Jun 22, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Studies/Journalism, BA

Combined major offered by the Department of Journalism, College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment.

113-118 credits


Environmental Journalism offers the opportunity to explore the intersection between the natural world and politics, science, economics and culture. It combines rigorous research with creative storytelling. It provides the tools necessary to communicate to the public about vital issues, at a time when the goals of journalism are more important than ever: uncovering the facts, holding the powerful accountable and telling the stories of people and issues that are hidden, misunderstood or marginalized.

Why Consider an Environmental Studies/Journalism Major?

If you’re passionate about environmental issues and want to communicate with the public about them, environmental journalism is a powerful way to do that. You will learn skills needed to research complex issues that intersect with science, politics, economics, recreation, culture and society. You will also learn how to weave this information into timely stories that engage and inform the public through words and images.

 Contact Information

Department Chair

Brian J. Bowe
Communications Facility 253

Environmental Studies
Department Chair

Rebekah Paci-Green
Arntzen Hall 206

College of the Environment
Professional Advisor
Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539

 Sample Careers

Careers include staff journalist for a variety of mediums (newspapers, magazines, online news sites, podcasts, radio, video/film); freelance journalist in different mediums; communications (public relations; internal or external publications) for environmental organizations, universities, government agencies, businesses and other institutions; technical writer, particularly for subjects with a policy or scientific component.

 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 College of the Environment professional advisor. To become a pre-major, set up an appointment with a professional adviser on our Undergrad Academic Advising website cenv.wwu.edu/academic-advising, by visiting the College of the Environment Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by calling 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 College of the Environment 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 your degree 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 College of the Environment majors so you will begin to receive notifications and general announcements. 

How to Apply to the Majors

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 and ENVS 203 must be completed with a C- or better before applying to this major. Transfer students coming in with a Direct Transfer Agreement may apply before completing ENVS 201 and ENVS 203.

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 (three to four well-formed paragraphs) to the following questions:

  • Which specific Environmental Studies degree are you selecting?
  • What relevant coursework have you completed?
  • What excites you about majoring in Environmental Studies?
  • How will the specific Environmental Studies degree you have chosen 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 College of the Environment website at cenv.wwu.edu/undergraduate-applications-college-environment. 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.

Students are strongly advised to apply in the fall (for winter quarter admission) and spring quarters (for summer or fall quarter admission). Students who do so will be able to immediately begin 300 level Environmental Studies Foundation courses, which are pre-requisites for most other 300 and 400 level courses. Students who apply in the winter (for spring quarter admission) will not be able to take the 300-level Environmental Studies Foundation courses until fall. 

If you have any questions, please contact a professional advisor at the College of the Environment Student Support office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by calling 360-650-3520.

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. All preparatory courses required for admission should be completed on a lettered or numeric grading scale, not P/NP, and must be completed with a grade of C- or better.


Environmental Journalism Foundations (32 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 Journalism Major Core Courses (68-71 credits)

Topic areas

❑ Three courses from the following topic areas, with no more than one course in any topic area:

Environmental Journalism Depth and Specialization (minimum 10 credits)

❑ The following courses are pre-approved. Others across campus may fulfill this requirement, under ENVS faculty advisement.

Culminating Courses - Capstone and Experiential (3-5 credits)

College of the Environment Capstone

Students are required to take one ENVS approved course with a capstone “CPST” attribute during their senior year. A capstone class is a field or project based class that can be taken by students from College of the Environment departments (ENVS/ESCI/UEPP). This class is meant to be a culminating experience for the students bringing all the varied disciplines together as applied work on a real-world issue. Several capstone options are open to all College of the Environment students; others have prerequisites.

Environmental Journalism majors are encouraged to select ENVS 417 as their capstone.