Undergraduate Curriculum

Students interested in environmental and sustainability issues have several options for a major.  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).

Students interested in the social sciences may major in environmental sociology, which is the study of the environment and society relationship and includes some earth and environmental science courses.  Unlike environmental studies majors in most schools, which have a heavy science curriculum, this major  requires two earth science courses and is otherwise much more oriented toward the social sciences. Some students who major in public policy and anthropology also focus on the environment.

Students with any major may add the minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies or the minor in Earth and Environmental Sciences. The first 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). The second is a 17-credit hour minor with Earth and Environmental Science classes.

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.