A deep understanding of environmental issues and a passion to find innovative solutions will open doors to meaningful careers in education, climate change policy and environmental science. Learn the skills and science behind solving the most pressing environmental issues of today and in the future.

Program Overview

Help protect and preserve life on earth.

In the Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) program, you’ll study the structure and function of natural systems; examine how social, political and economic activity impacts those systems; and experiment with resilient solutions to unsustainable human impacts.

Through comprehensive coursework and hands-on experience, the ENVS program will prepare you for a meaningful career fueled by your passion and natural interests. Upon graduating, you’ll be an effective interdisciplinary communicator with the skills and knowledge to lead environmental and sustainability efforts anywhere.

Research in our backyard

Sam Brozek uses a hand lens to examine a daisy while conducting field research that looks at the effects of forest regeneration after compounding disturbances.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

All standard majors require a minor in a second discipline or a second major.

A minimum of 39 credits is required.

ENVS 100Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2)3
ENVS 200Writing the Environment3
ENVS 301Science of Sustainability and Resilience3
ENVS 350U.S. and Western Environmental Politics3
ENVS 390Environmental Monitoring4
ENVS 400Applied Sustainability3
ENVS 410Environmental Ethics3
Select one of the following:3
ENVS 360
Global Environmental Policy
ENVS 370
Water Policy and Politics
ENVS 375
Seminar in Water Topics
Required Supporting Courses
BIOL 130Environmental Biology (GT-SC2)3
BIOL 135Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1)1
PHYS 125Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2)3
ECON 215Environmental Economics3
Select one of the following:
HWTR 200
This Is The Headwaters
HWTR 398
Headwaters Conference
Select one of the following:3
ECON 216
Statistics for Business and Economics
MATH 113
Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1)
MATH 213
Probability and Statistics
SOC 211
Quantitative Research Methods
Total Credits38

Environment and Sustainability and Business Administration Coordinated Double Major

If a student elects to complete an Environment and Sustainability Major: Standard Program and the coordinated Business Administration Major: Standard Program, the student must take ECON 202 Microeconomics instead of ECON 215 Environmental Economics; and ENVS 360 Global Environmental Policy must be elected. ECON 216 Statistics for Business and Economics must be elected, with MATH 140 College Algebra (GT-MA1) as its prerequisite.

Capstone Course Requirement

The following course in the Environment and Sustainability Major fulfills the capstone course requirement: Applied Sustainability.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology (GT-SC2) 3
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1) 1
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
ENVS 100 Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
Gen Ed General Education Courses 3
 Credits14
Spring
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
MATH 113 Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1) 3
PHYS 125 Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2) 3
Elective Elective/Minor 3
Gen Ed General Education Courses 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
ENVS 200 Writing the Environment 3
HWTR 398 Headwaters Conference 1
Elective Elective/Minor 6
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences 3
 Credits16
Spring
ECON 215 Environmental Economics 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences 6
Elective Elective/Minor 6
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
ENVS 301 Science of Sustainability and Resilience 3
ENVS 350 U.S. and Western Environmental Politics 3
Elective Elective/Minor 9
 Credits15
Spring
ENVS 360
or ENVS 370
or ENVS 373
Global Environmental Policy
or Water Policy and Politics
or The Water Planet
3
Elective Elective/Minor 9
 Credits12
Summer
ENVS 499 Internship in Environmental Studies (recommended, but optional) 1-6
 Credits1-6
Year Four
Fall
ENVS 410 Environmental Ethics 3
Elective Elective/Minor 12
 Credits15
Spring
ENVS 400 Applied Sustainability 3
Elective Elective/Minor 12
 Credits15
 Total Credits118-123

Faculty & Staff

Spotlight

Environment & Sustainability

Hannah White

Student

“Being so involved in so many different things you get to know all kinds of people. You get to make connections with people that just aren’t at Western.”

Environment & Sustainability

Jonathan Coop, Ph.D.

Faculty

“We can produce high-quality research and publish papers in scientific journals with our students. We’re out on the cutting edge of our field learning the things we don’t know yet."

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

Eligibility

  • Full-time students who are majoring in Geology, Environment & Sustainability, Environmental Biology or a related field.
  • Must be a junior level (60+ credits)
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Preference given to students with financial need who are residents of the Western Slope of Colorado and have expressed interest in a career in park operations/park management or a career in the earth sciences

Description

This scholarship is provided by Barbara Kastellic and gifts from others to honor Joseph, who was the first Superintendent of the Black Canyon National Monument from 1975-1984.

Award depends on funds available.

Application:

Complete and submit The Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship application which is available in the Financial Aid Office.

A recommendation and a one-page essay will be needed to complete the application.

Eligibility

  • Students who have demonstrated community involvement with environmental solutions, academic excellence and a dedication to mountain environments which could encompass recreational activity, personal connection or service.

Description

This scholarship is provided by Jim and Dianne Mahaffey.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page.

Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability at

970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 240

Eligibility

  • Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) majors
  • Must have 3.0 GPA or above
  • Preference will be given to a resident of Crested Butte, CO. If no applicants meet this requirement, preference will be given to a resident of Gunnison, Colo. If no applicants meet the criteria, applicants must be a Colorado resident.

Description

This scholarship is provided by the Michael Martin Community Fund

Award depends on funds available

Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page.

Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program.

970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

Eligibility

  • Full-time students majoring in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS)
  • Minimum of 30 credits at Western
  • Must have made a significant contribution towards environmental stewardship while at Western
  • Students must demonstrate academic achievement and progress towards ENVS major

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49

Amount:

Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $500).

Selected by: Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. 970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

Eligibility

  • Must have applied and been admitted to Western
  • Demonstrated an interest in pursuing a degree in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS)
  • Preference given to students with financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $500)

Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

Application:

Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. 970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 15 for 2021. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Board, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming freshman or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found here (click). Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Description

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • Clubs & Organizations: Join the Organics Guild, Sustainability Coalition or Wildlife Society.
  • Coldharbour Institute: Experiment with sustainable building design, resilient food systems or community organizing in the Gunnison Valley.
  • Conferences: Attend the Headwaters Conference, the Colorado Water Workshop and Sage Grouse Spring Symposium.
  • Earthship Academy: Learn how to construct a self-sustaining building capable of producing food and saving energy.
  • High Country News: Check out the independent news source’s new satellite office located in Kelley Hall.
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Find a research assistantship at one of the premier biological research stations in the world.
  • Solar Energy International: Engage in the local, regional or global conversation about the renewable energy era.

Plotting a path forward

The ENVS program prepares students for meaningful livelihoods based on their values. Graduates enter their fields with the skills to connect ideas, individuals and organizations.

News & Research

environment & sustainability school aerial

New Name for Environment & Sustainability School

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Western Earns STARS Award

Western Earns STARS Silver Rating in Sustainability

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online courses

Western Colorado University moves summer courses online

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Western Professor Featured in VentureWell Article

Western Professor Featured in VentureWell Article

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Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

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Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

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Annual Headwaters Conference celebrates 30 years

Annual Headwaters Conference celebrates 30 years

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Western professors, grad students advocate for sustainability at UN Food and Agriculture Organization meeting

Western professors, grad students advocate for sustainability at UN Food and Agriculture Organization meeting

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Western professor recognized with prestigious Ohtli Award

Western professor recognized with prestigious Ohtli Award

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Western student publishes article in High Country News

Western student publishes article in High Country News

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Western Faculty Work to Preserve Nature with the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

Western Faculty Work to Preserve Nature with the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

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Western Students Earn NextCycle Incubator Grant

Western Students Earn NextCycle Incubator Grant

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Western receives 20K to fund Open Educational Resources

Western receives 20K to fund Open Educational Resources

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Western faculty published in top scientific journal

Western faculty published in top scientific journal

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Student groups take sustainability head-on at Western

Student groups take sustainability head-on at Western

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Western receives 2017 Tree Campus USA award

Western receives 2017 Tree Campus USA award

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Western hosting free 3-night series on local wildlife management at ICELab

Western hosting free 3-night series on local wildlife management at ICELab

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Solar Energy International, Western join forces to offer college-level courses

Solar Energy International, Western join forces to offer college-level courses

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Western’s MEM program helps start ecological restoration in Gunnison Valley

Western’s MEM program helps start ecological restoration in Gunnison Valley

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Embarking on a field-based learning adventure

Embarking on a field-based learning adventure

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Master in Environmental Management professor publishes two new books

Master in Environmental Management professor publishes two new books

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Additional Resources

Scholarships

If you are interested in the following scholarship opportunities please complete the Scholarship Application by February 28.   Mike Martin Memorial Scholarship: $500 One award may be …

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Community Events

The Headwaters Conference Every fall, Western Colorado University hosts a gathering of scholars, writers, poets, journalists, public officials, community activists, social and natural scientists and …

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ENVS Network

The ENVS Network documents people, organizations, and projects involved with the School of ENVS. Each year, Master in Environment Management students complete a 600 hour project, connecting people and organizations worldwide.

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Resilience Studies Consortium

The Resilience Studies Consortium is dedicated to providing learning opportunities across a network of educational institutions that engages students and faculty in the challenges facing our natural and social systems.

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Center for Mountain Transitions

Empowering students to advance just and sustainable mountain communities, from the Rockies to the world.

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Center for Public Lands

The Center is a hub for cross-boundary land management work and study.

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Center for Cold-Climate Food Security

The School of ENVS seeks funding for the Center for Cold-Climate Food Security to amplify experiential educational opportunities around high-alpine and cold-climate food production, while addressing hunger in the Gunnison Valley.

Learn More

Dean

John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Dean, Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability

Contact Information

970.943.2248

ses@western.edu

Campus Location

1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81230