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What is a Specialization?

A specialization is a collection of three courses, 300 level or above, that majors choose based on their particular interests. These courses, chosen in consultation with a PitE advisor, allow students to go from an interdisciplinary perspective to a more focused examination of a topic with an environmental focus.

The range of specialization options is as diverse as our students' interests. Students can choose based on common specialization topics, but there is always the option to create your own. There are four main areas: natural science, social science, culture & environment, and interdisciplinary. Explore these down below to view some possible specialization topics, and what courses are commonly taken for each.  

Again, this is not a complete list. Students are always free to create their own specialization, and there are multiple courses to fulfill the three required for any given specialization. 

Before choosing, it might be helpful to check out the explore environmental careers page and research what environmental field you are interested in. 

How / When Do I Select My Specialization?

Students must submit the specialization form for approval no later than the end of junior year. Submitted specializations are reviewed by the PitE Specialization Committee for approval. The form will ask you to list the three courses that you have either taken or plan to take for your specialization. Then, you will need to briefly explain how these three courses relate to each other and reflect on why this specialization interests you (future career, grad school, etc.). 


It's never too early to plan your specialization. If you're having trouble figuring out how to formulate your specialization, please make an appointment with a PitE advisor to learn more about this requirement.