Emphasis of the Program
The aim of the Environmental Science major is to give students a solid foundation in the natural sciences (including mathematics) and social sciences that pertain to environmental issues and problems. The program is interdisciplinary, requiring students to take courses in at least eight different departments. Several of the courses (Environmental Economics, Environmental Politics) were designed specifically for the program. Other course work includes classes such as Ecology, Statistics, Analytical Chemistry, and Argumentation. Additionally, all participants in the program are required to complete an independent research project.
Although not all students choosing to major in Environmental Science are necessarily interested in pursuing scientific careers, all should have a firm foundation in the sciences that pertain to environmental concerns. They can thus be more effective lawyers, politicians, advocates, etc. (if those are careers they aspire to) than if they lacked training in the sciences. And they will be able to talk with biologists, chemists, and geologists more intelligently than those who do not have a firm grounding in these areas.
On the other hand, students interested in science-oriented careers in the environment need the perspective and context provided by the social science courses in the major. The social implications of environmental issues cannot be ignored, and the solutions to environmental problems are increasingly economically and politically charged.
Equipment - Facilities
The sciences at Monmouth have a tradition of intensive hands-on laboratory work, and the college is quite well equipped to support the natural science component of the major.
Newly acquired property within a 15- minute walk of campus dedicated as the LeSuer Nature Preserve is also used for field studies, course projects, and senior research. Several acres are being restored to native prairie and a large stream bisects the area. Riparian and flood plain forest also offer abundant opportunities for research in the expanding field of ecological restoration.
The college also maintains a small, freshwater pond and a native prairie plot for field projects. More information on these areas can be found under the BIOLOGY department heading in this catalog.
The Environmental Science major is intended to give students a broad yet firm foundation that can be used as a springboard into graduate/professional school or employment. The environmental field is extremely broad, ranging from environmental chemistry to wildlife management to environmental engineering to environmental law.
Students choosing the science concentration can emphasize biology, chemistry, or physics as all three disciplines have special fields related to environmental issues (e.g., conservation, toxicology, climatology).”
Therefore, we think it is important for students as soon as possible to attempt to define their interests in the environment. What is it they hope to do? environmental monitoring? toxicology? engineering? natural resource management? advocacy? law? politics? Do they hope to go directly into employment? or into graduate/professional school? Depending on the students' specific interests, they can appropriately plan their elective course work and plan to do research and/or internships along the lines of their interests.Off-campus Programs and Field Trips
ACM Tropical Field Research program-a semester-long program in Costa Rica. A month-long orientation prepares students through intensive language training and review of field methodology. Thereafter, students can conduct research in a diversity of Costa Rica's ecological zones. Numerous work/research internships involving environmental problems are available on a competitive basis.
ACM Tanzania Human Evolution and Ecology. This fall semester program begins with two months at the University of Dar es Salaam. Students are immersed in language study (Swahili) and courses in ecology and human evolution. Students choose a research topic in one of these two areas and travel to the Serengeti (or Olduvai Gorge/Laetoli human fossil sites) for their field work.
ACM Culture and Society in Africa (Botswana
) Program: Located at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, this interdisciplinary program gives students the opportunity to experience the breadth of Botswana society and to study its culture, language, politics, and socioeconomic structures. Courses include: a program director’s course, taught by a visiting faculty member from an ACM college in their own area of academic expertise, a Setswana language course, taught by professors from the African Languages department, an elective at the University of Botswana chosen from a menu of options (taught by University of Botswana faculty), and an independent study project. The program will be enriched by several field trips. Students will live in international graduate student housing.
ACM Brazil (2013): This program offers students an opportunity to study for a semester at Universidade de Brasilia (UnB) or the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF), one of Brazil's best-regarded universities. A wide variety of subject areas in the arts, humanities, sciences, environmental students and social sciences, as well as intensive Portuguese language, are offered. One option of this program focuses on environmental studies with an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural context. With the program’s global perspective, students can explore the interaction among environmental, agricultural, social, economic, and political forces, and the different solutions to environmental issues that may emerge in other regions and cultures.
Field-oriented courses at Monmouth College (e.g., Ecology, Field Botany) make frequent use of the Ecological Field Station, LeSuer Nature Preserve, the Spring Grove Prairie and other local settings. There are also occasional weekend trips to such places as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Horicon National Wildlife Refuge.
Graduate School Opportunities
There are numerous graduate/professional programs available in environmental science/policy and in specific areas of environmental studies (wildlife, toxicology, etc.).