Undergraduate Curriculum

Vanderbilt offers a unique suite of curricular options for undergraduates, and students are free to mix and match various environmental majors and minors. Often students do not make final decisions until the end of the sophomore year. Vanderbilt does not offer a single major in environmental studies but instead offers a wide range of curricular options in which students can find the right mixture of science and the social sciences/humanities that match their interests.

Science and engineering. Students with a science and technology interest often major in one of three areas: ecology, evolution, and organismal biology; earth and environmental sciences; or civil engineering (which includes environmental engineering). There is also a minor in earth and environmental sciences.

Social sciences and humanities. Students with an interest in the environment have course concentrations available in the majors in anthropology, public policy, and sociology. The Sociology Department offers a specialized curriculum environmental sociology, which is the study of the environment and society relationship.  Unlike environmental studies majors in most schools, which have a heavy science curriculum of 4 or more science courses, this major  requires two earth science courses and is otherwise much more oriented toward the social sciences.

Students with any major may add the minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. This is a six-course minor (18 credit hours) with one course in the sciences or engineering, four courses in the humanities and social sciences, and a capstone course (usually ENVS 4101W).

Students do not have to decide immediately. The great flexibility of Vanderbilt is that students can choose the right level of natural science, engineering, social science, and humanities courses for their interests by combining environmental majors and minors.  Sometimes students start with one environmental major in mind and then switch to another and make their first major into a minor, and likewise they may decide to make their minor into a second major.

See the undergraduate catalog for the year that you entered to get the most recent information on the course requirements.

For questions about options for majors or minors, see Professor Hess in Sociology.