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6 of Our Favorite Colleges that Offer Experiential Environmental Studies Opportunities

The environmental studies departments at these six colleges and universities are strong, and place a premium on hands-on learning out in the woods, on the waters, and in the communities connected to each school.

1. Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, recently marked 50 years of environmental studies at the school. Students have the chance to do fieldwork in many of their classes, including oceanography, in which they visit the Casco Bay to study the ocean’s role in and response to climate change. There also fellows awarded grants for summer study at the college’s scientific station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy.

2. UC Davis’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers 26 different majors, including environmental horticulture and urban forestry; and atmospheric science. The college has a focus on hands-on research and problem solving.

3. The environmental studies department at Eckerd College takes full advantage of the school’s location directly on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Students conduct research in nearby mangrove, palm, and marsh habitats. An in-the-field internship is a required part of the major.

4. In addition to their work in the classroom, Oberlin College environmental studies majors have spent time canoeing and testing water quality in the Lake Erie watershed and working with Indigenous people in Alaska on climate justice initiatives, among other projects out in the field.

5. At the University of Oregon in Eugene, the environmental studies and science majors emphasize practical, hands-on learning through internships and research on campus or out in the field. Students can choose from among dozens of available electives, including biological oceanography and fire and natural disturbances; in-the-field coursework is built into the majors.

6. Students at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources have done intensive field courses in countries including Zimbabwe and New Zealand. They are also required to do work outside the classroom, whether in local government or out in the Vermont wilderness.

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