The goals of the Hamilton College Environmental Studies Program are to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and interdisciplinary perspectives to understand the causes and consequences of, as well as potential solutions to, the world’s pressing environmental challenges, and to enable them to become environmentally conscious citizens.
About the Major
Environmental Studies addresses the challenges of creating a just and sustainable future in the face of the climate crisis, environmental problems, and inequality from local to global scales. At Hamilton, students in Environmental Studies work with interdisciplinary faculty in environmental justice, environmental data science, and climate change, as well as with faculty from other disciplines to develop the skills and perspectives needed to tackle these problems.
Students Will Learn To:
- Explain the causes of, impacts of, and potential solutions to climate change
- Analyze how history, power, and identity shape environmental justice
- Apply appropriate research methods to answer a research question about a pressing environmental problem
A Sampling of Courses
Changing Arctic Ecosystems
An examination of the primary literature on environmental and climate change in Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems. We will investigate the interplay between anthropogenic, physical, and biological processes in high latitude regions. We will explore current research on the cycling of water, carbon and energy throughout high latitude ecosystems and the potential for these regions to amplify global climate change.
Explore these select courses:
Archaeology offers the opportunity to examine social-ecological systems over long time scales. This course explores different ways of conceptualizing these systems and considers major topics such as: decreasing biodiversity, traditional ecological knowledge, human-environment interactions related to food production, social responses to natural disasters and climate change, and resilience and collapse of past societies. We’ll engage with discussions on sustainability and our ecological impact on the environment.
This course will focus on the application of statistical programming for big data associated with ongoing environmental issues. Students will gain experience in statistical programming throughout the entire data life cycle including data management and provenance, analysis, visualization, and communication. Students will learn the fundamentals of applying statistical modelling and machine learning for making predictions and inferences for environmental data. Students will also learn considerations of data science that are unique to environmental data including spatial, temporal, ethical, and justice concerns. Environmental topics will include climate change, pollution, natural disasters, and agricultural impacts.
Meet Our Faculty
Professor of Anthropology, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
complex hunter-gatherers in the interior Pacific Northwest; the forager/farmer transition in Southwest Asia; rural coastal adaptations in western Ireland
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Environmental philosophy (esp. environmental justice & Indigenous environmental philosophy), decolonial philosophy, soundscape studies, hermeneutics, and philosophy of race
Elizabeth J. McCormack Professor of Literature
Romantic period literature; animals in literature; animal rights; nature writing – literature and environmentalism; cultural and political history of the Adirondack Park
Lecturer in Environmental Studies
food system, regenerative agriculture, soil health science, plant nutrition, climate-smart farming, reclamation agriculture for underserved communities, community engagement, food business, entrepreneurship, food safety
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in environmental studies are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Corps Member, Teach for America
- Chair, Department of Rheumatology, Cleveland Clinic
- Trip Leader, Naturalists At Large
- Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
- Policy Coordinator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Clinical Research Coordinator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Program Assistant, Natural Resources Defense Council
Explore Hamilton Stories
Artificial intelligence and climate change are among the very foremost hot-button issues of today. This summer, a project by Adam Koplik ’25 and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Heather Kropp is using one to explore the other—by employing machine learning to measure vegetation change in the Arctic.