Hiram College

Helping students become systems-thinkers

Environmental studies is one of the fastest growing undergraduate areas of study, and Hiram College was a pioneer in the field. Students who enroll in the major care about the Earth, enjoy "big picture" analysis and thrive in our hands-on learning environment. The program integrates scientific and social components of the environment, preparing students for work in conservation, pollution, health and environmental policy.

Michael Benedict Headshot

Michael Benedict, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Chair

Environmental Studies ModelExamining the whole picture

Along with problem-solving skills, creativity and versatility, systems-thinking is a trait widely sought by employers, and is an absolute necessity for responding to the complex problems of our time. Because “environmental issues” are always also social issues, understanding them requires knowledge of natural and human social systems, and how they interact. The Environmental Studies major and minor are specially designed to help students attain, integrate, and convey the diverse knowledge and skills needed to understand and address complex socio-environmental problems.

The foundation of the program includes training in natural systems, human social systems, means of effectively communicating about complex interdependent systems, and relevant practical skills. In addition, Environmental Studies majors identify one of three areas of emphasis—Natural Systems, Human Social Systems, or Communicating Complexity—that best matches their interests and personal and professional goals. With the help of an adviser, each student then crafts a personalized combination of elective courses within that area of emphasis.

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