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Undergraduate Environmental Courses

PEI's Program in Environmental Studies (ENV) offers undergraduate-and-graduate level courses that explore emerging themes in environment research from various disciplines, including the natural sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences.

The ENV program is responsive to the evolving demand for environmentally focused courses at Princeton. Courses focus on topics that include climate change; environmental policy and technology; environmental management; earth systems; environment and water; environmental justice; literature and the arts; environmental communications; global health; development; and sustainability and urban resilience.

In Spring 2017, Princeton introduced a unique new course, "The Environmental Nexus" (ENV 200A-F), which examined scientific, political, social and ethical aspects of the world's climate and environmental crises. The course is accessible to all majors and classes, and includes six precepts that students can choose from to supplement the main course

First-year Opportunities

Princeton undergraduates may pursue their academic interests in environmental studies starting their first year. The introductory survey courses, "Environmental Nexus" and "Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity and Energy" (ENV 201A/B), present the fundamentals of environmental studies. Each of these courses count toward the completion of the Generalist Track within the ENV Certificate.

When taken with the lab option, ENV 200B or ENV 201B  satisfies the undergraduate Science and Technology  with Lab (STL) distribution requirement. The lab component incorporates inquiry-based field study with lab exercises as a complement to course lecture material. Each year, multiple Freshman Seminar courses feature environmental themes.

Environmental Studies-approved Course Offerings

To assist students in course selection, the Environmental Studies Program publishes a list of approved course for the Certificate Program in both the fall and spring terms. These courses include electives offered by other departments that fulfill requirements for the ENV Certificate Program.

Students with specific interests in climate and energy, sustainable urban development, water and conservation and ecology may find Grand Challenges topics useful in charting their academic course of study.

Student-initiated Courses

PEI supports students' interest in emerging topics in environmental studies. In the past, PEI has facilitated the development of several student-initiated courses including: "Towards an Ethical CO2 Emissions Trajectory for Princeton," "Environmental Entrepreneurship," "Environmental Communications," "Farm to Fork: The State of America’s Food System Today", Investigating an Ethical Approach to Sustainability at Princeton", and "Science, Society, and Dinner".

Rebecca Lowy

— Rebecca Lowy, 2016
Geosciences Major


Vijay Chetty

— Vijay Chetty, 2012
Economics Major