College of Arts and Sciences
Environmental Studies

  • Seattle University's interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies integrates coursework in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities and emphasizes fieldwork, community engagement, and environmental justice.

    The Environmental Studies major combines the expertise of professors from 14 departments, as well as education abroad programs, to look at humanity's multifaceted role in the environment through many lenses, including ecology, politics, history, philosophy, and religion. By allowing students to specialize in one of four areas—Ecological Systems; Environmental Education and Communication; Politics, Policy, and Justice; and Urban Sustainability —the Environmental Studies Program helps students find their place in this vast, compelling field and discover where they can make a real difference as stewards of the Earth.

    Program Benefits

      • Undergraduate, interdisciplinary Environmental Studies degree
      • Personal attention from faculty
      • Choice of specializations
      • 90-hour internship
      • Opportunities for education abroad
      • Community engagement and fieldwork
      • Undergraduate research opportunities
      • Located in Seattle, WA, a leader in environmental research and policy

    Here are just a few of the questions students address as Environmental Studies majors at Seattle University: How do ecosystems work? What is the connection between poverty and pollution? What can individuals, cities and countries do to curb climate change and tread more lightly on the Earth? Does nature have intrinsic value? Can a more sustainable lifestyle lead to a more meaningful life?

    Why pursue an Environmental Studies degree? The daily headlines sound the call--environmental disasters, climate change, renewable energy, sustainable living and eating, protecting wilderness and wildlife. Environmental Studies will equip you to meet some of the most crucial challenges of the modern world by exploring all these issues and many more.

    Students who major in Environmental Studies can take their careers in countless directions: environmental education, urban planning, journalism, natural resource management, park management, ecological restoration, sustainable agriculture, corporate sustainability, and law school or graduate school, among many other options.

    Degrees Offered

    BA Environmental Studies

      • Specialization in Ecological Systems
      • Specialization in Environmental Education and Communication
      • Specialization in Politics, Policy, and Justice
      • Specialization in Urban Sustainability 

    Minor in Environmental Studies

    The uniquely Seattle University experience offers both breadth and depth. It strikes a broad interdisciplinary balance by incorporating up-to-date ecological science, enlightened environmental politics and public policy, and rigorous historical and philosophical analysis. And it also, in the life-affirming spirit of the Jesuit-Catholic tradition, recognizes the sacredness of creation. Thus, while many environmental studies programs focus largely on how to solve environmental problems, the Seattle University program emphasizes not only that, but also how our own depth of spirit can find a healing resonance in the depth of nature, forming a bond and igniting a spark that can inspire thoughtful and impassioned environmental action.

    Environmental Studies majors often rank their required 90-hour internship as one of their most important educational experiences. Students have developed valuable professional skills in internships at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, the King County Department of Natural Resources, People for Puget Sound, the Seattle Aquarium, IslandWood Environmental Education Center, Jubilee Farm, Seattle Tilth, Earth Ministry, and many others. Visit our internship page

    As a culminating experience, Environmental Studies majors complete a senior research project working closely with a faculty advisor. These projects range widely across the interdisciplinary spectrum of environmental studies, as illustrated by the following list of a few selected projects:

      • Plan for sustainable redevelopment of a long-polluted and marginalized Seattle neighborhood
      • Public poster session on marine mammal psychology and its implications for human treatment of these animals
      • Assessment of human and environmental impacts of a proposed new coal terminal in Western Washington
      • Study of barriers experienced by hotel operators in moving toward sustainability, and a proposed plan to develop sustainable practices
      • Study of the role of artistic practice in natural history understanding
      • Assessment of environmental impacts of college athletics (particularly at SU) and development of a plan to increase sustainable practices by athletic teams, departments, and facilities
      • Examination of the role of public vegetable gardens in contributing to a sense of community in various urban neighborhoods
      • Development of a plan to incorporate composting education and facilities into Seattle schools

    Because of Seattle University's location, students also have the opportunity to explore the spectacular  and diverse Pacific Northwest bioregion-home to three iconic national parks, two mountain ranges, and pristine salt and freshwater areas-and to live in Seattle, Washington, one of the most environmentally progressive cities in the country.

  • EVST