Bellarmine News

New Major in Environmental Studies

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How will coastal communities adapt to sea level rise? What are the economic and political motivations behind GMO farming? The urban and environmental studies department will explore questions like these with its new major in environmental studies coming fall 2018.

Many environmental questions, and almost all of the environmental crises with which we are confronted, are inherently interdisciplinary. Students who major in environmental studies will gain perspectives from the humanities, social science, and environmental science disciplines about the ways in which social and ecological systems are integrated and shape one another.

“This new program will allow students to forge an interdisciplinary lens on pressing issues like global warming or soil degradation and loss, comprehending the roles politics, economics, culture, chemistry, and more play in these socio-environmental problems,” says Mona Seymour, environmental studies faculty advisor and associate professor of urban and environmental studies.

A distinguishing feature of Bellarmine College of Liberal Art’s (BCLA) environmental studies major is that students study in the dynamic living laboratory of Los Angeles. Students often intern with LMU’s Center for Urban Resilience, volunteer at LMU’s community garden, or take Alternative Break trips to learn about sustainable living around the world.

Postgraduate opportunities for environmental studies majors are as diverse as the subject matter itself. Students with a background in environmental studies can go on to fellowships with state environmental agencies; graduate school programs to pursue focused studies as scientists, economists, or historians; and employment with city planning departments.

Another distinctive characteristic of the major is its ethics and justice requirement, which is reflective of LMU’s Jesuit values. “We want to ensure that students cultivate an ethical perspective on the environment and comprehend the social justice aspects of environmental problems,” says Seymour.

The new program has come to fruition because of student demand, faculty expertise and capacity, as well as BCLA’s commitment to creating avenues for in-depth study of emergent fields.

“LMU students have been asking for an environmental studies major for years. And, as the number of environmentally-focused faculty in BCLA has grown over the past few years, the viability for a new major increased,” says Seymour. “It is so exciting that BCLA has devoted the resources to supporting this new major.”

For more information on the environmental studies major, click HERE.