• Integrating perspectives from the physical sciences, urban design, architecture, and social sciences in the hyper-local study of a fascinating and under-studied region of Chicagoland


The Calumet region, extending from Chicago’s south side along Lake Michigan into Indiana and Michigan, was once a vast network of wetlands, lakes, prairies, and dunes. This region lies at the intersection of pre-contact distributions of northern boreal forest, prairie, savanna, and dune. While the area saw significant use prior to European colonization, it was only in the last 150 years that human land use — especially heavy industry and urban development — began to radically reshape the region. In spite of this, the Calumet is still home to significant levels of biodiversity. Students in the Calumet Quarter will be part of an innovative example of cooperative conservation, the 70+ member Calumet Initiative, which brings together scientists, planners, community groups, local residents, and business with the goal of revitalizing both the local economy and the ecological riches of the Calumet region.

This sequence is designed to help you bridge theory and practice in environmental studies. The program features three integrated courses, projects, field trips, guest lectures, and presentations. Students will work in the classroom and field as they integrate perspectives from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences in the study of local environments and communities. Completion of the Chicago Studies Quarter: Calumet fulfills the academic requirement for the Chicago Studies Certificate Program.

Information about past Calumet Quarters can be found here.

Courses & Instructors

Participants in the Chicago Studies Quarters are required to take all three associated courses. Students may register for a fourth course of their choosing, but should be mindful of the Chicago Studies Quarter courses' meeting times and group activities when selecting a fourth course.

CSQ Calumet excursions will be held regularly on Fridays. These sessions are a mandatory component of the Quarter, and will usually take place in mornings and/or early afternoons.