Bachelor in Environmental Studies


Program Description

How We're Different

  1. Aquinas is one of only two liberal arts colleges in Michigan to offer a geography major.
  2. Faculty have expertise in the triad of geography: physical geography, human geography, and geographic techniques.
  3. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through faculty-directed research projects(e.g, Mohler-Thompson Summer Program) and internships in the local community (e.g, City of Grand Rapids, Grand Valley Metro Council, Michigan Department of Transportation, and others).
  4. Aquinas geography graduates are employed in a wide variety of jobs including: urban planner, dam inspector, property tax assessor, environmental educator, GIS director, and college professor.
  5. A strong, broad curriculum in geography prepares students well to continue on to graduate school. Since 2006, 100% of graduates applying to geography graduate programs have been awarded assistantships or fellowships.
  6. In the past 10 years, geography majors have gone on to study at graduate schools across the U.S. and the world including: Syracuse University, University of Oregon, University of Georgia, Rutgers University, Cal Poly, University of Wyoming, Swansea University(Wales), University of Texas at Austin, and numerous regional institutions.
  7. Graduate David Baylis ’06 was a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in Turkey for 2014.
  8. Both cartography (map making) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) are full semester classes, giving students a strong background in geographic techniques.
  9. We use the same GIS software as local, state, and federal agencies, so that students have the skills for entry-level employment in the field of GIS.
  10. Most geography programs are found in large universities where faculty work mostly with graduate students, but at Aquinas, our geography undergraduates are our only majors.

Environmental Studies Major

Students whose interest and coursework are concentrated in science will earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, while those more interested in human/cultural courses will earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.

Students opting for the Environmental Studies program should arrange the negotiable courses and/or the environmental field experience with the consent of the Environmental Studies coordinator and/or advisor, and their academic advisor. None of the 32 semester hours is applicable to the student’s first major. Any student who completes the major courses, plus the appropriate credit in a major field or departmental concentration, may graduate with a double major in such fields as Biology-Environmental Studies, Geography-Environmental Studies, Chemistry-Environmental, Sociology-Environmental Studies, et al.

A student may pursue an Environmental Studies major as a second major along with any other major.

Major Requirements

Thirty-two (32) semester hours. Required (CORE) courses:

  • EL100 Introduction to Environmental Studies (3) NN
  • EL301 Advanced Environmental Studies (3)
  • GY101 Earth Environments (4) NL
  • BY123 Introduction to Environmental Biology (3) NL
  • CY101 Environmental Chemistry (3) NL OR CY102 Chemistry for Non-Major (3) NL
  • GY120 Human Geography (4) PGC, GP OR SY103 Cultural Anthropology (3) PCG, GP
  • GY385 Geographic Information Systems - GIS (4)
  • EL490 Advanced Techniques and Topics (4)
  • EL499 Environmental Studies Capstone Research Seminar (1)
  • SB100 Industrial Ecology (3)

Students may gain credit toward an Environmental Studies major by enrolling in the following:


  • EL310 Special Topics in Environmental Studies (3)
  • SB201 Environmental Business Management (3)
  • GY370 Geography of Water Resources (3)
  • EL/PS/SB346 Environmental Policy and Politics: Issues & Approaches (3)
  • EL395 Field Experience in Environmental Studies (Variable)
  • EL398 Readings in Environmental Studies (Variable)
  • EL399 Independent Project in Environmental Studies (Variable)

Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in courses they wish to count towards their Environmental Studies major.

Last updated Jun 2019

About the School

Aquinas College, an inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic and Dominican tradition, provides a liberal arts education with a global perspective, emphasizes career preparation focused o ... Read More

Aquinas College, an inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic and Dominican tradition, provides a liberal arts education with a global perspective, emphasizes career preparation focused on leadership and service to others, and fosters a commitment to lifelong learning dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the common good. Read less