Undergraduate Programs

The study of the environment, ranging from science to policy, is a dynamic field. Washington University is a leader in research on global climate change and energy, sustainable food production, the environment and human health, and biodiversity conservation. Our minors include common courses from many disciplines, and along with the related majors offered in Arts & Sciences, 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.

Students can choose from two environmentally focused minors. First, our Interdisciplinary Environmental Analysis Minor aims to prepare students to tackle real-world environmental challenges by providing more robust opportunities for interdisciplinary knowledge and skill development. Our Environmental Studies minor includes courses in anthropology, biology, ethics, Earth and planetary sciences, and political science. 

Majors relating to Environmental Studies each have a different disciplinary focus, but also expose students to interdisciplinary problem-solving in environmental studies, taking advantage of faculty expertise in anthropology, biology, economics, earth and planetary sciences, political science, and engineering. In addition to these three majors, Anthropology majors can choose a track within the major focused on global health and the environment.

Related Majors

We offer a range of courses that are integral to environmental majors across Arts & Sciences

Environmental Biology

The Environmental Biology major provides students with courses and research experiences that will poise them to become scientific leaders that address our most pressing environmental problems, such as: how do we feed the world without destroying the environment? How do we conserve and restore biodiversity? How do we enhance our ability to capture and store solar energy so that we can decrease our dependency on fossil fuels?

Learn more about Environmental Biology classes & Requirements

Environmental Earth Science

The environmental Earth sciences (EES) major from Earth & Planetary Sciences provides students with a grounding in the geosciences, forming a basis for the interdisciplinary study of critical environmental topics. Student understanding of environmental science is fostered both by a broad base of course work across the natural sciences and by the unique context and perspective Earth science provides for the complexity of environmental systems.

Learn more about Environmental Earth Sciences classes & Requirements

Environmental Policy

Reflecting the breadth of the political science, the environmental policy degree from the Department of Political Science includes a range of classes, such as elections and electoral politics; international political economy; justice and the state; and comparative analyses of political institutions across states.

Learn more about Environmental Policy classes & Requirements

Global Health & Environment

Anthropology majors may choose an optional track within the major called Global Health and Environment (GHE). Students choose to study anthropology because they want to understand some of the most intriguing and troubling issues faced by modern society.

Learn more about Anthropology's Global Health & Environment Track
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Beyond the Classroom

The Environmental Studies Program encourages undergraduate students to get involved with research both on or off campus. Directed and independent research is seen as an important educational complement to classroom instruction. Opportunities are available for research with experienced faculty on a variety of exciting topics in environmental studies. We also encourage students to take part in our interdisciplinary project-based, community-engaged learning experiences.

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Courses

Learn more about courses from environmental studies, offered across a variety of disciplines.

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Pathfinder Fellows in Environmental Leadership

The Pathfinder Fellows Program is a 4-year cohort-based undergraduate program with a focus on Environmental Leadership. Integrated around themes of environmental science and sustainability, the program is intended to draw in students from all four undergraduate schools with a yearly cohort of 12-16 students. The program provides students with expertise in sustainable thinking at scales from individual sites, to neighborhoods, landscapes, nations, and the globe. Program activities consist of shared coursework, community-engaged internships and research, service opportunities, and experiences in urban and rural environments. Taken together, these experiences provide interdisciplinary training for our students to emerge as global leaders in their respective fields.

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