Jul 15, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Studies (Extension) — Environmental Policy Emphasis, BA

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Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment - Salish Sea Region

81-82 credits


WWU College of the Environment - Salish Sea Region (SSR) is a distance based, hybrid interactive network that allows students to actively work alongside world-famous researchers located in Poulsbo, Port Angeles, and Everett, Washington. As a direct transfer pathway program, freshman and sophomore students in regional community colleges have guidance into four-year, direct transfer degree programs into SSR. Designed for working students, classes are scheduled from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and are initiated utilizing hybrid modality that combines in-person teaching, hands on field labs, and interactive video conferencing. 

Academic programming is designed to prepare tomorrow’s interdisciplinary problem solvers by integrating educational course work, faculty-student collaboration, applied research, and professional and community service. Based on College of the Environment’s Bellingham campus interdisciplinary curricula, SSR takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to understanding human-environment systems and environmental challenges. The SSR 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. 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 in GIS or Policy, or an Environmental Science minor.

Why Consider an Environmental Studies (Extension) 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
Western Washington University
516 High Street
​Bellingham, WA 98225
Arntzen Hall 206

Academic Program Director for
College of the Environment
- Salish Sea Region

Jenise M. Bauman
Western Washington University
1000 Olympic College Way
Poulsbo, WA 98370

Program Manager for
College of the Environment
- Salish Sea Region

Dennis Matthews
Western Washington University
915 N. Broadway Ave.
Everett, WA 98201

 Sample Careers

Environmental Communications | Environmental Analyst | Environmental Advocate | Government Agency Employee | Sustainability Officer | Water Resource Manager | Park Ranger | Forest Service Employee | Educator

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Applicants are instructed to complete a Direct Transfer Associates (DTA) Degree from the community college that the student is currently attending. College of the Environment - Salish Sea Region advisors and program coordinators work with advisors and faculty at partnered community colleges to advise students to take preparatory classes during their freshman and sophomore year. Once students have completed, or are completing, the Associate Transfer Degree and required courses, students may apply to the College of the Environment - Salish Sea Region and Western Washington University. Community College equivalent courses of ENVS 201, ENVS 203, MATH 114, BIOL 101, and CHEM 161 must be completed with a C- or better for application to this major. ENVS 204 will be offered within the program.

Questions, contact:

Dennis Matthews
Program Coordinator
College of the Environment - Salish Sea Region
Western Washington University
915 N Broadway Ave, Everett, WA 98201
Dennis.Matthews@wwu.edu | 360-650-7242

A pre-advising session should be scheduled with the program coordinator, Dennis Matthews to determine readiness for application.

Formal application is made to Western Washington University through the Admissions Office online application process. Once admitted, students will work with a College of the Environment - Salish Sea Region program advisor to select a depth and specialization area by the end of the first fall quarter. 

Outline for Application Process:

  • Make a note of the application deadline(s) for Fall Quarter admission.
    • Financial Aid Priority Deadline: January 31
    • Priority Application Deadline: March 1
    • Final Application Deadline: June 1
  • Apply for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov; WWU School Code 003802
  • Schedule a pre-advising appointment with Dennis Matthews to determine readiness for the application (emails provided above)
  • Complete both the Transfer & Post-baccalaureate for Location Program Admission application and the College of the Environment – Salish Sea Region application and submit the $60 application fee by visiting admissions.wwu.edu/apply/location-programs.
  • Request an official transcript from institutions where you have earned prior college credit. If you previously attended WWU, it is not necessary to provide WWU transcripts or other transcripts previously submitted to WWU. Have the official transcript sent electronically or in a sealed envelope to:

Western Washington University Office of Admissions
Old Main 200, MS 9009 516 High Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

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 (Extension) foundation and core requirements

Foundations Core (25 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 (23 credits)

Environmental Data Analysis and Communication (7 credits)

The Biophysical Environment (8 credits)

Socio-ecological Systems (4 credits)

Social Justice and the Environment (4 credit)

Culminating Experience (9-10 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 20 credits of additional coursework beyond the courses used to fulfill requirements in other areas of the Environmental Studies major.

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