College Catalog: 2011-2012

School of Social Science and Human Services (SSHS): Environmental Studies (B.A.)

Four Year Plan
School of Social Science and Human Services Website


About the Major

The Environmental Studies program at Ramapo College prepares students to help create a sustainable world through participation in government, business, and civil society. We have steadfastly maintained this vision for over thirty years. The new Sharp Sustainability Education Center, Ramapo’s signing of the Presidents Climate Commitment, and the emerging Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies program now under final statewide review demonstrate that our sustainability mission has become central to Ramapo College.

We prepare our students to be leaders in building an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable society, one that justly balances the needs of people today with those of future generations, while promoting environmental justice and enhancing ecological diversity. Our focus spans the spectrum from global to local, with en emphasis on critical thinking, effective communication, and hands-on participatory implementation.

The Environmental Studies major builds upon foundational course work in environmental and basic science, placed in historical, social, and policy context, starting with the challenging World Sustainability course. Intermediate level courses stress principles of breadth and timely practice. The choice of courses provides students the opportunity to tailor their education according to their interests, reflecting the diverse pathways that our majors might follow to a career that spans the emerging Green Jobs movement. The Environmental Studies program invites active participation through field work, internships, and Study Abroad opportunities, such as the American West program, the Venice program, and our semester-long South India program.

Two capstone courses prepare students to document and comprehensively access environmental impacts, to work in groups, to do advanced research, and to communicate clearly. The 400-level courses develop and assess skills in communication, critical thinking, interdisciplinary synthesis, and group cooperation.

Many graduates go on to earn advanced degrees in a diverse array of fields that speak to the breadth of the Environmental Studies major. Similarly, while most graduates choose to work in environmental careers, the fields within which those careers are situated vary broadly. An increasing number of our graduates have become educators, a trend which may grow as we focus on Earth Science in Teacher Education. Many work in parks and open space preservation. Some work in small businesses concerned with solar construction or green practices. Some raise organic food and run farmers markets. Our graduates go to law school to become environmental attorneys. Some become energy conservation experts for utilities, heads of recycling programs or businesses, and project managers, environmental specialists and impact assessors for engineering firms working on pollution mitigation or infrastructures projects. Our graduates also work for regulatory agencies, non-profit corporations, planning departments, consulting firms, and corporations. Students are instilled with a sense of community responsibility and are provided with the skills for making lifelong contributions as citizens of the planet.

The program offers the opportunity for close faculty-student relationships through advisement, independent study, small classes, and interactive student organizations. A unique cutting-edge, hands-on learning site, the Sharp Sustainability Education Center is a custom-designed and green-built facility designed to demonstrate the components of a sustainable community, and currently includes solar and geothermal energy sources. The faculty Institute for Environmental Studies, along with student groups such as the Environmental Alliance and 1STEP, provide many rich opportunities for collaboration on projects, conferences, the annual Earth Week/Month celebration, and the emerging movement to enhance campus sustainability while reducing the carbon footprint and ecological impacts of our collective everyday life at Ramapo College.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below. Waivers only apply to General Education Requirements NOT School Core or Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible. Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement: Three writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: First Year Seminar, Critical Reading and Writing (formerly College English), and Readings in Humanities.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.