Minor in Environmental Studies

Sanford Geffner's  Ecology of Unique Environments Class. Photo courtesy A. Demaria

The Environmental Studies Minor is designed to broaden students’ knowledge base and provide them with a strong foundation in both the natural and social sciences. This minor, focused on experiential learning and field studies, prepares students to incorporate environmental work into their chosen field of study in order to enhance their professional potential in world increasing defined by environmental problems and sustainable solutions.

The structure of the Minor is based on interdisciplinary coursework. The Minor currently involves the completion of eight 3-credit courses, and a 1-credit lab for a total of 25 credits. Like the major, it offers two unique tracks in Environmental Policy and Education and Environmental Resources and Management, followed by a focused environmental internship in that track. Encompassing coursework from many disciplines to include ecology, geography, geology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and more, the minor complements many majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and across the university.

Learning Outcomes

Environmental Resources and Management

Students who complete this minor will:

  • Understand critical concepts in environmental studies: sustainability, ecological science, biodiversity, natural resources, environmental policy
  • Understand the principles, processes and techniques of conducting environmental fieldwork
  • Understand the interaction of historical, social and political phenomena with environmental issues
Environmental Studies or Environmental Geosciences?

Environmental Geosciences and Environmental Studies sound a lot alike…

We get this question a lot!

They are both great programs with quite a bit of overlap.  Environmental Geosciences is a major that is heavy into math and science. Many of our students in this group are very interested in environmental engineering, geographic information systems, pollution, ecological restoration, to name a few.  Graduates of this major often work for environmental consultants, government regulation enforcement, health and safety, pollution cleanup, mapping/cartography, and similar careers.

Environmental Studies is more social science based… This program explores policy, grassroots organization, environmental education, sustainability, and outdoor interpretation. This leads these graduates into careers in non-governmental organizations (Audubon, Sierra Club, Niagara Waterkeeper), park rangers, teachers, guides, and in government agencies like the mayor’s office and housing departments working with people on affordable housing and community gardens.

When it comes to coursework, there is a lot of overlap; all but about 10 classes are exactly the same. Either way, the benefit of coming here is the same. The University at Buffalo is the largest public research institute in the state, but our department only has about 250 students in both majors combined. You have instant access to your advisors, all your professors know you and you know them. The EGS and ES students have several organizations that you are encouraged to join and get involved.