The Environmental Studies Major is an interdisciplinary major that includes course offerings from 14 departments and programs designed to prepare environmental leaders of the future.
The curriculum emphasizes four components: humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, skills and the capstone experience. It seeks to provide students with an understanding of human attitudes and behaviors toward nature, and provides a grounding in science to prepare them to shape viable environmental policy and practice. The major also prepares students for graduate school in related environmental fields.
The curriculum's distinctive feature is that it employs the nearby Adirondack Park as a case study and field site, grounding theory in the experience of a protected area of international importance. First-year students are advised to begin with the Environmental Studies/Adirondack FIG. The service-learning capstone experience provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the environmental field during the summer after the junior year. In a three-credit fall seminar, seniors develop and present a project based upon their fieldwork.
Each student is also required to complete a minor in one of the disciplines which offer courses for the Environmental Studies major, with no more than two courses counting towards the major. The program also offers a minor in environmental studies and a minor in environmental science.
Mountains Give New Form to LeighAnn Montaglione
The Adirondacks have stretched and formed LeighAnn Montaglione '20. When she graduates in May, she’ll take a suite of skills with her that will help connect her dual passion for photography and conservation.
Adirondack Experience—Spring Pond Bog / Wild Center
For incoming first-year students, there’s no better opportunity than the Environmental Studies Adirondack Experience. The unique program allows students to focus on three disciplines (English, ecology and environmental studies), set against the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains. View a day in the life of our students exploring the Spring Pond Bog Preserve and the Wild Center in Tupper Lake as part of the Adirondack Experience.
Dr. Jessica Rogers
Dr. Jessica Rogers, an assistant professor of environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam, brings global applied learning experiences into her classroom every day. Whether she’s teaching introduction to environmental studies, Geographic Information Systems, or conducting research on the purple loosestrife—her passion for teaching and environmental conservation is at the heart of everything that she does.
Amber Rudolph ’20
Whether she’s visiting an ecovillage in Ireland, conducting a research project about a community garden, or cleaning a boa constrictor tank in the Department of Biology, Amber Rudolph ’20 has been gaining a cornucopia of applied learning experiences, while pursuing a double major in biology and environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam.
Students learn about alpine ecology from Dr. Johnson on site at the peak of Whiteface Mountain.
Field Experiences & Internships
The Department of Environmental Studies places a high value on experiential education and applied learning. We strongly encourage students to engage in internships, service learning, field research, or study abroad as an integral part of their undergraduate education.
Invasive Species Research
SUNY Potsdam student research interns, Robert Luckman ’18 and Matthew King ’18, worked with Assistant Professor Dr. Jessica Rogers during the summer of 2017 to document infestations of invasive plant species in the St. Lawrence River Valley, using cloud-based data collection.