Environment & Sustainability Major
The Environment & Sustainability (E&S) major is available in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences. The requirements for the major are the same in both colleges. E&S provides students with a basis for understanding the structure and functioning of the earth’s environment. How do we as humans value, use, benefit from, and protect the environment? How can we do so sustainably? Students take courses in environmental natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, examining how these disciplines can be applied to develop policies and cultural practices that maintain biodiversity, sustain food production, and develop renewable energy resources.
The E&S curriculum advances the ability of students to understand and address contemporary environmental issues. This goal requires an interdisciplinary and integrated undergraduate experience that provides both breadth and depth in understanding the causes and consequences of changing environments throughout the world. The curriculum relies upon a core foundation in biology, physical and social science, humanities, economics, and statistics, supplemented by coursework and experiences integrating these topics of study. In addition, the E&S curriculum provides flexibility to pursue greater depth in specific disciplines encompassing environment and sustainability issues, while taking advantage of Cornell’s diverse range of courses and opportunities.
All students complete a set of foundation courses (core curriculum) after which students tailor their upper-division courses by selecting one of six concentrations: Environmental Biology and Applied Ecology (EBAE), Environmental Economics (EE), Environmental Humanities (EH), Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG), Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR), or a Student-Designed Concentration (SD).
Flexibility remains for students to study abroad, engage in research (including the E&S honors program) and pursue other opportunities offered by Cornell. Prospective students are encouraged to explore the learning outcomes, curriculum requirements, and career paths pursued by recent graduates.
Students will be able to:
- Compare and contrast multiple perspectives on the sustainability of human-environment relationships, including implications for food, land, air, water, energy, climate, and biodiversity.
- Evaluate claims about sustainability using approaches and perspectives from the biophysical sciences, humanities and social sciences.
- Apply diverse scholarly approaches to critically evaluate information and build knowledge about how the environment influences human resource use.
- Work collaboratively and across disciplines to formulate approaches to environmental challenges that could help build sustainable human-ecological systems.
- Communicate and collaborate across disciplines, and demonstrate the capacity to enter the public dialogue regarding complex environmental issues using a variety of communication strategies.