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Program in Environmental Studies

Director

Lars O. Hedin

Executive Committee

Steven L. Bernasek, Chemistry 

Kelly K. Caylor, Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Lars O. Hedin, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton Environmental Institute 

Emmanuel H. Kreike, History 

Michael Oppenheimer, Woodrow Wilson School, Geosciences 

Catherine A. Peters, Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Bess B. Ward, Geosciences 

David S. Wilcove, Woodrow Wilson School, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 


The Program in Environmental Studies is a multidisciplinary forum for the study of scientific, political, humanistic, and technological aspects of environmental problems. Through this program, students majoring in any discipline can pursue their interests in the environment and receive a certificate by designing and completing their own course of study.

The program offers four core survey courses, ENV 201, ENV 202, ENV 204 (currently offered on a one-time-only basis), and ENV 302, which examine a broad range of regional and global environmental problems and the human activities that contribute to them. Each of these courses can be taken with a laboratory component that incorporates a combination of inquiry-based field study and lab exercises. When taken with a lab component, ENV 201B, ENV 202B, and ENV 204B fulfill the Science and Technology course with laboratory (STL) distribution requirement.

Upper-level ENV courses enable students to explore specific environmental issues and topics in depth through multiple disciplines and perspectives. Seniors pursuing the ENV certificate are required to participate in a colloquium that enables them to share the research and results of their senior theses with other students from a wide range of disciplines. Senior thesis funding is available to students who elect to engage in field research as a component of their independent study. Funding for domestic and international internships with an environmental focus is also available for students following their freshman, sophomore, and junior years.

The Program in Environmental Studies is part of the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), the interdisciplinary center for environmental research, education, and outreach at Princeton University. PEI is committed to advancing knowledge and developing the next generation of leadership in the environmental field. The institute comprises several major interdisciplinary research centers and educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2007, PEI launched an integrated research and teaching initiative to address global environmental challenges in energy and climate, global health and infectious disease, and sustainable development in resource-challenged regions of the world. Undergraduate courses, internships, and senior thesis research opportunities are aligned with Grand Challenges themes and faculty research.

Admission to the Program

The Program in Environmental Studies is open to all A.B. and B.S.E. students. Students are encouraged to plan a tentative course of study as early as possible. Although it is possible to fulfill the formal requirements of the program by choosing courses that have few prerequisites, the number of options is greatly increased by choosing courses in freshman and sophomore years that simultaneously meet the distribution requirements for the A.B. or B.S.E. degree and the prerequisites for courses recommended by the program.

Program of Study

The following environmental studies certificate program requirements are in addition to those of a student's department of concentration. By appropriate choice of courses, several of these requirements may satisfy University distribution requirements. Core courses and cognate courses must be taken on a fully graded basis.

1. Students must take one core course, either ENV 201, 202, 204, or 302. Under exceptional circumstances, substitutes may be allowed, but any substitution must be approved in advance by the program director. For students who do not have a strong science background, the laboratory options of ENV 201, 202, and 204 are recommended (although not required for the certificate). These courses satisfy the University's distribution requirement for laboratory science (STL). For those students interested in a course with more in-depth exposure using quantitative methods, ENV 302 is recommended. Students considering the Program in Environmental Studies should take ENV 201, 202, 204, or 302 as early as possible.

2. Students must take four ENV cross-listed and/or cognate courses. Three of these courses must be from three different divisions of the University (i.e., natural science, engineering, social science, and humanities) and they should be at the 300 level or above. The fourth course may be any ENV 200-level course or any cognate course with a significant environmental component (normally at the 300 level). The choice of cognate courses (i.e., courses that do not carry an ENV number) must be approved by the program director. Students are encouraged to discuss cognate choices with the program director early in their planning process.

3. Seniors participate in the senior thesis colloquium. The colloquium is noncredit, but regular participation is required of seniors in the program. The colloquium supplements the advice that students get in their own departments by exposing a student's initial ideas and subsequent results to critique by students and faculty from other departments. Faculty lead colloquium discussions until the middle of the fall term. Students present their thesis plans and results from mid-fall through mid-spring term. For the most part, the colloquium meets weekly.

4. Independent work in the senior year will normally involve an environmental topic approved by both the director of the program and the undergraduate representative of the student's department of concentration. The environmental content of the senior thesis will be reviewed as part of the senior thesis colloquium.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who meet the requirements of the program and of their department will receive a certificate of proficiency in environmental studies upon graduation.

Cognates

Humanities cognates include courses with environmental relevance from departments such as art and archaeology, English, and philosophy, as well as the School of Architecture and the environmental studies program.

Social science cognates include courses with environmental relevance from departments such as anthropology, economics, history, politics, and the Woodrow Wilson School, as well as the environmental studies program.

Natural science cognates include courses with environmental relevance from departments such as chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, geosciences, physics, and molecular biology.

Engineering cognates include courses with environmental relevance from departments such as civil and environmental engineering, chemical and biological engineering, and mechanical and aerospace engineering.  Examples of cognates from each of these areas can be found on the program's website.


Courses


ENV 102A Climate: Past, Present, and Future (see GEO 102A)

ENV 102B Climate: Past, Present, and Future (see GEO 102B)

ENV 201A Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity, and Energy   Fall STN

This course explores how human activities have affected land use, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, and the use of energy in the USA and around the world. Students examine the fundamental principles underlying contemporary environmental issues, and use case studies to illustrate the scientific, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental problems. Two lectures, one preceptorial. K. Caylor, D. Wilcove

ENV 201B Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity, and Energy   Fall STL

This course explores how human activities have affected land use, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, and the use of energy in the USA and around the world. Students examine the fundamental principles underlying contemporary environmental issues, and use case studies to illustrate the scientific, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental problems. Two lectures, one preceptorial, one three-hour laboratory. K. Caylor, D. Wilcove, E. Zerba

ENV 202A Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Climate, Air Pollution, Toxics, and Water   Spring STN

This course will focus on the environmental consequences of human activities and their interactions with natural systems on global scales, focusing on four main areas of current environmental concern: climate and global change; the atmosphere and air pollution; toxics in the environment; and water resources exploitation and pollution. Underlying principles will be explored for each topic, with examples and case studies used to highlight interconnections between the scientific, technological, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental issues. Two lectures, one preceptorial. B. Ward

ENV 202B Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Climate, Air Pollution, Toxics, and Water   Spring STL

This course will focus on the environmental consequences of human activities and their interactions with natural systems on global scales, focusing on four main areas of current environmental concern: climate and global change; the atmosphere and air pollution; toxics in the environment; and water resources exploitation and pollution. Underlying principles will be explored for each topic, with examples and case studies used to highlight interconnections between the scientific, technological, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental issues. Two lectures, one preceptorial, one three-hour laboratory. B. Ward, E. Zerba

ENV 302 Advanced Analysis of Environmental Systems (also CEE 302/EEB 302)   Spring QR

Humans are increasingly affecting environmental systems throughout the world. This course uses quantitative analysis to examine three of today's most pressing issues: energy, water, and food. Each issue is examined from perspectives of natural and engineered ecosystems that depend on complex interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes. The course is an introduction for students in the natural sciences and engineering pursuing an advanced program in environmental studies. We emphasize quantitative analyses with applications to a wide range of systems, and the design of engineered solutions to major environmental problems. L. Hedin, M. Celia

ENV 303 Introduction to Environmental Engineering (see CEE 303)

ENV 304 Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy (also ECO 328/EEB 304/WWS 496)   Fall SA

The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay among disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices. One three-hour lecture, one preceptorial. R. Laxminarayan, B. Grenfell

ENV 305 Topics in Environmental Studies   Fall

Special topics courses related to the broad field of environmental studies. Staff

ENV 306 Topics in Environmental Studies   Spring HA

Special topics courses related to the broad field of environmental studies. Seminar. Staff

ENV 310 Environmental Law and Moot Court   Spring SA

Examining the relationship between law and environmental policy, this course focuses on cases that have established policy principles. The first half of the seminar will be conducted using the Socratic method. The second half will allow students to reargue either the plaintiff or defendant position in a key case, which will be decided by the classroom jury. One three-hour seminar. G. Hawkins

ENV 312 Marine Biology (see EEB 312)

ENV 316 Communicating Climate Change   Spring

Climate change has the potential to wreak great havoc over the next century, threatening ecosystems, economies, and human lives. Scientists are putting enormous effort into trying to understand the causes, effects, and possible solutions to the climate-change problem. Yet the public still has only a vague idea of what climate science actually says, and much of that is badly distorted. The course will explore how to communicate to the public about climate change through print, Web, and video, in ways that are at once clear, compelling, and scientifically rigorous. One three-hour seminar. M. Lemonick, H. Cullen

ENV 317 The Art of Sustainability (see AMS 307)

ENV 319 Environmental Economics (see ECO 329)

ENV 328 Energy for a Greenhouse-Constrained World (see MAE 328)

ENV 331 Environmental Geochemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems (see GEO 363)

ENV 333 Oil to Ozone: Chemistry of the Environment (see CHM 333)

ENV 334 Global Environmental Issues (see CEE 334)

ENV 339 Climate Change: Scientific Basis, Policy Implications (see GEO 366)

ENV 340 Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Solutions   Spring STL

Focuses on environmental challenges and sustainable solutions related to interrelationships between constructed and natural processes. Topic areas include resource conservation, sustainable practices, storm water management, and habitat restoration. The format of the course is experiential learning with problem-solving research projects, lectures, and discussions. A central theme of the projects is to track the impact of land use and sustainable practices on the ecological balance of environments in and around Princeton's campus. Two 90-minute lectures, one laboratory. E. Zerba

ENV 350 African American Studies: Environmental Justice (see AAS 350)

ENV 361 Physics of the Ocean and Atmosphere (see GEO 361)

ENV 362 Biogeochemistry of the Ocean and Atmosphere (see GEO 362)

ENV 370 Sedimentology (see GEO 370)

ENV 386 Literature and Environment (see ENG 386)

ENV 399 Environmental Decision Making (see GEO 297)

ENV 401 Environmental Policy Workshop   Not offered this year

The workshop will focus on currently unresolved environmental policy questions from the perspective of the scientific evidence available to support alternative interventions and the accompanying social, economic, and political trade-offs and conflicts that require adjudication. Prerequisite: 201 or permission of instructor. B. Singer

ENV 406 Energy and Form (see ARC 406)

ENV 417A Ecosystems and Global Change (see EEB 417A)

ENV 417B Ecosystems and Global Change (see EEB 417B)

ENV 433 Comparative Environmental History (see HIS 431)

ENV 441 The McGraw Seminar in Writing (see JRN 441)

ENV 499 Environmental Change, Poverty, and Conflict (see GEO 499)