• Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Environmental Studies?

    Environmental Studies (ES) is a general term that describes any number of approaches to the study of the relationships between humans and the natural environment. Areas of study can include almost every traditional academic field, from the physical sciences to business to social sciences to the arts. Regardless of your interests, the Environmental Studies major will stress:

    • framing and solving real world problems, leading to interdisciplinary thinking;
    • using a comparative approach by dealing with problems from different disciplinary perspectives;
    • having collaborative, rather than competitive interactions with fellow students to simulate real world conditions.

    How does Environmental Studies differ from a major in a traditional discipline?

    The typical college major leads a student to specialize in a particular field. The ES major permits a student to obtain broader, more interdisciplinary training along with in-depth study in an area of the student's choice. The Environmental Studies major emphasizes relationships among specialties and understanding multiple perspectives.

    What is the difference between Environmental Studies and Environmental Science?

    Environmental Science is one part of the larger field of Environmental Studies. While all Environmental Studies majors need some science background, students may focus their studies on the social sciences, humanities, or fine arts. Hamline does not offer a specific Environmental Science degree. See advising for more information about the ways to structure your curriculum to around Environmental Sciences.

    Is Environmental Studies only for environmentalists?

    This is not an Environmentalist program. Our goal is not to teach particular 'Environmental' or 'green' attitudes; it is to expose you to a variety of viewpoints and teach you how to understand, analyze, and compare different approaches to issues. Students must be willing to consider new ideas and viewpoints different from their own. Just as our Religion Department does not try to convert you to a particular religion, the ES major is not designed to promote a particular viewpoint.

    Can I major in Environmental Studies and another discipline at the same time?

    Hamline curriculum rules make it very difficult to double major in ES and another discipline.

    Why is interdisciplinary study so important?

    In the real world, people with different specialties must work together to solve problems. Individuals who can understand problems from multiple perspectives and who can communicate with different constituencies are valuable commodities in today's job market. Interdisciplinary study, a central part of the ES major, provides opportunities for learning these skills.

    Speaking of jobs, what kind of job can I get with an Environmental Studies major?

    As with any major, your success in the job market depends primarily on your individual skills and desire to succeed. The kind of job you get will depend on your specific area of interest and how well you have developed the thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills necessary to be successful. Also keep in mind that the typical person changes jobs at least five times during his or her lifetime; rapid changes in society mean that the environmentally-related jobs you will be pursuing fifteen years from now probably don't exist yet.