The Environmental Studies comprehensive exercise is traditionally a group research project. For many years, the ENTS faculty chose a broad comps theme (see the list of comps themes to the right), but in recent years, they have moved towards a more diverse approach, allowing for multiple themes. Groups of 2-3 students develop and carry out an interdisciplinary research project, presenting their findings in a research paper and at the annual Environmental Studies comps symposium. 

The comps project requires a substantial literature review that integrates different disciplinary literatures, and gathers and analyses data (quantitative or qualitative). Projects may include literary or historical analysis or the creative arts. Most comps projects speak to contemporary environmental problems. For a listing of all prior comps projects, see the past comps projects.

Important Policy Change for Fall 2021 ENTS Seniors:

In response to the many disruptions caused by the pandemic, the Environmental Studies Program has made a one-time adjustment to our long-standing comps/OCS policies for next year’s seniors.

After careful deliberation, the program has decided to create a second comps option and to allow seniors to attend an off-campus studies program in fall 2021.  This option is only available for fall 2021 and is only available for students who have not been on an OCS program during their time at Carleton.  For students interested in this option, the alternative comps would include these core features:

  • The comps would focus on the analysis of a current environmental policy.
  • The comps would be an individual research experience (not a group experience).
  • The comps would be supervised by one ENTS faculty member, who would define the topic(s) for the policy analysis.
  • The comps would be developed and completed in winter term 2022.

This change would necessitate the waiving of ENTS 395 Senior Seminar and a substitution for ENTS 232 Research Design and Methods (both of these courses are scheduled for fall 2021).  We currently have three defined courses that can be substituted for ENTS 232: SOAN 240 Methods of Social Research, POSC 230 Methods of Political Research, ECON 329 Econometrics.  Each of these three substitutions is being offered in spring term 2021.

For any students interested in this option, I encourage you to discuss it with your advisor and with me.  If you decide that this option is something you would like to pursue, please submit a statement of intent to me laying out your plans (meaning a note on the desired OCS program, plans for ENTS 232, and a total credits assessment) for final approval.