News from John Wargo, EVST Chair

September 12, 2018

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the new term! Over the summer, we finished a 2-year revision of the EVST curriculum, and I want to highlight the key changes.

  1. We created a BS degree program 18 months ago, and now have 27 BA majors and 28 BS majors in the classes of 2019 and 2020.  The BS program allows students to address environmental, health, climate and other questions from lenses of several natural and physical sciences.  We encourage additional coursework in the social sciences and humanities to provide context, especially an understanding of how human behaviors influence environmental quality and related health. The BS degree program has become quite popular within the major, especially in the fields of ecology & conservation, medicine and public health and we have growing interest in both energy and climate science.  Please find requirements for the BS degree here
  2. The BA degree program no longer has prerequisites, as of May 2018.  We suggested this to the Yale College faculty to normalize EVST requirements with other BA majors in the Social Sciences and Humanities.  The new requirements are now similar to those demanded by Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Anthropology, History, and History of Science and History of Medicine.  Please find requirements for the BA degree here.
  3. The number of EVST students completing double majors is rising, as is the number of students taking advantage of the intensive concentrations available via Multidisciplinary Academic Programs in fields of Energy, Global Health, and Human Rights Studies.  These concentrations provide deeper specialization than EVST’s 6 course concentration requirement.
  4. We have revised all of our concentrations as well as current course offerings for 2018-19 to better define their purposes.  These will be kept up-to-date each term.  Please see these changes here.
  5. The new Environmental Justice concentration includes the study of justice, discrimination, morality, equality, human rights, property rights, democracy, transparency, compensation, vulnerability, and susceptibility. Courses in the concentration provide a path for fulfilling the Human Rights Studies Multidisciplinary Academic Program or for completing a double-major in Environmental Studies and any one of several related fields in the social sciences or humanities. Many thanks to Lekha Tlhotlhalemaje, Tien Tran, Lauren Kim, Kayley Estoesta, Ashia Ajani, Selah Bell and Skyler Chin for their help designing this major and for reviewing hundreds of courses throughout Yale’s undergraduate and graduate curriculum to provide an amazing diversity of options for those who wish to consider or adopt this field.  Also contributing importantly to the development of this concentration were Brittany Thomas (FES ’18) and Tasneem Islam (FES ’18). Read more about this concentration here.
  6. In the newly created Environmental Humanities concentration, students explore what it means to be human in a time of rapid global environmental change.  Understanding human relations with their environments and can be developed by the study of history, literature, art, architecture, film studies, philosophy, and anthropology. Interdisciplinary study in these fields and topics is also facilitated by the Yale Environmental Humanities Initiative, a forum for faculty and student scholarly engagement in these fields.   Read more about Environmental Humanities here.

These are some of the most significant changes made to the EVST major since it was created to stand alone in Yale College in 2003.  The efforts of our Student Advisory Committees during the past several years, and our Ad Hoc Environmental Justice Concentration Committee, provided crucial guidance to bring these innovations to life.  Thank you to all who contributed!

Very best wishes to you all for a successful term!