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Undergraduate Program

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Problem-Based Learning: Our degree is rooted in concrete examples of environmental issues drawn from our Idaho communities.  Instead of asking students to primarily learn content, we invite them to solve problems and interpret issues.  Hands-on and academic considerations of wildland fire, multicultural agriculture, foothills use-planning, urban restoration, and more form the base of our curriculum.  ENVSTD majors take four sequential courses to make up the spine of the degree—ENVSTD 121, 200, 300 and 492—and these core classes instruct and inspire our majors to identify and address environmental issues everywhere. Problem-based learning is a model for learning used in Medical Schools and graduate programs around the world because it asks students to work in small groups to solve real-world problems.  It is iterative, engaging, and exploratory!   We believe that direct involvement with solving problems blends research and social skills, increases motivation to apply learning, and provides a model for the kinds of environmental thinkers that will save the world!

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Core Classes: Solving Environmental Problems

Built into our curriculum are problem-based learning modules set in our own Idaho landscape. These core classes support and integrate team-based collaboration and help us to identify environmental issues everywhere.

Core Classes Offered Every Semester

  • ENVSTD 121 Intro to Environmental Studies
  • ENVSTD 200 Environmental Approaches and Methods
  • ENVSTD 300 Environmental Management and Analysis
  • ENVSTD 492: Capstone Seminar

Examples of recent research themes for capstone seminar:

  • Beavers and beaver dam analogs as ecological restoration techniques
  • Borders: International, physical, disciplinary, protected areas, rural-urban, socio-cultural
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Systems: Broadening Your Knowledge

Because this degree helps you integrate expertise from many subjects, we ask you to take a range of classes that help you understand the systems that shape our world. This breadth will train you to be a systems thinker – someone who can see an issue whole instead of simply its parts.

Systems groupings:

  • Intro to Scientific Systems (sample classes include BIO192 Diversity of Life and HES 220 Complex Systems and Sustainability)
  • Economic Systems (sample classes include ECON 333 Natural Resource Economics and URBAN 370 Urban Economic Development)
  • Social Systems (sample classes include SOC 440 Environmental Sociology and GLOBAL 304 Sustainable Futures)
  • Political Systems(sample classes include ENVSTD 450 Policy for the Environment and PHIL 327 Environmental Ethics)
  • Cultural Systems (sample classes include ENVSTD 430 Environmental Justice and HIST 351 North American Environmental History)
  • Advanced Scientific Systems (sample classes include EOHS 334 Environmental Health Management and GEOS 305 Global Climate Change)
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Electives: In-depth Learning from World Class Faculty

In small, intensive seminars, you will learn alongside the research agendas of historians, geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists and other experts in environmental issues.  Topics include:

  • ENVSTD 420 Contemporary Debates on Global Environmental Change
  • ENVSTD 430 Environmental Justice
  • ENVSTD 435 Global Migration and the Environment
  • ENVSTD 440 Nature Conservation in a Global Perspective
  • ENVSTD 441 Animals in Time and Space
  • ENVSTD 450 Policy for the Environment
  • ENVSTD 460 The Dirt on Development
  • ENVSTD 470 Climate, Justice, and the Commonwealth