Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment
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 Justice & Community Resilience Emphasis?
Do you wonder why disasters are on the rise and how we can reduce their impacts? Do you want to be an effective advocate for environmental justice? Do you wonder what you can do to support frontline communities facing climate change, environmental pollution, sea level rise, and oppression? Do you want to gain interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to promote a more just and resilient society? Then the justice and community resilience emphasis of the Environmental Studies major is for you.
An Environmental Studies – Justice and Community Resilience Emphasis supports students in bridging interests in the environment and social justice. You will analyze how our social, political and economic structures create and maintain environmental injustice. You will explore how our social policies and practices can result in disproportionate impacts from technological and natural hazards and the disasters they often create. You will also learn how to use policy, planning, advocacy, and engagement strategies to address environmental injustice and increase community resilience.
With a Justice and Community Resilience 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 emergency management or as environmental justice advocates. Other graduates bring the skills and knowledge gained in this emphasis to other environmental positions. Some go on to graduate studies in social science, disaster studies, public administration, or international development.
Careers with environmental justice non-profit organizations | Careers in emergency management | Careers in federal, tribal, and state emergency management agencies | Careers in international non-governmental organizations in humanitarian aid and international development | Bring justice and resilience concepts to a range of other environmental sector careers | Preparatory studies for graduate work in social science, emergency management, disaster studies, public administration and international development
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, ENVS 203, and ENVS 204 must be completed with a C- or better before applying to this major. ENVS 302 is also encouraged before applying to this major. Transfer students coming in with a Direct Transfer Agreement may apply before completing ENVS 201, ENVS 203, and ENVS 204.
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.
A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.