Emphasis in Environmental Analysis at Harvey Mudd

Environmental analysis fits exceptionally well within the Harvey Mudd College mission to train students who combine technical rigor and engagement with pressing social issues. There has always been a significant demand for environmental courses, research experiences, and Clinics at the college. The new Emphasis in Environmental Analysis provides a curricular program to help students move through their environmental studies in a coherent and cumulative fashion.

The Emphasis in Environmental Analysis is not a major. Rather, it is a coordinated program of study that allows students majoring in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics the opportunity to address environmental issues from a range of perspectives so that they may better understand the impact of their work.

Note: The requirements and application procedures for the Emphasis have been revised as of November 2017.

Emphasis Requirements

To complete the Emphasis, a student must take five courses beyond the core curriculum with significant environmental analysis content, on or off campus. A student must take a minimum of two courses in the recognized disciplines in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts (but may take up to three), as well as a minimum of two courses in science, engineering and mathematics (but may also take up to three). At least three of these courses must be upper-division courses. With coordinated approval from the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design and a student’s Emphasis faculty advisor, up to two summer research, year-long research, or year-long Clinic experiences with substantial environmental analysis components may be counted towards the five-course total.

How to Apply and Find an Advisor

At any point up to the end of the pre-registration period in the student’s fifth semester, a student can complete the designated Google Form declaring their interest in completing the Emphasis. This is a student’s initial entryway and application into the Emphasis. Upon submitting the form, the Hixon Center will add the student to the Emphasis mailing list and create an online application (view the sample application below) and meeting log. This online document will be viewable by the student, their Emphasis faculty advisor, the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, and the Office of the Registrar.

Sample Application

At this point, the student will be can select one of the following faculty members (organized below by department) to serve as their Emphasis advisor. If they are uncertain about who to select, the Hixon Center will help pair the student with an advisor.

Emphasis Faculty Advisors (as of Spring 2018)
Department Advisor(s)
Biology Adolph, McFadden
Chemistry Daub, Hawkins, Van Ryswyk
Computer Science Medero
Engineering Cardenas, Little, Spjut, Srebotnjak
Humanities, Social Sciences,
and the Arts
Evans, Steinberg
Mathematics de Pillis, Levy
Physics Saeta

Students and faculty advisors are asked to meet at least once per semester to review the student’s Emphasis course path and to revise accordingly if necessary. They must update the meeting log in their online application and note any changes.

By the end of the pre-registration period of a student’s semester, they must confirm with their Emphasis Advisor, the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, and the Registrar’s Office if they will continue to pursue the Emphasis. If not, their application will be deleted and they will be removed from the program.

Certificate of Completion and Official Transcript

Students who successfully meet the requirements for the Emphasis in Environmental Analysis and complete the program will receive an certificate from the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, have the Emphasis noted on their official college transcript, and will be recognized in the Commencement program during graduation.

Emphasis Timeline

The Emphasis in Environmental Analysis has several checkpoints throughout the calendar year to make sure that students, faculty advisors, and the Registrar’s Office can carefully monitor and assure the progress of a student through the program:

Fall Semester

  • August – List of Emphasis Faculty advisors for the fall semester are finalized and published online
  • September-October – Faculty must self-designate their courses as “EA” courses before pre-registration in November
  • October – The Hixon Center will host an Informational & Advisory Meeting for interested and current Emphasis students to learn more about the program and have their questions answered. This is the optimal opportunity for new students to apply via the Interest Form and plan out their Emphasis pathway.
  • Mid-November (prior to pre-registration): With assistance from the Registrar’s Office, the Hixon Center will provide a list of valid EA courses for the upcoming spring semester.
  • Mid-November (end of pre-registration): Students in their fifth semester must officially confirm with their Emphasis advisor, the Hixon Center, and the Registrar’s office if they intend to continue the program. Should the student specify that they won’t continue, or fail to confirm that they will, they will be removed from the Emphasis and will no longer be able to complete the program for a certificate.
  • December – The Hixon Center will consult with the Registrar’s Office to confirm if students in their final semester have successfully completed the Emphasis.

Spring Semester

  • January – List of Emphasis Faculty advisors for the fall semester are finalized and published online
  • February-March – Faculty must self-designate their courses as “EA” courses before pre-registration in November
  • March – The Hixon Center will host an Informational & Advisory Meeting for interested and current Emphasis students to learn more about the program and have their questions answered. This is the optimal opportunity for new students to apply via the Interest Form and plan out their Emphasis pathway.
  • Mid-April (prior to pre-registration): With assistance from the Registrar’s Office, the Hixon Center will provide a list of valid EA courses for the upcoming spring semester.
  • Mid-April (end of pre-registration): Students in their fifth semester must officially confirm with their Emphasis advisor, the Hixon Center, and the Registrar’s office if they intend to continue the program. Should the student specify that they won’t continue, or fail to confirm that they will, they will be removed from the Emphasis and will no longer be able to complete the program for a certificate.
  • May – The Hixon Center will consult with the Registrar’s Office to confirm if students in their final semester have successfully completed the Emphasis.

Other Academic Options

While the Emphasis in Environmental Analysis is an excellent way to incorporate environmental analysis content into one’s degree path, there are plenty of academic options available for Harvey Mudd students interested in environmental analysis and sustainability – especially since there are a wide variety of courses taught on environmental topics across the Claremont Colleges. Students may:

  • Complete their HSA Concentration in environmental studies, and in doing so will qualify for completing the Emphasis in Environmental Analysis.
  • Pursue an informal emphasis in Environmental Analysis within a technical major at Harvey Mudd College.
  • Design a major in Environmental Studies as an Individual Program of Studies (IPS).
  • Double-major in a Harvey Mudd technical discipline and in Environmental Analysis at another 5C institution.
  • Complete an off-campus major in Environmental Analysis at one of the 5Cs.
  • Complete the requirements of a typical major in Environmental Analysis without entering into a formal program.

Additional Information and Resources

To submit an Interest Form and pursue the Emphasis, complete this Google Form. If you are eager to learn about what course offerings are available at Harvey Mudd that will qualify towards completing the Emphasis, view the linked lists below to offered courses with an ‘Environmental Analysis’ tag dating back to fall 2016.

For more information, contact one of the aforementioned Emphasis Advisors, or send an e-mail to hixoncenter@hmc.edu.

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