Environmental Studies, BA

Join Seattle University's Environmental Studies program and take action for a more just and sustainable world. Pick from four specializations or design your own.

About this Program

As an Environmental Studies student at Seattle University, you will: 

  • Tailor your major to your interests. Choose from one of four specializations: Urban Sustainability; Policy, Politics and Justice; Environmental Education and Communication or Ecological Systems - or design your own specialization.  
  • Explore the link between people and the environment - addressing issues facing our many ecosystems, including our homes, cities, farms, forests and oceans.  
  • Identify and solve sustainability challenges through an equity lens - gaining core competencies in the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. 
  • Learn the data analysis tools, analytical skills and communication techniques you will need to understand and solve environmental problems, work with diverse stakeholders and communicate ways to move our communities toward a more sustainable future. 
  • Integrate field and class work in the Puget Sound area and beyond. Take small classes with professors dedicated to providing experiential learning opportunities to explore local and global environmental concerns that range from urban sustainability to landscape ecology, climate justice and more. 
  • Chart your career path through our Environmental Careers series, internship and independent studies opportunities and alumni network. 

Environmental Studies Degree at a Glance

Learn how this degree from the Environmental Studies Program will contribute to your career goals. Each student chooses to specialize in an area of environmental studies and sustainability. You may choose one of four defined specializations, or work with your adviser to tailor your own. 

How can we build livable cities that are ecologically sustainable and equitable? Gain knowledge and skills in urban planning and community design, food systems, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), urban ethics, economics and politics.

Four-Year Program of Study

What policies and political processes support sustainability and environmental justice? Gain the knowledge and skills needed to analyze information and propose policy alternatives to address the complex environmental issues of climate change, natural resource management and sustainable development.

Four-Year Program of Study

How do we communicate our pressing environmental problems and potential solutions to people from all walks of life? Gain the knowledge and skills needed to teach, raise public awareness, advocate and motivate for environmental change using a broad base of mediums and communication strategies.

Four-Year Program of Study

How can we sustainably manage and restore our marine and terrestial ecosystems? Gain knowledge and skills in the physical, sociological and environmental sciences to understand the science and best practices needed to maintain the integrity of our ecosystems.

Four-Year Program of Study

Embarking on a minor in environmental studies opens a gateway to understanding the intricate relationship between humans and their surroundings. As a minor, you explore critical environmental issues, from climate change to conservation, and delve into the sustainable practices shaping our world. This interdisciplinary pursuit involves insights from science, policy, and ethics, providing a holistic view of environmental challenges. You gain practical knowledge on how individuals and societies can contribute to ecological well-being. A minor in environmental studies not only enhances your awareness of pressing global concerns but also equips you with the tools to be an informed advocate for a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence with the planet.

The environmental studies curriculum is designed to provide you with the ability to investigate environmental issues from a rigorous interdisciplinary perspective by integrating insights and information from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. You will learn to:

  • Demonstrate a scientific understanding of the physical and biological dynamics of global ecologies including first-hand knowledge of local and regional ecosystems
  • Analyze the social, economic, and political and policy dynamics involved in both the emergence and the resolution of environmental problems
  • Explain and analyze the historical development, ethical implications, and religious dimensions of the human relationship with the nonhuman world

Through coursework and field experiences, you will develop the skills to use quantitative, research, and communication to effectively analyze and address environmental problems, issues and concerns by:

  • Producing a professionally competent empirical research report using statistical and quantitative methods and
  • Producing a major capstone research paper that demonstrates disciplinary expertise and professional standards in your area of specialization

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Prepared for Success

Student helps a child read

Real-World Experience

You’ll prepare for your career though an Environmental Internship or Environmental Careers course where you can apply your interests in a workplace setting. You’ll also have opportunities to gain research experiences and to explore environmental issues beyond the classroom.

Student Madison Piper posing with a llama

Double Majors to Maximize Your Impact

Depending on your specialization, you may want to consider a double major. Those who specialize in urban sustainability or politics, policy and justice are uniquely situated to complete a double major in public affairs or international studies.

Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal

Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal

This Seattle University peer-reviewed online publication provides an option for you to publish your research. Publication can help you prepare for advanced studies at top graduate programs or demonstrate knowledge and skills when applying for non-academic positions.

Popular Careers for Environmental Studies Majors

Students extend their education through graduate studies in:

  • Environmental and natural resource management.
  • Environmental education.
  • Environmental science.
  • Marine affairs.
  • Environmental health.
  • Planning, policy and law.

Recent graduates with a specialty in urban sustainability have found careers with these organizations:

Recent graduates with a specialty in politics, policy and justice have found careers with these organizations:

Recent graduates with a specialty in environmental education and communication have found careers with these organizations:

Recent graduates with a specialty in ecological systems have found careers with these organizations:

Hear From Our Alumni

Student Maia Sparkman

Maia Sparkman

"The EVST program at Seattle University has shaped my ability to address and evaluate today’s complex environmental challenges considering the social, environmental, economic, political, and cultural scope of the problem."

18, Specialization in Ecological Systems

Featured Faculty

  • Tanya Hayes
    Tanya Hayes

    Chair, Department of Public Affairs and Nonprofit Leadership
    Program Director, Environmental Studies

  • Marc McCleod
    Marc McCleod

    Associate Professor, History
    Associate Director, University Honors
    Affiliate, Latin American & Latinx Studies
    Affiliate, International Studies
    Affiliate, African & African American Studies
    Affiliate, Environmental Studies

Contact Us