Environmental Studies

Environmental studies is an interdisciplinary field that explores the interconnection between humans and the natural environment. Modern environmental issues reflect the complex interactions of natural and social systems at global and local scales, and the resulting impacts on the earth have led many to ask whether humankind has entered into a new epoch in the planet’s history, one in which humans are now a key driver in the change of earth systems.

The Environmental Studies program fosters the critical, integrative thinking required to better understand the complexities of this human-nature relationship and the resultant scales of impact, and to assess and develop solutions that meet intergenerational human needs without compromising the natural systems upon which humans depend.

The Environmental Studies program offers an undergraduate minor in environmental studies and several interdisciplinary courses for students interested in broadening their understanding of environmental issues. These courses often are team-taught by faculty from various areas of study.

Students who minor in environmental studies will:

  • Understand the fundamental science that drives earth/natural systems, and that frames and makes comprehensible current environmental issues.
  • Evaluate the nexus of human activity with environmental processes to examine and understand sustainable (or unsustainable) practices.
  • Develop a cross-disciplinary perspective to better understand environmental issues and solutions through a focus within the natural sciences and/or engineering and a focus within the humanities, social sciences, and/or architecture.

For more information on the Environmental Studies program, or how to minor in this program, please contact Professor Joseph Campana, Director of the Program in Environmental Studies, Department of English, 713-348-4316, joseph.a.campana@rice.edu.