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The Program

Program Description
The Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program (ESSP) is a multidiscipline program for students and faculty across the college. It brings together a rich grouping of courses, ongoing projects, campus programs, and speakers so that students can develop their own ways to combine the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to study and work on environmental and sustainability topics.

Through the ESSP Program Hampshire students develop a truly interdisciplinary, project-based course of studies that allows them to tackle—with the help of faculty and other students—complex, real-world issues. This is just the preparation that college graduates need to face the difficult environmental problems and challenges of today.

Division I in ESSP
Division I at Hampshire is accomplished mainly in the first year. By taking problem and issue-based courses, students begin the process of asking their own questions and building on the progress of other professionals before them.

Through their courses students might work on an electrical generating windmill at the Farm Center, assess concentrations of arsenic from historical spraying in our apple orchards, count and observe migrating birds from our aerial walkway, or assess environmental justice issues in nearby postindustrial cities.

Division II in ESSP
Students accomplish their concentration, Division II, during their second and third years, and they design their concentrations with the guidance of a faculty committee. Each Division II is unique and includes courses, internships, and projects. ESSP students especially interested in the sciences might focus on geology, chemistry, biology, ecology or agriculture.

Students focusing in social sciences may study economics, environmental politics and planning or historical aspects of sustainability. Others might choose a more interdisciplinary path and integrate the social and natural sciences or humanities and sciences. Most ESSP concentrations are by nature interdisciplinary.

  • Programs, both international and national, are often central to students’ ESSP concentrations. Through the many and diverse opportunities available literally world-wide, students gain authentic experience critical for Division III (the senior thesis).

Some example Division II titles in different areas are:

  • » Environmental Science: Conservation Biology; Geology With Focus on Climate Change; Environmental Chemistry
  • » Agriculture: Creating a Sense of Place; Agriculture: Bioregionalism and Sustainability; Ethnobotany
  • » Design and Technology: Alternative Energy Design and Implementation; Solar and Wind Engineering
  • » Sustainable Communities: Land Use and Development in Hadley, Massachusetts: Helping Diverse Ideas Lead to Healthy Decisions; Cultural Ecology; Sustainable Community Design

Division III in ESSP
Division III includes an in-depth project that students work on during their final year at Hampshire. Many ESSP students do summer field projects or internships on and off campus and then return to campus to write a thesis under the supervision of their Division III committee.

Example Division IIIs in ecology and conservation; geology and chemistry; policy and history; community development; entrepreneurship and invention; and agriculture and nature writing are listed below:

  • » A Tale of Two States: Progressive Land Use in the U.S.
  • » The Ecology and Politics of an Introduced Species in Lake Tahoe
  • » Wind Energy: Working Towards a Sustainable Energy Path
  • » Using Native Plants to Engage and Educate Community
  • » Sea Turtle Restoration Biology and Ethics
  • » A Vegetable Oil Powered Diesel Car
  • » Children of the Corn: The Effects of Food Expenditure on Stable Carbon Isotopes in Hair
  • » Video Production of Environmental Issues
  • » Environmental Education: A Mexican Case Study

Contact Us

Charlene D'Avanzo
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

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