Get a head start on saving the planet

About Environmental Studies at Keuka College

Combine the humanities and science to gain the intellectual and scientific skills necessary to understand and impact the environmental issues of our time. As a student in the environmental studies minor, you’ll learn about the complex and crucial relationships between humans and the environment.

This minor will compliment any major by allowing you to approach environmental issues from multidisciplinary perspectives, providing an opportunity to work and learn with others who share your passion.

Environmental Studies Program Highlights

Real-World Seminar

During junior year, you’ll have the opportunity to research and present on a focused topic while also exploring graduate schools and career options in the field.

Find Your Passion

Find your passion by selecting courses in botany, ecology, evolution, geography, ethics, chemistry, or sociology.

Outdoor Classroom

Freshwater lakes, waterfalls, hiking trails, and forests make the Finger Lakes region the perfect outdoor classroom.

Explore Environmental Studies

Program Overview

Arm yourself with the environmental literacy you’ll need to address real-world challenges in the public or private sectors. Just as the strongest trees boast the deepest roots, this minor—offered through the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts—will provide you with a foundation in microeconomics, environmental ethics, geography, or environmental sociology.

Trek into careers in forestry, natural resource management, wildlife conservation, toxicology, sustainability, and more and build a background to understand a range of complex environmental issues.

Through a critical awareness of conflicting issues, your environmental studies coursework will give you the ability to provide solutions, express your individual ideas, and gain a mindset of continuous improvement. By examining multifaceted environmental concerns, you will see how our society and the choices we make can impact our natural resources and the world we live in.

Gain a professional advantage by incorporating the skills from your major with the knowledge and ability to research, examine, and contribute to a global perspective on environmental advocacy. A minor in environmental studies will strengthen a major in organizational communication, management, marketing, the natural sciences, education, social work, or liberal arts majors such as English, sociology, or political science.

Program Requirements

The Faculty

As an environmental studies minor, you’ll have the chance to work with professors from two distinctly different divisions: Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Humanities and Fine Arts.

Your natural science professors are world-class research scientists who will help you understand the technical side of environmental studies. Your humanities professors, who are accomplished philosophers, writers, poets, and artists, help you see the human side of environmental studies and its impact on mankind.

All the professors who teach in environmental studies, no matter what their area of expertise, are passionate and engaging teachers who want to see you succeed.

Faculty in the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts

Digital Literacy

Science and technology go hand-in-hand. As an environmental studies student, you’ll learn to master digital tools, systematic thinking, and data analysis—core skills for success in any science-related career.

You’ll have the opportunity to conduct experiments to collect data from our state-of-the-art laboratory instrumentation and use best-in-class mathematics, statistical, and scientific software to analyze and visualize to draw conclusions and make scientific arguments.


Numerous undergraduate research opportunities, both on-campus and off, have involved the nesting and migratory activities of birds, replanting of a nature trail after invasive species put it at risk, and defining factors for adoptive trends of dogs and cats at a no-kill shelter. Our students often present their work at regional and national scientific meetings, and some have even co-published with one of their professors in a peer-reviewed, academic journal.

In keeping with Keuka College’s emphasis on experiential learning, you’ll also become a scientist outside the classroom. You’ll be encouraged to work professors on independent research projects, and many students have had the opportunity to present the results of their work at professional conferences.


Keuka College boasts an ideal setting for you to observe the natural environment within independent research projects. Keuka College’s lakefront campus in New York’s Finger Lakes region is ideal for those interested in environmental studies.

The Jephson Science Center is one of the College’s most recently-renovated buildings. A highlight of the center is that the laboratories weren’t simply designed by architects, but by the professors who use and teach in them.

The equipment in our laboratory includes:

High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC)

The HPLC is used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. It carries liquids from glass bottles through thin plastic tubes, passing through several compartments containing an oven, vacuum pump, solution tray, and detectors for analysis.

Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS)

The GC/MS separates mixtures into individual components and identifies separate fragments so you can determine what the molecules are. The GC/MS features a rotating unit that can extract samples from a tray of up to 108 small vials at one time, conducting analysis as programmed by a small touch screen at the side. 

Connected to the CG/MS is a computer running high-performance software that converts the data readings of molecular ions into a bevy of colorful charts and graphs. Based on the peaks and plunges of a fragment’s chart, the computer searches a large digital library to find the closest match–all in a matter of seconds.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)

The FTIR contains an oval plate with a small diamond reflective element through which infrared light can pass. Connected to another computer running high-speed software, the FTIR is able to provide information about the identity of liquid or solid compounds.

Lambda-35 Ultraviolet Spectrometer

The UV spectrometer uses visible and ultraviolet light to determine the absorption spectrum of a solution, which will show how much light it absorbs across a range of wavelengths.  This information is then used to determine the concentration of particular chemical components.


Chi Beta Phi, the natural science, math, and psychology honor society, offers students the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and have their scholarly accomplishments recognized.

There are also numerous opportunities for students to explore, conduct research, or get involved with nearby community groups such as the Keuka Lake Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension, which offer students a chance to interact in their chosen field off campus.

On campus, the Center for Aquatic Research gives you the opportunity to conduct an independent study on the quality of the surrounding lake water.

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