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 Studies

Imagine a classroom complete with animals, trees, lakes, streams, and rivers and-no walls. Now picture yourself in an environmental studies 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 18 courses of 3-4 semester hours each (57-67 semester hours). At least six of these courses must be at the 300-level or above. Off-campus study courses may substitute for some of the requirements.


The student will choose one of the following concentrations. The equivalent of eight 3-4 semester hour courses are required for the environmental sciences concentration; eight courses are required for the environmental policies and values concentration. At least two of the chosen courses must be at the 300-level or above.

Environmental Sciences

The scientist in you will pursue an understanding of the environment and develop the ability to analyze the impact and the interactions of biological, chemical, and physical processes upon the ecosphere.

Environmental Policies and Values

If you wish to ensure that environmental policies reflect the underlying realities of nature, this concentration is for you. You will analyze the interaction between the environment, government, and economic systems, and you’ll gain an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of economic, historical, and political changes in their social and human contexts.

Internships and Study Abroad

Environmental Studies 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 studies 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 Studies 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