging role of non-governmental organizations.(Formerly POL 277. Students cannot earn credit for both POL 277 and POL 377.)

POL 378 International Politics of Energy and Sustainability

The politics of energy play a fundamental role in economic processes, growth and development. Energy crises in the recent past have demonstrated very clearly that no government can afford to ignore energy issues. For that matter, guaranteeing access to energy resources at reasonable costs is of such importance today that it has also become a strategic concern directly linked to national security. This course will examine the supply, the availability, the distribution and the use of energy resources internationally and the policies that states adopt to try to assure that their needs will be met. Students will also study alternative energy sources beyond the traditional reliance on hydrocarbon fuels and how states and international organizations try to develop and promote their use. The close relations of energy policies to environmental questions and the role of non-governmental organizations in these questions will also be considered. Finally, the role of international organizations such as the OPEC, the International Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency will also be analyzed. (Formerly POL 278. Students cannot earn credit for both POL 278 and POL 378.)

Note: Prerequisites may be required for courses outside of the major.

Capstone Course (3 credits)
ENV 497 Senior Capstone

This course serves as the capstone course for students in the Environmental Sciences and Studies program. Students synthesize the material from the courses in the major and demonstrate their ability to apply knowledge this knowledge to contemporary environmental issues. Junior status required


Chair of the Academic Division of Environment, Math, Psychology and Health

Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-MadisonM.E.M. Duke UniversityB.A. Duke University

Office: Villa, North Campus, Loft
Phone: +41 91 986 36 50

Brack Hale

Associate Professor, Biology and Environmental SciencesDepartment Chair, Environmental Sciences and Studies

Ph.D. Montana State University, United StatesM.S. Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland

Office: Villa, North Campus, Loft  
Phone: +41 91 986 36 62

Patrick Della Croce