Can I do an off-campus program?

Yes! If you plan properly, you should be able to go off campus in your junior year. With the permission of the Director, you can use up to 6 credits from an off-campus program toward the major. The credits must fit into one of our major requirements. Usually students use OCS credits to satisfy a Society, Culture & Policy elective, but not the required courses (ENTS 120, BIOL 210, HIST 205, ECON 271). A few programs can be used to satisfy a Science elective. We don’t permit majors to go off-campus during fall or winter of senior year, when they are doing comps. ENTS majors often take advantage of the ENTS OCS program in Tanzania, the Biology program in Australia, and other Carleton environment-related OCS programs. Popular non-Carleton programs are Round River, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, SEA Semester, the ACM Costa Rica.

What student organizations do ENTS majors join?

ENTS majors have varied interests, but you’ll often find them in such student organizations as SOPE, Food Truth, the Climate Justice Coalition, and Engineers Without Borders. They might be found at Farm House and CANOE House. You’ll find them also on college committees like CRIC or working for outside organizations like MPIRG.

What is the ENTS comps like?

ENTS Comps is a group interdisciplinary project. In the fall senior seminar, students work in groups of 3-4 to develop a research proposal that speaks to the comps theme for that year. They conduct their research and write up their results during winter term. We hold a symposium in spring for the students to present their research to the Carleton community. For more about the comps process, comps themes, and examples of comps papers, visit the comps pages.

What is the Environmental Studies major?

The ENTS major is an interdisciplinary program that integrates natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. It focuses on helping students understand and address the economic, ethical, social, political, historical, scientific, and aesthetic dimensions of environmental problems.

We emphasize:

  • critical thinking and information literacy
  • communication and collaborative work
  • problem-oriented, service learning and civic engagement projects
  • place-based learning
  • internships and other work experiences
  • off-campus studies programs

Can I get money from ENTS for my summer internship or research assistantship?

Yes! ENTS offers funding for 6-8 summer internships or research assistantships for its majors. ENTS majors have interned at the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Real Food Challenge, environmental justice organizations, and other international, national, and local organizations. They have also worked as research assistants for Carleton faculty or faculty at other institutions. For more details, see the internship page.

What graduate programs do ENTS majors go to?

The ENTS major is very good preparation for graduate programs in public policy, law, public health, and related fields. It’s ideal preparation for an interdisciplinary environmental program. Majors may also go on to study economics, the natural sciences, or engineering—but if you’re interested in such programs, you should consult with faculty in those departments to find out what additional coursework you will need.

What kinds of jobs do majors get?

An ENTS major provides a good foundation for many different career tracks. Popular paths include advocacy or policy work (government agencies, non-profits, think tanks, community organizing), business (management, consulting, or starting one’s own business); education (primary or secondary education, community outreach), and land management (working for federal or state park or land management agencies). But ENTS majors have also pursued careers in law, public health, artistic performance, and journalism.

Visit Carleton's Pathways website for more information about career paths.

Can I combine the ENTS major with a minor?

Many ENTS majors combine the major with a minor that gives them more depth in a curricular area. For example, you might choose biochemistry or neuroscience (for a broader science background), political economy (for a broader foundation in public policy), or area studies (for a better international perspective).

Can I double-major?

With proper planning, you should be able to complete two majors. Almost any other major can work well with ENTS, but common second majors are Economics, Political Science, and Studio Art. If you double major, you may count one course toward both majors. Usually this is the methods course. You might also double count statistics, but we discourage attempts to double-count several courses toward both majors. You should discuss with both of your advisors your plans to double-count courses.

Which intro lab science course should I take?

BIO 126, CHEM 128, PHYS 152, and any of the 100-level Geology courses can satisfy the lab science requirement for the Environmental Studies major.

In choosing your lab science, consider which science electives look most interesting to you:

  • If you’re interested in ecology courses, BIO 126 is a good choice.
  • If you’re interested in energy issues, consider PHYS 152.
  • CHEM 128 is useful if you’re interested in pollution or climate change.
  • Geology is useful if you’re interested in water issues.

If I’m thinking of declaring an ENTS major, what courses should I take now?

First years can start with an introductory lab science, like BIO 126 or CHEM 128. It’s also a good idea to take ECON 111 (Microeconomics), MATH 215 (Statistics), ENTS 120 (Intro to GIS), and Global Change Bio (BIO 210) in your first two years at Carleton.

The other core courses (American Environmental History, and Environmental Economics and Policy) are usually taken junior year, along with research methods (ENTS 232).

Electives may be taken any time. Comps is completed during fall and winter terms of your senior year (you must be on campus for these terms).

My Society, Culture, and Policy elective actually has a lot of science in it. Why can’t I count it as a science elective?

We define natural science courses as courses that focus on creating models of physical processes, testing those models experimentally (in the lab or field), and revising them accordingly. This captures the essence of the scientific process. Courses that focus on that process are properly categorized as natural science electives, even if they engage policy questions as well. Courses that use scientific information merely as inputs into economic or policy models will be treated as non-science electives.

What’s the difference between environmental studies and environmental science?

Some high schools and colleges offer environmental science courses or programs which focus primarily on natural sciences that are relevant to environmental issues. Carleton’s program in Environmental Studies does require some courses in natural sciences (options include ecology, geology, and some basic courses on climate science). But it also requires several social science and humanities courses, including economics, history, and electives from fields such as ethics, political science, literature, and anthropology.  This program allows you to explore the human dimensions of environmental issues, as well as learning how to use scientific knowledge to address environmental problems.

Can I substitute other courses for the required courses?

You can substitute Math 245, 265, or 275 for MATH 215. We encourage you to arrange your schedule so you can take the ENTS research methods course (ENTS 232), but if you can’t, you can substitute ECON 329 , POSC 230 , or SOAN 240.

On the advice of your advisor and with permission of the director, other substitutions can be made. However, we strongly discourage substituting other courses for the core courses (American Environmental History, Global Change Biology, Environmental Economics and Policy, Introduction to GIS, and Research Methods).

What AP credits can count toward the major?

We will waive the ECON 111 (Microeconomics) requirement if you have a score of 5 on the Economics AP exam. We will also waive STAT 120 if you have a score of 4 or 5 on the Statistics AP exam. Those are the only AP courses which count towards the major (see the College policy for earning credit for AP courses).