Combined Major

History-Environmental Studies Major


Environmental History studies the interactions between humans and the natural world in the past. Understanding environmental influences on human society and vice versa means using historical evidence from scientists that go beyond the written record (studies of ice cores, tree rings, animal behavior, chemical processes, etc.) This highly interdisciplinary field also draws on artistic and literary sources to delve into nature’s cultural impact on human societies and illustrate changing attitudes towards the natural world both before and after the concepts of environmentalism and the Anthropocene emerged. As an environmental historian, you will be able to better grasp the human condition as embedded in the broader environment through the ages. This leads to a deeper sense of the possibilities and limitations of humanity, how we have shaped our world and how the world has shaped us, from antiquity to our contemporary situation of environmental crisis.

Total credit requirements for a History-Environmental Studies major: 57 (32 credits in History and 25 in required coursework for all Environmental Studies majors)

Common Requirements for all Environmental Studies Majors

  • Required Courses
    • Introductory Coursework: Environmental Studies 120 and 207
    • Foundation Coursework: Fulfill the following requirements for the two areas outside of your area of concentration (arts and humanities, natural and physical sciences, or social sciences).
      • Environmental Arts and Humanities: Take two elective courses from the list below.
      • Environmental Natural and Physical Sciences: Take 7 credits in elective courses from the list below. Credits must come from at least two departments, and include at least one course with a lab.
      • Environmental Social Sciences: Take two elective courses from the list below.
    • Interdisciplinary Coursework: Take one interdisciplinary elective from the list below.
    • Senior Coursework: Environmental Studies 479
  • Additional Requirements
    • Fulfill all of the requirements for a major in a specific area of concentration, chosen from:
      • Environmental Arts and Humanities: Art-Environmental Studies or Environmental Humanities
      • Environmental Natural and Physical Sciences: Biology-Environmental Studies, Chemistry-Environmental Studies, Geology-Environmental Studies, or Physics-Environmental Studies
      • Environmental Social Sciences: Anthropology-Environmental Studies, Economics-Environmental Studies, History-Environmental Studies, Politics-Environmental Studies, or Sociology-Environmental Studies
  • Senior Requirements
    • Environmental Studies 479
    • Further requirements as specified by the chosen major
  • Honors
    • Specified within each major
  • Notes
    • Up to 8 transfer credits may be applied to a major in Environmental Studies.
    • No courses taken P-D-F can be applied toward the major.

Requirements for History-Environmental Studies Majors

  • Complete the Common Requirements for all Environmental Studies Majors (25 Credits)
  • Required History Courses
    • History 299 and a 390-level History seminar
    • History 401; and 402 or 498
    • History 231 or 232
    • Two additional History courses chosen from the following list of core Environmental History courses: History 120, 155, 205, 206, 231, 232, 262, 263, 307, 321, and 355
      • Other courses may be substituted with the approval of Environmental History faculty.
    • 8 credits in additional History courses not on the list of core Environmental History courses
  • Senior Requirements
    • History 401
    • History 402; or 3 credits of History 498 and 1 credit of Environmental Studies 498
    • Senior assessment in History, consisting of:
      • A substantive integrative essay (bringing together coursework across Environmental Studies), or a substantive research essay (conducting further research on an environmental history topic including environmental humanities and environmental science aspects), or an honors thesis
      • Oral exam based on the senior essay or thesis, touching on all three areas within Environmental Studies
  • Honors
    • Students submit an “Honors in Major Study Application” to their department.
    • Candidates enroll in three credits of History 498 and one credit of Environmental Studies 498.
    • Students must submit a proposal for their thesis or project within the first six weeks of the two-semester period in which they are eligible.
    • Accumulated at least 87 credits
    • Completed two semesters of residency at Whitman
    • Major GPA of at least 3.500
    • Complete a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of this program.
    • Earn a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis or project and the honors thesis course.
    • Pass the senior assessment with distinction.
    • The department will submit the honors applications to the Registrar’s Office of students pursuing honors by the specified deadline.
    • The department will submit the “Senior Assessment/Major Study Certificate” to the Registrar’s Office no later than Reading Day.
    • An acceptable digital copy of the honors thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library no later than Reading Day.
  • Notes
    • Only two History courses may be taken at the 100-level.
Item #
6 - 8
3 - 4
Sub-Total Credits
Total Credits