Sustainability and Environmental Studies

Division II Chair: N. Gift


Program Chair: P. Smithson (Fall 2016), N. Gift (Spring 2017)


Faculty: N. Gift and P. Smithson




Courses: SENS Courses


Major/Minor Requirements: Sustainability and Environmental Studies Minor


Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) is an interdisciplinary program centered on ecological design—the purposeful integration of human actions with the structures and functions of the natural world. The goal of the SENS program is to help students acquire the knowledge and practical skills necessary to prosper in a world that faces unprecedented threats to environmental and economic well-being, while contributing to the development of resilient communities and a sustainable society.

The College does not offer a major in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. However, students interested in proposing an Independent Major in this area should consult with the SENS Program Chair or faculty members.

In addition to supporting students' achievement of the Aims of General Education, the Sustainability & Environmental Studies Program seeks to assist students in meeting the following learning goals and associated learning outcomes:

SENS Student Learning Goals and Outcomes

Learning Goal 1: Understand Ecology, Sustainability, and Ecological Design

Learning Outcome 1.1: Biophysical Underpinning of Human Economy
Understand the biophysical underpinnings of the human economy.

Learning Outcome 1.2: Basic Principles of Exponential and Logistic Growth

Predict future growth of a population, given the carrying capacity and an example growth rate from that population at some moment in the past.

Learning Outcome 1.3: Thorough Knowledge of Primary Threats to Economic and Social Sustainability

Obtain a thorough knowledge of the primary threats to economic and social sustainability including peak oil, climate change, population growth, environmental degradation, and social anarchy.

Learning Outcome 1.4: Fundamentals of Ecological Design

Comprehend the fundamentals of ecological design–the purposeful integration of human actions with the structures and functions of the natural world–and the importance of knowledge of place in successful ecological design.

Learning Outcome 1.5: Effective Communication

Effectively communicate, orally and in writing, about topics, skills, and challenges in Sustainability and Environmental Studies.
Learning Goal 2: Acquisition of Practical Skills

Learning Outcome 2.1: Master Practical Skills

Master practical skills for increasing household resilience in one or more areas including food, energy, water, shelter, health.

Learning Outcome 2.2: Acquire Practical Skills

Acquire practical skills for increasing community resilience.
Learning Goal 3: Thinking Broadly and About the Future

Learning Outcome 3.1: Understand Complexity

Understand complexity and the need to examine the world through multiple lenses and perspectives.

Learning Outcome 3.2: Moral Imperative of Serving

Appreciate the moral imperative of serving as good stewards of a world that they have borrowed from future generations.

Sustainability & Environmental Studies Course Sequencing Table: 

Please be aware that the Course Sequencing Table below represents current planning and is subject to change based on faculty availability and student interest. It is not meant to represent any guarantee to the student that the courses will be offered in the term in which they are currently planned.

Course Summer 17 Fall 17 Spr 18 Fall 18 Spr 19 Summer 19 Fall 19 Spr 20 Fall 20 Spr 21
SENS 100   x x x x   x x x x
SENS 215 (APS)     x     x  
SENS 225 (AFR/WGS/PSJ/APS) x   x   x   x  
SENS 310     x       x  
SENS 320   x     x   x  
SENS 328 (ANR)   x         x      
SENS 340 x       x         x
SENS 345 (TAD)       x       x
SENS 394 as needed                  
SENS 460                    
SENS 494 as needed