The systems that shape the Earth’s environment are dynamic and highly interactive. In the Environmental Studies Program, we work to understand these systems and how they influence the planet's diverse ecosystems, our natural resources, the communities we live in, and local and global political systems. Washington University is a leader in research on global climate change and energy, sustainable food production, the environment and human health, and biodiversity conservation. We offer a major and two minors, internships, research, community-engaged partnerships, and study abroad. Our majors and minors capture the strengths of both the traditional academic departments and the interdisciplinary innovation necessary to fully explore the multiple issues and questions posed in the study of the environment. Many of our courses are experiential, project-based, collaborative, and/or community-engaged. We also offer a variety of courses that are integral to environmentally oriented majors in other departments and programs. Many of our students jointly pursue interests in business, sustainability, law, engineering, humanities, ecology & conservation, One Health, and pre-health.
Student Research and Latin Honors
We encourage any and all students to pursue some form of research during their time with Environmental Studies! Our students conduct research with disciplinary emphasis in humanities, social science, or natural sciences. Our students pursue independent study research during academic semesters or summers, summer research internships, and senior honors thesis research. Experiences range from guided work on a research mentor’s project for one to several semesters, to mentored independent research that results in a substantial scholarly product. Because we are an interdisciplinary program, scholarly products produced by our students take on a wide range of forms, from a thesis to policy brief to narrative to journal-style manuscript for publication.
In the Environmental Studies Program, any student may conduct mentored research or senior thesis research regardless of GPA, and Departmental Honors and awards do not require completion of a senior thesis. Latin Honors for majors requires completion of a senior thesis in addition to meeting GPA requirements set by the university.
We invite students who are potentially interested in working on senior thesis research or pursuing Latin honors to connect with their major advisor and class professors early on to express interest and ask questions. We offer suggestions on how to prepare for potential senior thesis research, a guideline for the process on our information page. We offer a senior thesis research course, ENST 498, to students pursuing senior thesis and Latin honors research to provide some scaffolding and training in transferrable research and scholarly writing skills. This provides a supportive cohort environment in which students can learn together and workshop their research progress with peers.
Learn more about how to engage in student research with the Environmental Studies Program.