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Thanks to Smith’s open curriculum and breadth of classes, it’s easy for students to take sustainability focused and related courses, no matter their major. Students can pick a major with an environmental focus from several departments, select a unique minor, or join the environmental concentration. There are many opportunities to Get Involved beyond the classroom as well, through internships, jobs, research, and more.

Majors & Minors

Environmental Science & Policy

The need for environmentally literate citizens and well-educated professionals able to address increasingly complex and global environmental issues has never been greater. Pollution, ecosystem degradation and unsustainable use of natural resources are just a few examples of how humans are altering the Earth and its atmosphere in unprecedented ways. Smith's Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) Program seeks to produce future leaders in the environmental field.

Two Smith students stand in tall grass and take specimen samples

Biological Sciences

Biological sciences treats the life sciences in all their breadth and diversity, including the study of molecules, cells, whole organisms, ecosystems, plants, animals and microorganisms. Students interested in sustainability can select the Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation track.

Student in Michael Barresi's lab

Environmental Geosciences

Courses in geosciences at Smith highlight hands-on and discovery-based learning through modern field and laboratory techniques, as well as interactive student-faculty research experiences. Majors in the environmental geosciences track take a range of courses within the department, as well as chemistry, ecology and environmental science and policy. A degree in geosciences can lead to a variety of rewarding careers that address pressing issues, including climate change, energy and water resources, environmental stewardship and natural hazards.

Professor John Brady with two students

Landscape Studies

The Landscape Studies Program links faculty, students and courses in architecture, engineering, and environmental science and policy to study design, ecology, politics and human relationship to the environment. Smith's campus—which includes a botanic garden and an arboretum—and curriculum form a unique, rich archive and laboratory for the study of human interactions with the spaces and places we inhabit.

Landscape Studies Banner Image


As an engineering major or minor students can take numerous courses and engage deeply in research on topics such as renewable energy, environmental engineering, hydrology, water quality and technology, and more.

Student in engineering lab

The Minor in Marine Science & Policy

The Marine Science and Policy (MS&P) minor permits students to pursue interests in coastal and oceanic systems through an integrated sequence of courses in the natural and social sciences. An introduction to marine sciences is obtained through completion of the two basis courses. Students then choose among upper-level courses that focus on or complement scientific investigation of the oceans and the policy aspects of ocean conservation, exploitation and management.

Landscape photo of a sunset

Environmental Concentration

The Environmental Concentration gives students a way to organize a combination of intellectual and practical experiences, such as internships and service learning, around an environmental area of interest. A concentration allows for more flexibility than is possible within an academic minor, and students can pursue a concentration alongside a minor or a second major.

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Sustainability Focused & Related Courses

Browse sustainability-related courses offered throughout the curriculum, including classes in anthropology, architecture, English language and literature, government and physics (please note the courses listed are meant to be a sample and some may not be offered every semester).

For more detailed information on course offerings, search the Smith College Course Catalog.

American Studies

  • AMS 229 Native New England
  • AMS 245 Feminist & Indigenous Science


  • ARS 280 Introduction to Architectural Design Studio: Analog Processes - Ground
  • ARS 153 Drawing Social Justice

English Language & Literature

  • ENG 237 Colloquium: Environmental Poetry and Ecological Thought
  • ENG 290sc Colloquium: Topics in Crafting Creative Nonfiction-Writing about Science
  • ENG 363 Race and Environment


  • PHI 221 Ethics and Society
  • PHI 224 Philosophy of Science
  • PHI 238 Environmental Philosophy

Spanish & Portuguese

  • SPN 230cv Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society-Climate Voices

Women’s Studies

  • SWG 227 Colloquium: Feminist and Queer Disability Studies
  • SWG 321 Marxist Feminism
  • SWG 230 Gender, Land and Food Movements

World Literatures

  • WLT 340  Problems in Literary Theory Narrating the Anthropocene


  • ANT 224  Anthropos in the Anthropocene: Human-Environment Relations in a Time of Ecological Crisis 
  • ANT 226 Archaeology of Food
  • ANT 229  Africa and the Environment
  • ANT 317 Seminar: The Anthropology of Landscape – Space, Place, Nature


  • ECO 150  Introductory Microeconomics
  • ECO 224  Environmental Economics
  • ECO 271 The Economics of Climate Change
  • ECO 324nr Seminar: Topics in the Economics of the Environment-Natural Resources


  • GOV 239  Social Justice Movements in Latin America
  • GOV 242 International Political Economy

Latin American Studies

  • LAS 201  Colloquium in Latin American and Latino/a Studies: Climate and Conflict
  • LAS 201   Colloquium in Latin American and Latino/a Studies: Environmental Legacies and Ecological Futures of Latin America
  • LAS 301  Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies: Deep History of Water


  • SOC 230 Sociology of Food
  • SOC 233  Sociology of Climate Change

Biological Sciences

  • BIO 130  Biodiversity Ecology and Conservation 
  • BIO 206  Plant Physiology
  • BIO 207  Plant Physiology Laboratory
  • BIO 268  Marine Ecology
  • BIO 269  Marine Ecology Laboratory 
  • BIO 364  Plant Ecology
  • BIO 365 Plant Ecology Laboratory


  • CHM 108  Environmental Chemistry
  • CHM 111 Chemistry I: General Chemistry
  • CHM 346  Environmental Analytical Chemistry


  • EGR 100  Engineering for Everyone: Energy and the Environment 
  • EGR 314  Seminar: Contaminants in Aquatic Systems
  • EGR 315  Seminar: Ecohydrology
  • EGR 325 Seminar: Electric Power System
  • EGR 326 Dynamic Systems and Introduction to Control Theory
  • EGR 390ge Seminar: Advanced Topics in Engineering-Geothermal Engineering

Environmental Science & Policy

  • ENV  101  Sustainability and Social-Ecological Systems
  • ENV  201  Researching Environmental Problems
  • ENV  202  Researching Environmental Problems Laboratory
  • ENV  311  Interpreting and Communicating Environmental Information
  • ENV  312  Sustainable Solutions
  • ENV  323  Climate and Energy Policy
  • ENV 326 Seminar: Environmental Justice and Natural Resource Management
  • ENV 327 Seminar: Environmental Justice & Decolonial Aspirations in an Urbanizing World

Landscape Studies

  • LSS 230 Urban Landscapes
  • LSS 250 Studio: Landscape and Narrative
  • LSS 255 Art and Ecology
  • LSS 300 Seminar: Rethinking Landscape
  • LSS 315 Seminar: Urban Ecological Design


  • GEO 101  Introduction to Earth Processes and History
  • GEO 104  Global Climate Change: Exploring the Past, the Present and Options for the Future
  • GEO 108  Oceanography: An Introduction to the Marine Environment     
  • GEO 150  Mapping our World: An Introduction to Geographic Information


  • PHY 110 Energy, Environment and Climate

Statistical & Data Sciences

  • SDS 201 Statistical Methods for Undergraduates
  • SDS 220 Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Recent Sample Courses

IDP 316: Critical Design Thinking

In spring 2020, the IDP 316: Critical Design Thinking course tackled issues related to climate change. Inspired by the College’s Year on Climate Change Initiative, Instructor Emily Norton worked with the Center for the Environment (CEEDS) to identify meaningful projects for students to apply their design thinking knowledge and skills. While the course is always hands-on and collaborative with students working in teams on projects, the students also worked with CEEDS staff to develop their design solutions. Projects included investigating how to better communicate the college’s carbon neutrality efforts, storytelling around climate change and its impacts, creating better indoor environments for informal learning, and turning a maker-space zero waste.

PSY 240 Collquium: Health Promotion

During the fall 2020 semester, students in Professor Benita Jackson’s PSY 240 Colloquium: Health Promotion class drafted policy memos addressed to President McCartney that proposed sustainable initiatives to address environmental issues on campus. The students’ policy memos were informed by the annual UN Climate Change Report and psychology research on how emotion and motivation can effectively frame messages and promote behavior change. Jackson’s goal for the course was for students to have “broadened their idea of health promotion to include work to halt the climate crisis and appreciate how psychology—identity, motivation, emotion—is so central to this project that affects all life.”

Read more in this article by Amanda Chisolm ’21