Critical thinking and interdisciplinarity in environmental higher education: the case for epistemological and values awareness Academic Article uri icon


  • A key learning outcome of most, if not all, higher education is that students should be able to think critically about the subjects they have studied. This applies as much to broad-based undergraduate programmes in environmental higher education as elsewhere. In environmental higher education, this means that students should be able to think critically both within and across the various disciplines that constitute their study programme. An implication of this is that students need to have an awareness of the epistemological and value-based commitments that are present-though frequently unacknowledged-in all 'knowledge claims'; and, in particular, that they should be sensitive to the ways in which these commitments often vary within and between different disciplines. Put another way, it is our view that awareness of epistemological and value-related questions is a prerequisite for critical thinking in environmental higher education. Moreover, in so far as critical thinking across disciplines enables students to integrate knowledges produced within different disciplines, these two kinds of awareness are also prerequisites for interdisciplinarity.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Jones, P. C., Merritt, J. Q., & Palmer, C.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Jones, PC||Merritt, JQ||Palmer, C

publication date

  • January 1999