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Environmental Sociology Major

Explore and Discover. Sociology offers conceptual tools and practical skill sets for making sense of human behavior in social contexts. Majors gain a broad understanding of our rapidly changing world.

The environmental sociology major, one of only a few of its kind in the country, studies the relationship between modern societies and the environment, addressing issues like environmental inequality and justice, green politics, green businesses, and green social movements. The program offers a solid introduction to sociology and sociological methods as well as environmental science. Majors graduate prepared for careers in government, law, management, research and teaching, and the nonprofit sector. We also offer an Honors Program, in which highly motivated and high-performing students complete an independent research project.

 

Degree Requirements | FAQ | Declaring a Major

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements  
Environmental Sociology MajorEnvironmental Sociology Major with Honors
Total Hours3336
Foundation Courses in Sociology
SOC 1020, 1020W, 1030 3 Hours3 Hours
SOC 3001 3 Hours3 Hours
Foundation Courses in Environmental Science
EES 1030, 1070, 1080, 1081, 1111*, 1140, 1510, 2110*, 2150, 2510*, 3220* 3310*, 4650*, 4680*, 4750*, 4820* 13 Hours3 Hours
Research Skills
SOC 2100 2 (or equivalent)3 Hours3 Hours
SOC 3002 33 Hours3 Hours
Environmental Sociology Core
SOC 3311, 3312, 3313, 3314, 3315, 3316, 3317, 3318, 3319, 3321, 3604, 3605, 3881,* 4961;* ENVS 4101, ENVS 4101W 15 Hours12 Hours
Honors
SOC 4981 N/A6 Hours

*Courses marked with an asterisk have prerequisites.
1At least one Environmental Sciences Core class must address climate-related issues.
2In lieu of SOC 2100, students may take ECON 1500 or 1510 or MATH 1011 or 2820. Students who double major in sociology and psychology or in sociology and the Peabody majors of human and organizational development, child development, cognitive studies, or child studies may also choose from PSY 2100 or PSY-PC 2110.
3In lieu of SOC 3002, students who double major in sociology and HOD may take HOD 2500.

Additional Requirements

Foundation Courses in Environmental Sciences:

  • Courses satisfying the climate-related issues requirement are EES 1080, 1081, 1140, 2110*, 2150, 2510*, 3310*, 4650*, 4680*, 4820*. Other EES courses may count as approved by the sociology department’s director of undergraduate studies.
  • Students in EES 1111 must receive approval from the department’s director of undergraduate studies for the course to count toward the major.

Research Skills Courses:

  • SOC 2100 should be taken before or concurrently with SOC 3002.
  • In lieu of SOC 3002, students who double major in Sociology and HOD may take HOD 2500.
  • In lieu of SOC 2100, students may take ECON 1500 or 1510 or MATH 1011 or 2820. Students who double major in sociology and psychology or in sociology and the Peabody majors of human and organizational development, child development, cognitive studies, or child studies may also choose from PSY 2100 or PSY-PC 2110.

Environmental Sociology Core:

SOC 3881 and 4961 may count as approved by the sociology department’s director of undergraduate studies.

Comprehensive Exam

All majors must take a comprehensive exam during their senior year in order to graduate. The exam is used for departmental self-assessment. It is not graded, and no grade will appear on the student’s transcript.

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FAQ

Environmental sociology studies the relationship between modern societies and the environment, addressing issues like environmental inequality and justice, green politics, green businesses, and green social movements. The program considers the full array of environmental problems and solutions, including waste and recycling, ecosystem destruction, water and air pollution, sustainable buildings and technologies, and natural resource and wildlife management. Students gain a solid introduction to sociology and sociological methods as well as environmental science.

The climate studies major focuses on climate change, its challenges, and its possible solutions. The interdisciplinary program explores climate change from a range of different perspectives and fields, incorporating the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

The Earth and environmental sciences major is based in the natural sciences, providing a grounding in the cycling of energy and materials through the Earth’s spheres.

Environmental sociology majors will take some Earth and environmental sciences courses as part of their degree program. Students can combine any of these majors into double majors, and can also add the interdisciplinary minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Note that there are limits on the number of courses that can count toward multiple majors simultaneously.

 No. At present, we offer only a major in Environmental Sociology.

 

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Declaring an Environmental Sociology Major

To declare a major in environmental sociology, take the following steps:

  1. Complete the Sociology Department New Majors & Minors Information Sheet and submit it online.
  2. Complete and sign the Undergraduate Major/Minor Declaration Form.
  3. Email the declaration form to sociology@vanderbilt.edu. Once received, the department will secure the required faculty signatures, submit the form to your home school’s academic services office for processing, and inform you of your sociology faculty adviser.

Note: If you wish to return the signed Major/Minor Declaration Form to your home school’s academic services office yourself, you may do so. Please contact your home school’s office if you need assistance:

College of Arts and Science: arts-sci-forms@vanderbilt.edu
School of Engineering: engineering-oas@vanderbilt.edu
Peabody College: peabodyacademicservices@vanderbilt.edu
Blair School of Music: rachel.hobbs@vanderbilt.edu

  1. Contact your newly assigned sociology adviser to introduce yourself and arrange to meet. You can do this in person, via email, or via Zoom. For contact information, please visit the department’s faculty directory.

Once the form is signed by the student and the department, and turned into the appropriate college office, the college office will officially process the declaration.

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