Interdivisional Programs

Environmental and Urban Studies

Environmental and Urban Studies (EUS) is an interdisciplinary program that examines the interdependence of human societies and the physical environment. The program strives to ensure that students have a substantial background in the physical and social sciences, humanities, economics, and policy, while enhancing their understanding of the relationship between built and natural environments.

The program calls for students to engage both intellectually and empirically with urban and environmental issues. EUS students gain theoretical and scientific grounding in the field as well as valuable experience, through practicums and internships, in addressing urban and environmental challenges. Students complete a series of core courses, as well as courses that engage interdisciplinary methods; pursue an internship in the area of their interest; and complete the practicum. 

To balance transdisciplinary breadth with depth in a particular discipline, students also select intermediate and advanced courses in their chosen focus area. Expertise developed through problem-driven focus area studies prepares the student for the Senior Project.

The scope of EUS is regional, national, and global. EUS takes advantage of its immediate surroundings, using the campus and the region as a laboratory for natural and social science research and interpretation through language and the arts. The Hudson River estuary, with its wetlands and watershed, is framed by the Catskill Mountains to the west; its valley communities offer a variety of historical and natural resources. On campus, the Bard Water Laboratory, Bard Archaeology, the Bard College Farm, the Bard Arboretum, and the unique landscape, architecture, and history of Montgomery Place offer academic and cocurricular activities. The Bard College Field Station is home to Hudsonia, an independent environmental institute; and the Saw Kill Watershed Community brings campus and community members together for science, stewardship, and education. Other place-based partners include the American Eel Research Project in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Students can also explore international affiliations and institutions through a rich variety of internship and study abroad programs, and take courses with leading practitioners at the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York City.

EUS majors with a strong foundation in science, policy, and/or economics may apply to the 3+2 program with the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, earning in five years a BA and a master of science in environmental policy or in climate science and policy.

Senior Projects have addressed questions pertaining to a wide variety of topics, including environment and population growth; sustainable development; environmental effects of globalization; international efforts to protect the environment; land ownership and the distribution of wealth; the environment and human health; environmental racism; alternative energy; urban sprawl; land-use planning; land and tax policy; wilderness and watershed protection; habitat loss; agricultural subsidies; organic farming; pollution control policy; transportation policy; ecotourism; the viability of small communities; and environmental politics, art, and education.

Focus Areas
The following focus areas suggest the breadth of possibilities for advanced study within EUS: Environmental Science; Global Perspectives on Environment, Society, and Culture; Urban and Regional Studies; Environmental Humanities and the Arts; Agriculture and Food Systems; and Economics, Policy, and Development. 

By the sophomore year, an EUS major should have an academic adviser who is an EUS core faculty member. To moderate into the program, a student must have successfully completed the core courses EUS 101 (Introduction to Environmental and Urban Studies) and 102 (Introduction to Environmental and Urban Science), as well as one 200-level EUS course in one of the following areas: economics, social/historical analysis (other than economics), and laboratory science (environmental science, biology, chemistry/biochemistry, or physics). In addition, the student needs to prepare in advance and provide the Moderation board with three documents:

  • A reflective paper reviewing the first two years of academic study.
  • A paper that sets out a plan for successful completion of the degree requirements, while also defining the student’s focus area. The focus area plan should clearly articulate a particular research agenda with suitable advanced courses in preparation for the Senior Project.
  • An assigned essay set by the EUS faculty that addresses a contemporary issue from the perspective of EUS-related course work and a set of assigned article.
Graduation requirements include one 200-level EUS course in economics; one 200-level EUS course in social/historical analysis (other than economics); one 200-level EUS course in laboratory science; EUS 305, EUS Practicum, which includes fieldwork (some study abroad programs may satisfy the practicum requirement); one EUS internship or service project (0 credits); 14 additional credits in a well-defined focus area, with at least two courses at the 300 level and an additional methods course relevant to the focus area (e.g., GIS, biostatistics, econometrics, qualitative or quantitative methods); and the Senior Project. See the EUS website for additional details on program requirements.

Recent Senior Projects in Environmental and Urban Studies
  • “Food Access in Kingston, New York: An Evaluation of the Role of Farmers Markets in Food Assistance Programs”
  • “Lifeguarding the Hudson: Microbial Agents of Concern in Puddles, Tide Pools, and the River”
  • “Outside the Frame: Mapping and Urban Space in the United States, c. 1920–2014”
EUS offers a wide variety of courses in each focus area every semester. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, EUS courses are offered in the program and as cross-listed courses in other programs across the four divisions of the College. EUS students can also take graduate-level courses at the Bard Center for Environmental Policy. A full list of the offerings can be found on the EUS website.

Program Website:

Program Director: M. Elias Dueker