Bates or Vassar for Environmental Studies

I was wondering if anyone had insight into the differences (including strengths and weaknesses) between the Environmental Studies programs at Bates and Vassar. Thanks!

In terms of a publicly available source, this site may be of interest:

What draws you to both of them?

Also I have a away too long thread about ES that I just bumped. lol


Here’s the link to @groundhog74’s thread: Environmental Sciences/Studies colleges


As an aspect favorable to Vassar, I believe its economics department includes faculty who are well regarded for scholarship in environmental economics.

The ES program at Bates, in comparison, is supported by its strong geosciences program:


Both are terrific liberal arts colleges (my daughter looked at both and is at Bates). I know Bates and the other Maine colleges have strong ES and do a lot of research in the local area, particularly when it comes to climate change and the Maine coast. You might also look at courses listed for each department to get a sense of what is offered. Best of luck!


A few things: Note that the college transitions “top schools” list does not differentiate between environmental science and environmental studies, when it is in fact an important difference. In my experience, schools with real strength in environmental studies are not necessarily strong in environmental science, and vice versa.

My child considered majoring in environmental studies at Vassar - has taken a few courses - but ended up in international studies. The availability of the massive Vassar Preserve is a nice amenity. His work study job involves ecological monitoring on the preserve. He does phenomenology recording, lots of measuring of trees, and he gets to pick his own projects - so he’s done a couple of years of camera trapping of small mammals on the preserve, with particular attention to the beaver population (though he also has data on mink, otter, muskrats, etc.).

Take a look at the faculty at Bates and Vassar who are involved in Envl Studies, and see what they focus on. Makes a big difference in the types of courses available.


I’m a Vassar student – I agree! In the past few years, Vassar’s environmental studies has been stronger on the science side of things. Though Vassar has just hired a few young women in the past couple years who I could see really shifting the program’s strengths soon (Puglisi, who does Black envr hist, Shih, who does Asian Am envr hist, Sagan, who does envr poli theory, and Kodiveri who does envr law/poli sci/ human rights). Not sure what you’re looking for?