The environmental studies program includes disciplinary majors in environmental biology, environmental chemistry, and environmental geology, and an interdisciplinary major and minor in environmental studies. The environmental studies majors and minor enable students to analyze the relationship between human society and the environment.
This relationship involves three major components that are interconnected:
- the effect that human populations have on the environment, including environmental degradation and restoration;
- the benefits humans derive from their environment, such as the services and natural resources used to sustain societies;
- the threat to humans from natural hazards such as landslides, earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions.
The interactions of humans with the environment are influenced by variations in the natural environment such as the geology, geography, climate, flora, and fauna, and also by variations in and characteristics of human cultures such as economics, government, and societal values and ethics.