Academic Departments > Environmental Studies and Sciences

Environmental Studies and Sciences

Academic Departments > Environmental Studies and Sciences

Environmental Studies and Sciences

Go to ..

About Environmental Studies and Sciences

The Environmental Studies and Sciences (ESS) Program is for students interested in an environmentally oriented career and students who want to better understand environmental issues generally. Students choose either the Environmental Studies or Environmental Science major. Environmental Studies is for students interested in sustainability, environmental policy and law, food systems, urban planning, environmental business, environmental justice, and environmental education. Environmental Science is for students interested in understanding the scientific principles underlying renewable energy, sustainability, natural resource and land-use planning and management, environmental remediation and restoration, environmental engineering, and conservation.

ESS is an interdisciplinary program. Understanding environmental problems requires the integration of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. One cannot adequately understand an issue such as climate change through one perspective; it involves biology, business, chemistry, economics, geosciences, political science, history, literature, and sociology. ESS students graduate with rigorous problem-solving skills necessary to analyze and offer realistic solutions to environmental challenges. We believe in experiential learning to immerse students in the complexities of environmental issues, locally and abroad. Students participate in research, study abroad, internships, and campus clubs to foster responsible citizenship and understand the challenges of creating environmentally sustainable communities. ESS majors go onto top graduate schools in the sciences, public policy, and law, and careers with nonprofits, consulting groups, governmental agencies, and educational institutions.

Interesting Classes I Might Take

  • Field Studies in Environmental Science
  • Energy Systems and Sustainable Solutions
  • Sustainable Development
  • Political Ecology
  • Soil and Watershed Science
  • Global Environmental Governance
  • The Politics of Food, Agriculture, and Social Justice
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Business and the Natural Environment
  • Literature and the Environment
  • Ecosystem Science and the Analysis of Forested Landscapes

Full course list here

Beyond the Classroom

Recent faculty-student research projects: Caring for a Legacy: Micro-hydro energy at Skidmore College; Rephotography: Visualizing landscape and land use change; Seed exchange networks and food system resilience in the US; Afghan women in leadership positions: Activism and local economic development; To find the animals, map the plants; Family feuds: Diversity matters for plants too; Baby it's hot outside; Nutrient uptake and decomposition rates of Cottonwood and Maple leaves in artificial stream channels; Economic, environmental, and social contributions of the surfing community to Baja, California, Sur Mexico: A surfonomics analysis of sustainable ecotourism and wave valuation

Recent internships: Environmental Defense Fund; American Farmland Trust, New York office; Association for Protection of the Adirondacks; Saratoga County Soil and Water Office; Dionondehowa Wildlife Sanctuary and School; Environmental Advocates of New York; Nature Conservancy, New York State office; NYSERDA; Saratoga PLAN; Sierra Club, northeast field office; Wilton Wildlife Preserve

Recent capstone projects: Environmental Studies: The end of skiing?; Public participation in the Saratoga Springs household hazardous waste collection program; Taking the (Sun) initiative: Analysis of solar installations in New York’s Capital Region; Public perception of crude oil transport via rail in Saratoga County; Got local? Want local? Consumer marketing analysis of local food; Cultivating seeds of change: Knowledge, perception and behavior outcomes of an experiential plant literacy curriculum; New farmer movement

Recent capstone projects: Environmental Science: Lead-contaminated soils in Saratoga Springs and hormone-stimulated phytoextraxtion as a potential solution; Fishing for fishers: A biological corridor proposal for mid-sized mammals in Eastern Upstate New York; Understanding disease management and farmers’ perception of soil quality in a rural US farming community; Distribution and consequences of microplastics, a new anthropogenically derived contaminant in streams; and Sinister superbugs skulking in streams?

Popular study abroad programs: Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Copenhagen; SFS Costa Rica: Sustainable Development Studies; SIT Tanzania: Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management; SIT Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation; IHP Beyond Globalization (India, China, Argentina), IHP Climate Change 

Success After Skidmore

Research and internship positions:

  • Field researcher, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • White-throated sparrow researcher, Cranberry Lake Biological Station (N.Y.)
  • Researcher on herpetology, USGS, Glacier National Park
  • Endangered bird recovery team member, Kauaii, Hawaii
  • Geochemistry research assistant, Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, Mass.
  • Landscape architecture, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Wildlife management and restoration
employee, Pinnacles National Monument
  • Animal behavior research, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C.
  • Research Assistant, George Washington University School of Medicine

Nonprofits:

  • Energy- and water-savings community projects, AmeriCorps
  • Environmental cleanup and education, Anacostia Watershed Society, Washington, D.C.
  • Logging, watershed, aquaculture, and economic analysis, Conservation Strategy Fund, Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Advancing energy-efficient technologies, Consortium for Energy Efficiency
  • Land preservation specialist, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Strasburg, Pa.
  • Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Center, South Africa
  • Geomorphology field assistant, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Richmond, Calif.
  • Director of operations, Southwest Conservation Corps
  • 
Climate program associate, Union of Concerned Scientists

Energy and Consulting

  • Analyst, National Grid
  • VP of Grid Development, PowerGen Renewable Energy
  • Energy Analyst, EnerNOC
  • Energy Consultant, Phoenix Energy Group
  • Development Project Manager, NRG Energy
  • Market Research Analyst, PVR Partners 

Consulting

  • Hazardous waste sites cleanup, ARCADIS Environmental Consulting
  • Environmental engineering
, Brown and Caldwell
  • Field chemist, Clean Harbors
  • International coastal cleanup project coordinator, Ocean Conservancy
  • Biological pharmaceuticals
 developer, Prosetta Corp.
  • Hydro-geologist, Savci Environmental Technologies LLC
  • GIS technician, TechniGraphics
  • Green-building and landscape architecture , Wallace Roberts and Todd, LLC

Public Policy and Government

  • Water Quality Analyst, EPA
  • Park Ranger, National Park Service
  • Peace Corps Peru
  • Transportation Analyst Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Boston
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Staff Assistant, US Senate

Graduate Schools: A sampler of where our alumni go

  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, PhD
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • University of Oregon Law School
  • University of Pennsylvania Planning
  • Emory Masters in Sustainable Development
  • New York University Steinhardt MS in Nutrition and Food Studies
  • University of Colorado Sustainable MBA Program
  • Bank Street College Graduate School of Education
  • London School of Economics MA
  • Duke Nicholas School of the Environment, Masters of Environmental Science
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs: master's in environmental policy and management
  • Cornell University: graduate programs in ecology and evolutionary biology and in environmental engineering
  • Duke University: Ph.D. in hydrology and fluid dynamics
  • Florida International University: Ph.D. in marine biology
  • Tufts University, master's in urban and environmental policy and planning

Faculty

Meet the Environmental Studies and Sciences faculty members.