The Environmental Science curriculum recognizes the need for well-trained scientists to cope with balancing human requirements and environmental conservation. Majors acquire an understanding of earth systems by taking courses in the natural sciences, as well as courses investigating environmental stress. Students learn to critically evaluate the diverse information necessary for sound environmental analysis. Courses foster an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problem-solving. Internships or some type of work, research, or field experience are extremely valuable in preparing you for a career in Environmental Science. You might want to consider a semester or summer program at the SEE-U, SEA Semester at Woods Hole, the School for Field Studies, the Organization for Tropical Studies, or some other field program. In addition, all students majoring in Environmental Sciences are urged to take a course where you gain experience using spreadsheets, statistics, and data analysis on computers.
Environmental Science provides a scientific basis for management of earth systems. It focuses on the interaction between human activities, resources, and the environment. As human population grows and technology advances, pressures on earth's natural systems are becoming increasingly intense and complex. Environmental Science is an exciting field where science is used to best serve society.
In 1997 we introduced a new major in "Environmental Biology." Students take courses in both the Environmental Science and Biology departments. Career opportunities are possible in: natural history museums and parks, environmental education, environmental advocacy, and government agencies.
In the Fall of 2002, a new major in Environmental Policy was approved by the Barnard Faculty. Environmental Policy is a growing field at the intersection of science and society. Environmental Policy focuses on political institutions, societal processes, and individual choices that lead to environmental stress, the impact of environmental stress on institutions, processes and individuals, and the development of approaches to reduce environmental impact.
Students interested in pursuing further work in environmental science and other areas may consider doing a special major. Students interested in environmental law, teaching and journalism may also wish to consider a double major, or a major/minor combination in relevant fields.
Did you know that you can combine your BA from Barnard with a BS or Masters Degree from Columbia or Teachers College?
Students wishing to minor in Environmental Science must have a plan approved by the Environmental Science Department chair. Five courses are required including 2 laboratory science courses (such as EESC BC1001, EESC BC1002, EESC W1011, EESC W2100, EESC W2200, EESC W2300 and 3 electives (including at least 2 courses at the 3000 level or above). For details see Environmental Science Minor Worksheet for a list of qualifying electives. In some cases, courses in other sciences can be substituted with the approval of the chair.
Students wishing to minor in Environmental Science who are interested in field programs and seek minor credit must contact the department Chair, Stephanie Pfirman. The only current field program within Columbia University is SEE-U.
There is no minor in Environmental Biology or Environmental Policy.
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Students considering a major or minor in Environmental Science or Environmental Biology should meet with Stephanie Pfirman, Peter Bower, or Martin Stute during their first or sophomore year to discuss various options for fulfilling requirements.