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 Environment, Society, and Culture Minor

The Watershed Institute oversees the Environment, Society, and Culture minor at UW-Eau Claire.  This is a general description of the requirements for this minor, though please keep in mind that classes change, and new opportunities appear every year!  Click here to see a brochure that includes reactions to the program by students and frequently asked questions. 


Liberal Arts (Code 489-401)(as taken from 2010-2011 Catalogue)

Contemplation of the environment raises many questions, some of them clearly scientific in nature: "What chemical is polluting the river? What are that chemical's toxicological properties, and how will they affect the ecosystem?" Some of the questions raised transcend the purely scientific perspective: "Who is dumping that chemical in the river? Why did they make that choice—was profit involved? Mere carelessness?" Or "Do any societal needs drive demands for this chemical? Can those needs be met in alternative ways?" And "Who lives by the river, what socio-economic conditions brought them there and how are they affected by this chemical's presence?" Or again—"What laws pertain to the river? To whom does the river 'belong'?" Such questions, equally important and as intellectually challenging as the purely scientific inquiries, in fact provide a larger context for the science. To ask this full range of questions is to think ecologically—that is, with an awareness of the entire mechanism—about environmental issues.

The Environment, Society, and Culture minor is designed to enable students to probe the human dimensions of environmental issues through a variety of courses crossing many disciplines. Built around a core science requirement, the program is rounded out with courses in ethics, philosophy/religion, economics—courses that look at social conflict and the policy that engenders and addresses conflict. This minor is open to all students; while perhaps best suited to students majoring in the humanities and social sciences, it is designed to be flexible so that students can tailor it to meet their particular needs and interests.

This minor requires a minimum of 24 credits, of which at least 12 credits must be from courses numbered 300 and higher.

  1. At least one gateway course: Biol 180, Chem 127, Geog 178, Geol 130 and 131, or Enph 210
  2. At least one course from the "Ethics and Spirituality" category: Rels 290, Phil 320, or Wmns 375
  3. At least two courses from the "Socioeconomic Perspectives" category: Econ 268; Enph 480; Geog 369, 445; Pols 346; Soc 310
  4. Natural Science Focus Area: A two-course sequence in a natural science chosen from the following options:
    1. Biol 110 and 328
    2. Chem 115* and 304 (Note: Chem 103 and 104 may be used in lieu of Chem 115 but only six credits may be counted toward the minor from these courses.)
    3. Geol 115, and 301 or 30
    4. Geog 104, and 304 or 340 or 361
  5. Additional courses selected from those listed above or from the options below to reach a total of 24 credits. Biol 329; Engl 415; Enph 441, 445, 450; Geog 270, 350, 365, 368, Geog/AIS 322; Math 108; Soc 314 

Note : Credits from other courses may be applied as electives, pending adviser and college approval, when they focus specifically on environmental topics. Examples of such courses include: Chem 100, Engl 110, Hnrs courses, Idis 151-155, Idis 351-355, and Nrsg 255. Also, various departments may offer special topics courses, directed studies courses, independent study courses, and/or internships that may also apply.

For advising, see Professors R. Cronje (HHH-725) English, J. Phillips (P-451) Chemistry, G. Running (P-253) Geography, or C. Pierce (HSS-213/NUR-247) Public Health Professions.