2000-01 Bulletin Entry for:

Environmental Studies Program


Awareness of the mutual impact of human activity and the natural environment is rapidly growing. On scales as different as personal hygiene and international trade agreements, decisions increasingly reflect environmental concerns and understanding. This broad range of issues can be successfully approached from the vantage point of several traditional disciplines. Yet, no single field is truly representative of, or adequate for, the study of "the environment." Accordingly, the Brandeis Environmental Studies Program aims to expand disciplinary training in the social and natural sciences to assure adequate grounding in environment-related sub-fields, but also to complement such training with similarly relevant courses outside a student's main field of concentration. This combination is designed to provide a broad, trans-disciplinary base for employment or future professional training.

How to Become a Program Member

The program is open to students from any field of concentration. The requirements may be met with specific courses in the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, and must also include a practical component of an environmental problem, and a senior research paper (that may serve as a thesis in the student's concentration), or a structured internship experience. Some students may elect to receive field training in specialized subjects, e.g., marine biology, sustainable development, tropical ecology. The program maintains extensive files of such off-campus opportunities. Students may register for the program, seek guidance in course selection, off-campus training, and paper topics, by contacting the Environmental Studies Program faculty advisor as early in their Brandeis career as possible. Registered participants will receive information on courses and campus events.


Brian Donahue, Chair

(American Studies)

Joyce Antler

(American Studies)

Richard Gaskins

(American Studies, Legal Studies)

Laura Goldin

(American Studies)

Judy Herzfeld


Adam Jaffe


Attila Klein


Requirements for the Program

A. Two semester courses chosen from Group I (Environment and Society).

B. Two semester courses chosen from Group II (Environment and the Natural World).

C. Successful completion of AMST 20a (Environmental Issues).

D. Either successful completion of ENVS 97a or b (Senior Essay) (or an approved Senior Honors Thesis submitted to any department); or successful completion of ENVS 92a or b (Environmental Internship).

Special Note on Off-Campus Courses

Through our membership in the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Consortium, competitively selected students may satisfy some of the above requirements by participating in the Semester in Environmental Science offered each fall at the MBL in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Brandeis is also affiliated with the School for Field Studies and the Marine Studies Consortium (MSC). Both offer programs of special interest to those enrolled in the Environmental Studies Program. (MSC courses are sometimes over-subscribed and enrollments must be redistributed among member schools. Enrolling through Brandeis does not guarantee final acceptance into MSC courses).

Courses of Instruction

ENVS 11b Water Resources Management and Policy

Signature of Professor Donahue required. Offered under the auspices of the MSC and open to Brandeis students by petition.

An advanced interdisciplinary seminar examining past and current water supply issues and exploring the uncertain future of our water supply. The Boston metropolitan area water supply system is used as a case study. Water is looked at from scientific, historical, and political viewpoints. Usually offered every fall (at Brandeis).

Mr. Donahue (Brandeis coordinator)

ENVS 12b Introduction to Marine Mammals

[ sn ]

Prerequisite: A college-level biology course. Signature of Professor Donahue required. Offered under the auspices of the MSC and open to Brandeis students by petition.

Designed to familiarize students with the biology and natural history of marine mammals, with an emphasis on whales, dolphins, and seals of the western North Atlantic. Topics include evolution, anatomy, behavior, field identification, the history of whaling, and contemporary conservation issues. Usually offered every spring at Northeastern University.

Mr. Klein (Brandeis coordinator)

ENVS 13b Coastal Zone Management

Signature of Professor Donahue required. Offered under the auspices of the MSC and open to Brandeis students by petition.

Introduction to the coastal environment, its resources, and its uses; impact of human activities; scope of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act; collaborative planning efforts by federal, state, and local governments; international applications of coastal management. Course includes case studies, guest speakers, and student presentations. Usually offered every spring (at Brandeis).

Mr. Donahue (Brandeis coordinator)

ENVS 14b The Maritime History of New England

Signature of Professor Donahue required. Offered under the auspices of the MSC and open to Brandeis students by petition.

The sea has shaped New England. Surveys the sea's legacy from the earliest Indian fishery to the shipbuilding and commerce of today. Examines historical, political, and economic developments. Particular attention is given to insights gleaned from the investigation of shipwrecks, time capsules of discrete moments from New England's past. Classes will include visits to museums, a field session at a maritime archaeology site, and guest lectures on current research projects. Usually offered every spring.

Mr. Donahue (Brandeis coordinator)

ENVS 92a and b Environmental Internship

Signature of Professor Goldin required.

Students work in environmental internship placements tailored to the students' academic program, interests, and skills. Internships are in public and private organizations focused on environmental policy, research, regulation, enforcement, and education. A classroom component is designed to provide an opportunity for analysis and discussion of the internship experience. Usually offered every semester.

Ms. Goldin

ENVS 97a Senior Essay

Signature of the instructor required.

Usually offered every year.


ENVS 97b Senior Essay

Signature of the instructor required.

Usually offered every year.


Core Courses

AMST 20a

Environmental Issues


Group I: Environment and Society

AMST 101a

American Environmental History

AMST 102a

Women and the Environment and Environmental Justice

AMST 104b

Waltham Environmental History: The Ecology of Community

AMST 191b

Environmental Research Workshop

ANTH 20b

The Development of Human Food Production

ANTH 55a

Models of Development: Third World

ECON 57a

Environmental Economics

ECON 175a

Introduction to the Economics of Development

ENG 60b

Writing about the Environment

ENVS 11b

Water Resources Management and Policy

ENVS 13b

Coastal Zone Management

ENVS 14b

The Maritime History of New England

HIST 128a

Ecological Imperialism: The Environmental Consequences of Early Modern Expansion

LGLS 132b

Environmental Law and Policy

POL 179a

Seminar: Politics and Hunger

POL 180b

Sustaining Development

SOC 175b

Environmental Sociology

Group II: Environment and the Natural World

An asterisk (*) indicates a course with multiple prerequisites.

AMST 105a

The Eastern Forest: Paleoecology to Policy


Human Reproduction, Population Explosion, Global Consequences


Organism and the Environment

BIOL 17b

Conservation Biology

BIOL 27a*

Aquatic Ecology

BIOL 28a*

Marine Biology

BIOL 30b*

Cetacean Biology and Conservation

BIOL 31b*

Biology of Fishes

BIOL 37b*

Biology of Extreme Environments

BIOL 60b*


BIOL 134b*

Topics in Ecology

BIOL 149b*

Molecular Pharmacology


The Planet as an Organism: Gaia Theory and the Human Prospect


Chemicals and Toxicity

CHEM 33a*

Environmental Chemistry

ENVS 12b

Introduction to Marine Mammals


Science and Development

Courses of Related Interest

FA 22b

History of Boston Architecture