Environmental Studies Program

We seek to discover, assess, and propose innovative solutions that are ecologically sound and socially just.

Take action for a more sustainable and just world

Advancing sustainability depends on an holistic approach to problem solving in collaboration with diverse peoples and through work across disciplines. Our program helps students identify and solve sustainability challenges through an equity lens, gaining core competencies in the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. 

Our cohesive program provides students the opportunity to conduct research with faculty renowned in their fields, work with practitioners and communities to address local and global environmental concerns, participate in experiential learning here in the United States and abroad and be part of our dynamic Seattle University community through small classes, on-campus organizations and activities, and co-curricular events. 

Environmental Studies, BA and Minor

Explore the opportunities offered, including details about the specializations.

Tailor your major to match your interests

You will choose from one of four specializations.

Urban Sustainability

Gain knowledge and skills in urban planning and community design, food systems, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), urban ethics, economics and politics.

Photo of people's feet standing around a plaque

Politics, Policy and 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/

Photo of poster at climate march with drawing of Earth text we only have one

Environmental Education and Communication

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.

Photo of students and teacher in geology class

Ecological Systems

Gain knowledge and skills in the physical, sociological and environmental sciences to understand marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the practices needed to maintain the integrity of these systems.

Photo of woman with back pack on hillside

Beyond the Classroom

Environmental Studies students in tree core research

Professional Development

As an Environmental Studies student, you will learn about career options, connect with alums, and chart your own career path in our Environmental Careers course. You will also have the opportunity to gain pre-professional experience by completing an Environmental Internship. 

Kaiti Lopez reading a map

Research and Experiential Learning

Environmental Studies professors are dedicated to providing experiential learning and research opportunities to explore local and global environmental issues that range from urban sustainability to landscape ecology, climate justice and more.

"Working with faculty on research in Ecuador allowed me to apply what I've learned to the real world. The data analysis skills I honed will be invaluable in any career I choose." Kaiti Lopez, BA, Environmental Studies with specialization in Policy, Politics and Justice, '19

Jessie Dirks in Puebla

Education Abroad

"The first time I lived outside of Seattle for more than two weeks was when I studied abroad in Puebla, Mexico. Although my main studies counted towards a Spanish language minor, I took the opportunity to learn about Mexico's rich artistic traditions. Carrying my passion for artwork back to the SU classroom, I was able to research and connect the Mexican mural movement and popular art to concepts taught in my Environmental Studies coursework. Connecting the dots between two seemingly unrelated subjects is exactly the definition of an interdisciplinary study, and one of the deciding factors in my choosing to major in Environmental Studies." Jessie Dirks, BA Environmental Studies, minor in Spanish '19

  • Expand Your Education to the Global Classroom
  • Develop knowledge of diverse cultures
  • See your own culture through a new lens
  • Strengthen your leadership skills
  • Broaden your world view
  • Advance your career

Hear From Our Alumni

Photo of Julia Dentone in front of the library

Julia Dentone

Julia was recently awarded the prestigious Public Policy and International Affairs Program fellowship to support undergraduates committed to public service. This summer, as a PPIA fellow, Julia looks forward to learning graduate skills to support environmental policy. The PPIA Junior Summer Institute (JSI) Fellowship Program is a rigorous academic graduate-level preparation program for undergraduate juniors committed to public service careers.

Environmental Studies and Public Affairs '24