Environmental Studies: Program Mission

Mission of the Environmental Studies Program

Environmental Studies at Rice explores the interconnection between humans, other species and their lived environments. 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.

Why Study Environmental Studies?

The environment, climate change, and the health and future of our planet are inseparable from our lives, no matter your course of study. Whether pursuing architecture or engineering, english or economics, our changing planet will have an impact on your field. The environmental studies minor is intentionally interdisciplinary, drawing from courses across the schools and departments, meant to compliment any degree path. This minor allows you to take a variety of courses (from photography to biology) in order to develop further your understanding of environmental issues.