Jul 15, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Environmental Policy, BA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy, College of the Environment

70-72 credits


Graduates with an environmental policy major will have completed coursework that studies the intersection of humans and resource/environmental use. Students also learn the intricacies of policies toward environmental/resource sustainability, and how the policies impact individuals and communities.  

Why Consider an Environmental Policy major?

Do you want to make a difference in protecting the environment and the public good, as well as diversify access to resources for everyone? WWU’s College of the Environments BA degree in Environmental Policy trains students in the policies and practices that make that happen. The program focuses on resource sustainability and environmental resilience, while at the same time querying positionalities and cultural-economic lenses around resource access in diverse populations and landscapes. Over 200 students have received this BA degree, many of whom have attained professional careers in policy management, program implementation, and action planning for positive environmental change.

The program focuses on problem solving and implementing shared visions to effect laws and policies that monitor and manage critical environmental problems, such as climate change, polluted landscapes, and food insecurity. Such laws and policies protect diverse, culturally appropriate, health-driven, and economically viable landscapes - in the United States and throughout the world. We are proud to offer this degree to our students and to continue our programs strong community partnerships worldwide, in which students apply their learning to assist communities in organizing for sustainable futures.

About the Program

This major supports students in exploring how stakeholders regulate pollution and manage natural resources to counter environmental disturbances and protect natural spaces. It emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to solving urban problems that face communities.

With sustainability and climate change on the forefront of humanity’s greatest social and ethical problem, students studying environmental policy will acquire knowledge on “how” government works, and how to be most effective in addressing global issues.

The program prepares students with the knowledge and skills needed to make positive changes towards a socially and environmentally just world. Graduates are prepared for professional careers in policy agencies, consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations at the local, state, and federal levels of government, as well as for advanced graduate study.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Nabil Kamel
Arntzen Hall 230

College of the Environment
Professional Advisor

Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539

 Sample Careers

Environmental Consultant | Natural Resources Manager | Environmental Attorney| City Administrator | Resource Manager

Many graduates go on to work in environmental agencies at the federal, tribal, state, and local levels. Graduates also work in the non-profit sector, or go on to graduate studies in public administration, law, policy, 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 UEPP pre-major with interest in Environmental Policy in the College of the Environment advising office, ES 539. There are several advantages to declaring as a pre-major during your first or second year. Once you are declared as a pre-major you are assigned a professional college 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 curriculum. Your faculty advisor guides you in which courses to take, and when, and gives you advice about internships and how to prepare for graduate school or a future career. As a pre-major, you are added to an email distribution list for College of the Environment majors to begin receiving event notifications, general announcements, internship opportunities, and job postings. The pre-major status also gives you access to priority registration for some classes.

How to Apply to the Major:

Before applying to the major, students should complete Environmental Policy Foundation courses: ECON 206 or ECON 207; ESCI 225; MATH 112 or above (or equivalent math placement score); PLSC 250; UEPP 261. Students are welcome to contact the department for assistance.

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 College of the Environment Student Support Office in Environmental Studies Building 539, or by phone 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.


Environmental Policy in Depth Courses (38-40 credits)

Environmental Policy Experiential Courses (minimum 4 credits)

❑ One course from:

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