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New Majors at Fordham Put Emphasis on the Environment


Fordham University will offer two new majors to students in the 2009-2010 academic year. Environmental Science and Environmental Policy will be available to students at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) and Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). The new majors are similar in name, but are not directly related.

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary science major that will provide students with a solid foundation in scientific principles and their application to the environment, said Donna N. Heald, Ph.D., associate dean for science education at FCRH.

“This major will prepare students to be scientists,” Heald said of the environmental science major. “The emphasis is on a variety of science courses. It has a rigorous curriculum using an integrated systems approach that combines concepts and methods across the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and environmental science.”

Following the solid scientific grounding in the first two years, upper division students will be provided specialized courses such as applied statistics, tropical ecology and environmental chemistry. They will be required to complete and independent science research project on an environmental topic or an internship at an environmental firm or government agency.

“It allows students to choose electives that will be tailored toward their major,” Heald said. “As a faculty, we are pretty excited to offer an interdisciplinary major. I was at an event recently and a potential student and his father mentioned they were glad to see this major offered at Fordham.”

The Environmental Policy major will offer students a multidisciplinary course of studies focused on the social values and policy dimensions of environmental issues, such as climate change.

It is a first in Fordham’s history, said John Van Buren, Ph.D., director of the environmental policy program and professor in the Department of Philosophy.

“The program reflects Fordham University’s mission of ‘men and women for others’ and ‘respect for the environment’ in that students are given the opportunity to serve the greater good in the areas of ecological literacy, citizenship, stewardship, sustainable development, environmental justice and future generations, effecting positive change in a world governed by complex scientific, social, economic, political and ethical interactions and processes,” Van Buren said.

The environmental policy major, which replaces the environmental studies minor, will include courses in philosophy, natural science, anthropology, history, economics, political science, design, literature and theology, as well as real-time New York City internships and study-abroad opportunities to gain international experience.

“In the past, the environmental studies minor has graduated 15 students per year, who have gone on to successful graduate studies and careers in environmental areas of philosophy, natural science, medicine, engineering, law, government, business, architecture, urban planning, education, communications and media, and not-for-profit public organizations,” Van Buren said.


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