Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies Major
Undergraduate advisor: Academic Programs Office, 70 Science Hall, 608-262-7520; email@example.com
The environmental studies major, offered by the College of Letters & Science and administered by the Nelson Institute, provides unique opportunities for undergraduate students to broaden their studies through interdisciplinary course work related to the environment. Because this major must be taken simultaneously with another undergraduate major, students not only learn about current environmental issues, they also learn how to link environmental science, policy, literature, art, and philosophy to another chosen field of study.
The environmental studies major provides students with an academically rigorous course sequence that encompasses introductory through advanced understandings of the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies. This major includes courses from across campus that expose students to the perspectives and methods used by the physical, biological, and social sciences and humanities to wrestle with environmental questions and solutions.
Unlike most other undergraduate majors at UW-Madison, the environmental studies major is open only to students who are enrolled in and completing another major. This unique structure ensures that students who pursue the environmental studies major graduate with both a deep understanding of their disciplinary major and the broad interdisciplinary skills needed to work on environmental issues in a wide variety of career settings.
In today's world many academic programs, even in environmental fields, encourage students to specialize—to focus on relatively narrow subject areas. Yet "real-world" problems often require understanding beyond that of a single academic discipline. For this reason, more and more employers seek people with interdisciplinary training. The environmental studies major exposes students to a broad range of environmental thinking. It helps put the courses of the student's other major into perspective. The environmental studies major is always completed as part of a full double major. This rigorous program of study is evidence to employers that the graduate has acquired not only depth in one major field, but breadth of environmental understanding within and beyond that field—an excellent combination.
The environmental studies major is offered through the College of Letters & Science. Most undergraduate students enrolled at UW-Madison, pending approval from their home school or college, may apply for the environmental studies major. Overlap between the environmental studies major and the student's other major(s) is limited. [catalog update 5/21/12]