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Environmental Studies Program, Whitman College

Information for this profile was provided by Kevin Pogue in 2007. Information is also available on the program website.

Jump down to Overview and Context * Connecting to the Future of Science * Goals and Assessment * Courses and Sequencing * Additional Materials

Overview and Context

The Whitman College environmental studies program curriculum. Diagram constructed by Carol Ormand from information provided by Kevin Pogue. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The hallmarks of this program are its multidisciplinary organization, and local and regional empirical emphasis. Students wrestle with the challenges, and come to understand the necessities, of an interdisciplinary approach in the elucidation of any environmental problem. They develop a literacy in understanding their Walla Walla environmental address, so they can appreciate the deep links between their temporary community and the surrounding human and natural environments. Field trips and internship opportunities are a vital part of this experience.

This program is designed for geologically-oriented students who are more interested in the environmental aspects of the Earth Sciences.

Connecting to the Future of Science

The students are required to take environment-oriented courses in multiple disciplines. They are encouraged to appreciate the social and political implications of environmental geology. As populations expand, geologists need to better comprehend the social and political implications of what they do.

Goals and Assessment

From the course catalog: "A primary objective of the program is to aid the student in understanding that environmental problems are multi-causal phenomena, and to develop skills necessary for effective environmental citizenship and leadership."

In addition to typical exit evaluations, we solicit comments from alumni several years after graduation. We also track the students to see how many go on to graduate school or pursue careers in the environmental consulting field.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

Any of the following courses may serve as an introduction to the program:
  • The Physical Earth
  • Environmental Geology
  • Geology of the Pacific Northwest
  • Weather and Climate

Core courses

  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Internship
  • Environmental Citizenship and Leadership
  • Senior Project Preparation
  • History of the Earth
  • Field Geology of the Northwest
  • Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • Mineralogy
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Geomorphology
  • Structural Geology
  • Two Environmental Humanities courses
  • Two Social Sciences courses
  • Three Natural Sciences courses from three departments


  • Geophysics (The Physical Earth)
  • Cordilleran Tectonics (Structural Geology)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Volcanoes


  • Senior Seminar
  • Senior Project
  • A senior internship is also required.

Other required courses

  • General Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry II

Additional Materials

Environmental Studies Internship Reports
Environmental Studies Senior Projects in Geology