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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Environmental Studies Major

Environmental Studies Degree

The Environmental Studies degree provides an integrated, interdisciplinary social science degree opportunity for undergraduates.  Foundational courses introduce key concepts from geography, philosophy, and economics.  Advanced courses in areas such as resource economics, sustainable development, and environmental law and policy provide depth to this program. This major can lead to a variety of career paths that include public administration, law, environmental education, and advocacy. We strongly encourage environmental studies students to study abroad in a program that complements their study focus.


Fall 2020 and After
Spring 2020 and Before 


The Green Business concentration is ideal for students interested in sustainable business practices, eco-labeling, and environmental economics. Students investigate the challenges and possibilities of linking business with positive environmental outcomes. Courses offered through the Departments of Economics, Management, and Marketing introduce Environmental Studies majors to the deep connections between business practices, the economy, and ecosystems. This concentration is an especially good complement to a second major or a minor in the Leavey School of Business. 

The Sustainable Development concentration educates students about the current state of global development, engaging students in critical thinking on topics such as urban development, poverty reduction and inequality, food systems, hunger, and resource conservation. Multicultural and historical perspectives inform interdisciplinary approaches to the complex challenges of sustainability and development, with the goal of working toward a better future. 

The Environmental Politics and Policy concentration is designed for students interested in analyzing and influencing the political institutions that govern issues ranging from control of pollution to the protection of green spaces and access to healthy foods. Students who pursue this concentration will learn about the domestic and international government agencies, civil society organizations, and laws that establish the structure of environmental policy. They will also analyze how evolving science, contentious politics, regulatory strategies, and issues of environmental justice influence institutional change. The Washington Semester at American University is an especially apt opportunity for students pursuing this concentration. 

The Environmental Thought concentration offers a broadly interdisciplinary, liberal arts approach to environmental studies. Courses explore environmental perspectives on history, philosophy, religion, and literature. This concentration is ideal for students wishing to deepen their abilities in critical thinking, argument, and communication, and is particularly suited to students double-majoring or minoring in disciplines such as English, Religious Studies, History, Philosophy, or the arts.

Continuing students who declared the Environmental Studies major prior to September 1, 2011 automatically fall under the old degree requirements. This version of the major is offered as a companion degree where a student majors in an established B.S. or B.A. program such as Political Science, Economics, or Communication, and in Environmental Studies as a second major. If you wish to switch to the new version of the major, please contact your academic advisor.