Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies2019-03-19T15:38:47-04:00

The environmental studies (ENS) major is structured to provide students with a fundamental grounding in environmental studies and an exploration of interdisciplinary approaches to environmental issues.

The mission of the environmental studies program is to help students to gain an understanding of the ways that humans influence and are influenced by their non-human surroundings, and to learn to fashion ways of living equitably and sustainably on the earth. This task is fully compatible with Centre’s institutional mission of preparing students for lives of learning, leadership, and service in a global society.

Environmental studies is inherently interdisciplinary, and it reflects and exemplifies the core values of a liberal arts college. Students interested in the major are encouraged to consult with a program committee member early on to plan their preparation for the major and to discuss course offering schedules and options for a track. Students should focus on a particular area, or track, in the humanities, social studies, or sciences.

Your Major Took You Where?*

McLaughlin Research Corporation Texas State University (M.S., conservation and population genetics)
Murray Ledger & Times University of Minnesota (M.P.A., public affairs)
Education Outside (environmental education in San Francisco) University of Colorado-Denver (M.L.A., landscape architecture)
Ohio University (M.S., environmental studies)
*A Sampling of Recent Centre Graduates

“While studying the environment, I’ve been able to travel to places from New Zealand to Appalachia to learn about other people’s diverse perspectives on, and relationships with, the world at large.”

Centre Class of 2016 • Double Major: Environmental Studies and Spanish

Environmental Studies

World-Wide Study

Environmental awareness is a key attribute of global citizenship, and an environmental studies major is an important component of promoting that awareness. Students have done summer research on sustainable foods in Australia and New Zealand, on green monkey behavior in Barbados, researching rivers in Asia, and working with native bees (Mérida, Mexico). Students also took classes with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) trip to Ecuador to study tropical forest conservation.

Internships & Research

An internship in a relevant environmental organization and directed research experience are strongly recommended, although they are not requirements of the major. Recent student internships include FoodChain (Lexington, Ky.), Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (Mansfield, Ga.), and eco-friendly Hotel Kokoro (Alajuela, Costa Rica). Past research projects include mapping of the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge, and studying wild ginseng plant communities.


The major is particularly appropriate for students who want to incorporate an environmental dimension into a professional career such as law, business, planning, public health, or education, as well as for those who want to attend graduate school in environmental studies. A recent Centre grad was awarded a Fulbright to Costa Rica, while others are pursuing master’s degrees in specialties such as public & environmental affairs and environmental biology.