Environmental Studies

Our environmental studies program grows from our stated mission to act as stewards of the earth. It is the unique outcome of the talents of our faculty; our distinctive surroundings; our geographic proximity to freshwater and saltwater bodies, forests and farmland; and collaborations with local and regional groups such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Aquidneck Land Trust.

Our Program

Our program exposes students to the broad range of issues that arise from the interaction of humans with the natural world, and to the tools required to understand and solve environmental problems.

Coursework is drawn from fields such as biology, math, public policy, economics and cultural and historic preservation. Student-directed research leads to a thesis in the senior year, and majors are encouraged to address real-world problems through internships and field study.

Program Spotlight: Tree ID

True to the vision of our founders, we maintain a mission to preserve and protect 1,200 mature and exotic trees in our campus arboretum. As part of their coursework in Conservation Biology, environmental studies majors learn to appreciate and recognize this cultural treasure through an experiential learning program called “Tree ID.”

Students work with faculty members and local experts to understand the origins and the present-day structure of the arboretum. Providing hands-on instruction in this living learning environment enhances our educational mission while monitoring and maintaining our breathtaking natural canopy.

Our Faculty

In addition to teaching, we conduct research designed to enable undergraduates to gain hands-on experiences in field ecology and environmental sciences. Our work has been recognized with numerous awards from national and regional environmental organizations, and we are routinely invited to present peer-reviewed papers at major conferences around the globe.​

Meet Our Faculty

Life After Salve

Our graduates are uniquely prepared to work professionally on environmental issues found in every kind of workplace. As awareness of these issues grows, our graduates offer a strong combination of science and policy knowledge that make them an invaluable resource to organizations in a broad range of environments, including:

  • Federal, state and local government: Working as environmental planners, analysts and policymakers.
  • Corporations: Managing their compliance with environmental regulations and conducting audits of internal environmental efficiency.
  • Nonprofit organizations: Managing or protecting natural resources, spearheading fundraising and development, and supporting the organization’s mission through public relations.

Meaghan Senack ’16

From working with African penguins at the Mystic Aquarium to monitoring harbor seals in Narragansett Bay, Senack has done a lot in her young life. Today, she serves as programs and outreach coordinator at the Westerly Land Trust, where she works with local school groups and community organizations to promote environmental awareness. She credits the environmental studies program with giving her the versatility to handle any challenge.

I really feel like the program prepared me for anything. We get such a range of opportunities like internships and research projects that you feel totally prepared to work in the field. It’s a tight-knit community with so many connections to professionals in the real world. Choosing this major truly was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Rebecca Longvall ’15

For someone with a passion for the environment, Longvall says, there’s nothing like living and working on a campus by the ocean.

Salve’s location is incredible. It’s like having a laboratory right outside your back door.

A conservation agent for the town of Bolton, Massachusetts, Longvall works on wetland permitting and helps manage 2,000 acres of open space. She credits her experiences in the environmental studies program for teaching her the science behind the job – collecting data and monitoring trends – and so much more.

I work with the public every day, and every day I use something I learned at Salve. I loved everything about the program. I was really busy as a student-athlete, but the faculty took the time to keep me on track.

Zoe Moskwa ’15

Moskwa entered Salve as an undeclared freshman, and stayed that way until her sophomore year, when a General Biology course changed her life.

 It really opened my eyes. What I learned connected a lot of things I was concerned about, like ecology and sustainability. Until then, I didn’t even know such a career path existed.

As a recruitment specialist with American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit that partners with the National Park Service, Moskwa helps students find internship opportunities that serve the same interests as hers.

 I really fed off the passion I saw in Dr. Chace, and now I try to pass it along to the students I work with. In some small way I hope I can help inspire people who care about the environment as much as I do.

Major in Environmental Studies (B.A.)

16 courses | 46-48 credits

Required courses:

  • BIO140: Humans and Their Environment
  • BIO255: Conservation Biology
  • CEG222: Research Methods
  • CEG390: Current Issues
  • CEG450: Capstone
  • CHP290: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • ECN101: Introductory Macroeconomics
  • ENV334: Environmental Justice
  • POL3XX: International Environment and Development

Students choose one of the following:

  • GLO100: Introduction to Global Studies
  • SOA110: The Sociological Imagination
  • SOA130: Anthropology: Interpreting Cultural Differences

Students choose two of the following:

  • BIO260: Marine Biology
  • BIO275: Tropical Biology
  • BIO310: Ecology
  • STA201: Statistical Methods

Students choose two of the following:

  • CHP260: The City as a Work of Art
  • ENV350: Natural Resource Management
  • RTS332: Care for Creation: Christianity, Ethics and the Environment

Students choose one of the following:

  • BIO390: Environmental Science Internship
  • ENV397: Environmental Studies Internship
  • ENV497: Undergraduate Research

Minor in Environmental Studies 

6 courses | 20-21 credits

Required courses:

  • BIO111: General Biology 1 or BIO140: Humans and Their Environment
  • BIO255: Conservation Biology

Students choose two of the following:

  • BIO200: Botany
  • BIO260: Marine Biology
  • BIO273: Flora and Fauna of New Zealand
  • BIO275: Tropical Biology
  • BIO310: Ecology

Students choose two of the following:

  • ENV334: Environmental Justice
  • ENV350: Natural Resource Management
  • POL213: Global Environmental Politics
  • RTS332: Care for Creation: Christianity, Ethics and the Environment