II. Curriculum

Sterling College structures its experiential curriculum around five unique areas of study, each created from a blend of key liberal arts course disciplines. This curriculum is designed to support the Bachelor of Arts degree programs offered to enrolled students.

Areas of Study

Conservation Ecology

Conservation Ecology is the study of the relationships of living things to the environment, how those relationships change through time, and how human activities augment or impair those relationships. Maintaining or restoring habitats to support natural patterns in biodiversity is an important practical application in this field. Conservation Ecology focused programs pull most heavily from courses in the Natural Sciences and Applied Sciences disciplines.

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education combines the study of educational and leadership theory and practice with technical outdoor travel and adventure skills. It explores issues ranging from ethical controversies and risk management to program design. It seeks to develop a solid understanding and working knowledge of ecology, environmental science, and recreational resource management. Outdoor Education focused programs pull most heavily from courses in the Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines.

Environmental Humanities

Environmental Humanities seek creative ways to combine knowledge of cultural and ecological perspectives. Through hands-on, practical application of humanistic approaches to environmental issues, this area of study empowers by creating meaningful experience in natural interpretation, advocacy, environmental justice, and the arts. Environmental Humanities focused programs pull most heavily from courses in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Applied Sciences disciplines.

Natural History

Natural History explores the wonders of the natural world through the practice of field observation, description, and interpretation. It is the life histories and ecology of natural systems, study of flora and fauna, and development of naturalist field skills.Natural History focused programs pull most heavily from courses in the Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences disciplines.

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture strives to build a food and fiber production system that is economically viable, while protecting or enhancing environmental quality and the quality of life for consumers and farmers. Farmers and other agricultural professionals work to develop innovative farming techniques and vibrant local economies and markets, while protecting natural resources such as soil and water quality and wildlife habitat. Sustainable Agriculture focused programs pull most heavily from courses in the Applied Sciences and Social Sciences disciplines.

Course Disciplines

Applied Sciences

Applied Science (AS) courses deal with the exact science of applying knowledge from one or more natural scientific fields (such as biology or physics) to practical problems (such as resource management or green building systems).


Humanitie (HM) courses study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative. It includes writing, literature, music, language, art, religion, and philosophy. The untangle elements that seem to define what being "human" is and means.

Natural Sciences

Natural Science (NS) courses seek to illuminate the rules that govern the natural world by observation and using scientific methods. It is the fundamental basis for applied sciences. It includes the study earth science, natural history, geology, biology, organic chemistry, soil science, taxonomy, and more.

Social Sciences

Social Science (SS) courses investigate society and human behaviors. It deals with how people organize social structures, make laws, understand each other, and work together. It includes topics in anthropology, economics, education, history, communication studies, political science, sociology, geography, and psychology.