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Environmental Studies

B.A. in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Major is interdisciplinary and is 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.


Students will be able to:

  • describe the history and forms of human-environment relations.
  • collect, evaluate and analyze the quality of interdisciplinary environmental information.
  • communicate one’s views and knowledge on environmental topics to others using interdisciplinary approaches.
  • complete a project of independent scholarship or applied learning.
  • identify the application of the discipline in the profession.

Career Outcomes

Occupations related to Environmental Studies are projected to increase by 4 to 6 percent over the next 10 years.

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“I never knew how many opportunities would come from being an environmental studies major. it's given me a much deeper understanding of a wide variety of topics. The professors in the environmental studies program care about you and take an active interest in your projects and studies."

Mitch Harriman '19 Environmental Studies major
The Wild Connection

Jada West ’24 is working with a team of SUNY Potsdam researchers and students to unlock the secrets of pervasive and spreading tick-borne diseases with a goal of providing better information for the public.

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Forging a Leadership Path

Riley Notarthomas ’23 has taken a range of skills from his time at SUNY Potsdam to positively impact struggling youth in a wilderness therapy program in Vermont, while also being a leader back at SUNY Potsdam where he has returned to teach courses in the wilderness education program. 

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Smile for the Camera

Imagine a game camera with reading glasses. That’s one of the creative ways that four faculty members have been capturing close-range images of an unsuspecting assortment of small mammals through the modified lens of a wildlife camera. Funded by a grant through the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Jessica Rogers, and Dr. Bridget Amulike launched a pilot project this summer to determine the most effective ways to collect data on a variety of critters ranging from deer mice and shrews to chipmunks and weasels—research that will inform future projects looking at tick abundance in the region.

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What started in 2017 as a GIS mapping project for Dr. Jessica Rogers and her environmental studies students to locate purple loosestrife throughout the North Country, has expanded to include a solution for eliminating the invasive plants by inserting beetles into the equation. In May, two of her students joined forces to dig up purple loosestrife plants in local wetlands, collected beetles, and combined them in the artificial wetland (beetle hatchery) behind the WISER Greenhouse to grow the next batch of insects in the fight against the purple loosestrife.

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Choosing Potsdam

From the beaches of Long Island to the mountains of Northern New York, Grace Conway ’24 jumped at the opportunity for a change in scenery when she graduated from high school. Now she’s pursuing a degree in environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam, and after just one year at the College, she's already receiving grant funding to assist Dr. Glenn Johnson with his ongoing efforts to protect threatened Blanding’s turtles in Northern New York.

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From a high-altitude forest in Guatemala to a biological corridor in Costa Rica, Dr. Kate Cleary brings years of experience, steeped in hands-on international research, into the classroom. As an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies, she has been working closely with students to study bats in St. Lawrence County, collecting data about their population numbers that will be shared with the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Bat Monitoring Program.

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