Dec 05, 2021  
2021-2022 University Catalog 
2021-2022 University Catalog

Environmental Studies — Policy Emphasis, BA

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Department of Environmental Studies, Huxley College of the Environment

84-91 credits


Environmental Studies takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to understanding human-environment systems and environmental challenges. The Environmental Studies major includes core classes in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to prepare our students to integrate knowledge from multiple fields of study. Our students learn to analyze and interpret complex environmental data and communicate environmental information for diverse stakeholders. The Environmental Studies major equips students to succeed as environmental professionals through experiential learning and advanced coursework in each student’s choice of an emphasis.

Why Consider an Environmental Studies Major with a Policy Emphasis?

Do you want to use your knowledge and skills to promote positive change in the environment? Do you love solving problems and implementing shared visions in both natural settings and the policy arena? Are you interested in the laws and policies that govern environmental change? Then the Environmental Studies – Environmental Policy emphasis is for you.

An Environmental Studies – Environmental Policy Emphasis supports students in exploring how science and policy interact as stakeholders attempt to regulate pollution, manage natural resources, protect natural spaces, and live with environmental disturbances. Students will become familiar with regulatory processes and the challenges of engaging in social change through the development and implementation of environmental policy. The emphasis trains students to analyze policy for differential outcomes across social groups, impacts to ecological systems, and as tools for achieving social goals. With an Environmental Policy Emphasis, you can make a difference working at non-profits, as a consultant, or in the government. Graduates with this emphasis often go on to work in environmental agencies at the federal, tribal, state, and local levels, working in consulting and non-profit sectors, or go on to graduate studies in public administration, law, or related fields.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Rebekah Paci-Green
Arntzen Hall 206

Huxley College Professional Advisor
Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539

 Sample Careers

Environmental consultant | Environmental analyst | Careers with non-profit organizations | Environmental communications | Environmental advocacy | Careers at federal, tribal, and state agencies, such as Forest Service, NOAA, EPA, DNR, Ecology, and local municipalities| Preparatory studies for graduate work in public administration, law, or related fields| 

 Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

How to Apply as a Pre-Major:

At any time, you can declare yourself as a pre-major with interest in environmental studies by contacting a professional advisor at the Huxley College Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by phone 360-650-3520. Students are encouraged to apply to be an Environmental Studies pre-major as early as they can, ideally during their freshman or sophomore year. You do not need to complete any Environmental Studies courses before applying as a pre-major. 

What happens when students become pre-majors?

Pre-major status will give you access to priority registration for Environmental Studies classes. Once you are declared as a pre-major you are assigned a Huxley professional advisor and a faculty advisor based on your academic interests. Your professional advisor can help you understand graduation requirements and how to navigate through the Huxley curriculum. Your faculty advisor can help you decide which courses to take and give you advice about how to prepare for graduate school or a future career. As a pre-major, your email is added to an email distribution list for Huxley majors so you will begin to receive notifications and general announcements. 

How do students apply to become a pre-major? To apply, students should speak to a Environmental College professional advisor at the Huxley College Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by phone 360-650-3520. During that conversation, you and the advisor will talk about the following questions:

  • What excites you about majoring in Environmental Studies?
  • Which depth and specialization area(s) seem of most interest to you?
  • OPTIONAL: Are there perspectives or experiences you can bring to strengthen and diversify the field of environmental studies?
  • OPTIONAL: Do you feel that your academic transcript accurately reflects your abilities as a student? Please explain.

How to Apply to the Major:

After completing the 200-level ENVS Foundations courses and selecting a depth and specialization area, students can apply to move from pre-major status to major status. ENVS 201, ENVS 203, and ENVS 204 must be completed with a C- or better before applying to this major. Applicants should strongly consider also taking MATH 114, CHEM 161, and either BIOL 204 or BIOL 101 as GURs; doing so will allow enrollment in a broader range of upper-division science courses.

To apply, students should submit an application that includes brief answers to the following questions:

  • Which depth and specialization area are you selecting?
  • What excites you about the depth and specialization you are selecting?
  • What relevant coursework have you completed?
  • How will your chosen depth and specialization area (emphasis or minor) help you achieve your post-graduation career goals?
  • OPTIONAL: Are there perspectives or experiences you can bring to strengthen and diversify the field of environmental studies? 
  • OPTIONAL: Do you feel that your academic transcript accurately reflects your abilities as a student? Please explain.

The application can be found on the Huxley College website Applications are accepted during fall, winter, and spring quarters and must be received by 5 p.m. on October 6 (for winter quarter admission), January 15 (for spring quarter admission), or April 18 (for summer or fall quarter admission). If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications are due the following Monday.

If you have any questions, please contact a professional advisor at the Huxley College Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

Environmental Studies foundation and core requirements

Environmental Studies Foundations (27 credits)

MATH 112 or suitable math placement score is necessary for some foundations courses, but higher-level math courses are recommended. Students are strongly encouraged to take chemistry, biology, and MATH 114 as part of their GUR courses to access upper-division Environmental Science courses.

Environmental Studies Core Knowledge Areas (26-31 credits)

Environmental Data Analysis and Communication (7-8 credits)

The Biophysical Environment (8-10 credits)

Culminating Experiences (8 credits)

Take any combination of the courses listed below to obtain the required 8 credits. If students take courses in this Culminating Courses category, the same courses may not be counted in other categories in this major.

Depth and Specialization

Students completing Environmental Studies degrees must choose a pre-defined emphasis, a pre-approved minor, or collaborate with a faculty adviser to develop a student-faculty designed plan of study. All depth and specialization pathways must include at least 22 credits of additional coursework beyond the courses used to fulfill requirements in other areas of the Environmental Studies major. See Environmental Studies programs of study for more emphasis options.

Policy Emphasis (23-25 credits)

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