2014-2015 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 22, 2018  
2014-2015 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Global Environmental Studies Minor

Global Environmental Studies Overview

Undergraduate Program

Citizens of the world in the 21st century must deal with notoriously difficult environmental questions. How do we reduce our dependency upon fossil fuels? What can we do to reverse biodiversity decline? Is biotechnology safe for humans and other species? How will we achieve more economic justice and protect the environment at the same time? Will international institutions and social movements lead the way or will local environmental justice groups provide the real solutions?

Through an interdisciplinary approach, the global environmental studies major provides students with the knowledge and tools to understand the economic, political and cultural causes of environmental transformation, degradation and exploitation. More importantly, the major affords students opportunities, through research, internships and field work, to consider and develop solutions to environmental problems. Students will look at global and local environment issues through the eyes of people whose lives, livelihoods and ways of living are at stake in the process of economic, ecological, cultural and political change. Students will contend with the economic practices, laws and policies, cultural values and social norms that guide peoples’ relation with the living world in multiple locations with different climates, histories, economies and governing structures. Students will learn the histories, geographies and strategies of major social movements which have fought for environmental protection, cultural survival, biodiversity, food security, territory, common property and equitable distribution of resources.

International and local communities need professionals with a breadth of understanding of today’s complex realities. GES students can gain an understanding of multiple environmental issues, including: political economy; culture and environment; gender, race and ethnic studies; economic inequalities, global environmental change; environmental information science; environmental law and policy; geographic information systems; and social theory. With a customized program of study, students can prepare for careers in a variety of fields, including media, finance, law, advocacy, research, government, higher education, civil-society organizations, social movements and corporations. They will have the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to: sustainable livelihoods, healthy ecosystems, recovery from environmental damage, protection of indigenous and community ecologies, and innovative social, economic, and ecological alternatives for the future.

For details, students should consult the Guide to the Major/Minor, available on the GES Clark web page.

The Clark Advantage

Geography majors, Global Environmental Studies (GES) majors, and Environmental Science (ES) majors concentrating in Earth System Science (ESS) have the opportunity to work on research projects with faculty members and graduate students in one of the most prestigious graduate programs of geography worldwide. Summer Fellowships are available for qualified students to participate in the Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) program, an intensive summer academic-year research effort focused on environmental change in New England. Eligible majors also have the opportunity to enter the accelerated M.A. in GIScience program. Other accelerated M.A. programs include International Development and Social Change, Environmental Science and Policy, and Community Development and Planning.

Geography, GES, and ESS undergraduates are served by the Clark University Geography Association (CUGA) and Gamma Theta Upsilon, an international geographic honors society.

CUGA is the voice of Geography, GES, and ESS majors, with student representation on the undergraduate studies committee and in departmental meetings. CUGA representatives are able to vote at department meetings and give their ideas and opinions on various topics that concern undergraduate majors. They also attend field trips and host events, such as The CUGA Annual Address on Practicing Geography.

Gamma Theta Upsilon is an international honor society. In order to become members, initiates must have completed a minimum of three geography courses, have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.3, and have completed at least three semesters (or five quarters) of college course work. For more information on Gamma Theta Upsilon please see their official website.

Minor Requirements

Students wishing to minor in GES must complete a total of eight courses from the following components of the progam. Two courses may be double counted for the major and minor.

Breadth Component

Global Environmental Studies minors are required to take 5 breadth courses. Students are required to take one course from the GES State of the Earth list and one course fromthe GES Natural Science list. The remaining three courses must be chosen from the four remaining areas: Economics/Political Economy of the Environment; Government/Institutions; Civil Society and Social Movements; Culture and Environment.

Please refer to the GES major requirements for course listings and further details.

Depth Component

Global Environmental Studies minors must take 2 depth courses, at least one of which should be at the 200 level.

Please refer to the GES major requirements for course listings and further details.

Skills Component

One skills course is required.

Please refer to the GES major requirements for course listings and further details.

Global Environmental Studies Faculty


Anthony Bebbington, Ph.D.
Mark Davidson, Ph.D.
J. Ronald Eastman, Ph.D.
Jody Emel, Ph.D.
Karen Frey, Ph.D.
James McCarthy, Ph.D.
James T. Murphy, Ph.D.
Richard Peet, Ph.D.
Colin Polsky, Ph.D.
Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr, Ph.D.
Samuel Ratick, Ph.D.
Dianne Rocheleau, Ph.D. (Program Director)
John Rogan, Ph.D.
Christopher Williams, Ph.D.


Kiran Asher, Ph.D.
John Baker, Ph.D.
Denise Bebbington, Ph.D.
Halina Brown, Ph.D.
Sarah Buie, M.F.A.
Patrick Derr, Ph.D.
Timothy Downs, D.Env.
Jude Fernando, Ph.D.
William Fisher, Ph.D.
Jacqueline Geoghegan, Ph.D.
Robert Goble, Ph.D.
Barbara Goldoftas, Ph.D.
Todd Livdahl, Ph.D.
Bruce London, Ph.D.
Paul W. Posner, Ph.D.
Jennie Stephens, Ph.D.


Douglas Johnson, Ph.D.
Roger Kasperson, Ph.D.
Robert Kates, Ph.D.
B. L. Turner, Ph.D.


Robert Mitchell, Ph.D.

Off Campus Affiliated

Scott Jiusto, Ph.D - Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Rob Krueger, Ph.D - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Global Environmental Studies Courses