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 Policy, Politics, and Governance Emphasis?
Do you want to use your knowledge and skills to engage across difference to identify and promote positive change in human-environment relationships? Do you love solving problems and implementing shared visions in human-environment systems? Are you interested in learning about the myriad ways in which you can participate in the decisions that shape the future? Then the Environmental Studies – Environmental Policy, Politics, and Governance emphasis is for you.
An Environmental Studies – Environmental Policy, Politics, and Governance emphasis is a future-oriented degree that trains students to understand the roots of political disagreement surrounding environmental policies and to bypass those entrenched framings by identifying mutually-agreeable approaches. Students will become familiar with a range of modes of change, including traditional regulatory processes, deliberative ways of engaging across difference, grassroots activism, and corporate governance. With an Environmental Policy, Politics, and Governance Emphasis, you can make a difference working at non-profits, in the private sector, 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, in consulting and non-profit sectors, or in the business and corporate world. In all of these sectors, graduates are empowered with skills and insights to work towards a more just and sustainable world. Some students go on to graduate studies in science studies, political ecology, natural resource management, environmental law, and related fields.
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 science studies, political ecology, natural resource management, environmental law, and related fields
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.