Related Information


Ken Klitgaard

Kent Klitgaard, Professor of Economics

Co-Author of Energy and the Wealth of Nations, founding member of the International Society for Biophysical Economics,former carpenter, aging surfer

"What motivates me?....Trying to find a way for humanity to live within nature's limits in an age where the limits are closer than most everyone realizes."

Environmental Science

Imagine a classroom complete with animals, trees, lakes, streams, and rivers and-no walls. Now picture yourself in an environmental science classroom at Wells College.

Here, our classrooms are intimately linked to the spectacular natural setting that surrounds the Wells campus, allowing for a sense of place as well as an appreciation of both nature’s awesome beauty and its impact upon the human experience. The major is by nature multidisciplinary. The science of environmental problems is analyzed in the broader context of environmental policy and human value systems. This multidisciplinary approach enables students to better understand the complexity of the human-environment relationship and to use that knowledge to improve our world for this generation and for generations to come.

The number of courses required for the major is the equivalent of 14 courses of 3-4 semester hours each (45-50 semester hours). Off-campus study courses may substitute for some of the requirements.

Environmental Science faculty:

Wells students in the environmental science major choose between diverse applications of the discipline, focusing on topics including biology, chemistry, physics, political science, and more. All work with Wells' own Professor of Environmental Science Niamh O'Leary, who continually demonstrates her extensive knowledge and deep understanding of the issues we face, potential solutions, and the process for bringing these answers to the surface. Read more about our faculty.

Internships and Study Abroad

Environmental Science majors experience a wealth of hands-on learning in surroundings areas, including Cayuga Lake. Many also choose internships with direct environmental contact or discover government and private sector positions involving policy, values, and scientific research. Wells alumnae who are established leaders in their fields often provide internship opportunities for current students. The following is a sample of internships recently held by environmental science students at Wells:

  • Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Ithaca, NY 

  • Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY 

  • Upstate Freshwater Institute, Syracuse, NY 

  • Rogers Environmental Interpretation Institute, Sherburne, NY 

  • US Forest Service, Gorham, NH

Explore complex ecosystems in Cork, Ireland while you discover how other countries grapple with environmental phenomena. Focus on coastal studies in Baja, Mexico, or wildlife in Kenya. Take a summer to explore sustainable development in Costa Rica, or explore marine resources on South Caicos Island in the Caribbean. Wells makes it possible. Environmental Science majors can pursue fascinating programs across the country and around the world – Check out our off-campus study programs.

Co-Curricular Opportunities

Develop your scientific interests further with out-of-the-classroom opportunities for learning and fun! Use your understanding of ethics and responsible policy to make a change for the better – either on campus or in the world at large. Below are just a few clubs and activities that might catch your interest:

  • Collegiate (student government) 

  • Amnesty International 

  • Community Court 

  • Student Committee on Inclusive and Intercultural Excellence
  • Outdoor Club 

  • Wells Greens