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Environment and sustainability

Environment & Sustainability

Bachelor of Arts

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

Environment and sustainability student

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 42 credits is required for the ENVS Standard Major.

Course List
Code Title Credits
ENVS 100Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2)3
ENVS 200Writing the Environment3
ENVS 250Environmental Justice3
ENVS 301Science of Sustainability and Resilience3
ENVS 350U.S. and Western Environmental Politics3
ENVS 390Environmental Monitoring4
ENVS 400Applied Sustainability3
ENVS 410Environmental Ethics3
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:1
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 (GT-MA1)
SOC 211
Quantitative Research Methods
Select one of the following:3
ANTH 230
Cultural Anthropology (with laboratory)
ANTH 320
Cultural Ecology
ENG 151
Borderlands: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
POLS 250
Politics of the Environment
POLS 340
Politics of Social Movements
POLS 350
Human Rights
POLS 355
The Global South
POLS 370
Political Economy
PSY 308
Environmental Psychology
PSY 410
Multicultural Psychology
PSY 457
Social Psychology
SOC 150
Environmental Sociology
SOC 168
Social Problems
SOC 340
Social Movements
SOC 380
Social Class, Status, and Power
Total Credits42

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: ENVS 400 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

Standard Major

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
ENVS 100 Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2) 3
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology (GT-SC2) 3
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1) 1
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
Gen Ed General Education Courses 3
 Credits14
Spring
MATH 113 Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1) 3
PHYS 125 Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2) 3
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Gen Ed General Education Courses 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
HWTR 398 Headwaters Conference 1
ENVS 200 Writing the Environment 3
ENVS 250 Environmental Justice 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences 3
Elective Elective/Minor 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
ENVS 390 Environmental Monitoring 4
Elective Elective/Minor 9
 Credits16
Summer
ENVS 499 Internship in Environmental Studies (recommended, but optional) 1-6
 Credits1-6
Year Four
Fall
Electivechosen from selection of classes on cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, sex, sexuality, and/or class contexts 3
Elective Elective/Minor 9
ENVS 410 Environmental Ethics 3
 Credits15
Spring
Elective Elective/Minor 12
ENVS 400 Applied Sustainability 3
 Credits15
 Total Credits122-127

ENVS and BUAD Coordinated Double Major

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
ENVS 100 Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2) 3
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology (GT-SC2) 3
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1) 1
MATH 213
or ECON 216
Probability and Statistics (GT-MA1)
or Statistics for Business and Economics
3
 Credits14
Spring
CS 120
or BUAD 220
Professional Computer Skills
or Spreadsheets and Analysis
3
BUAD 185 Business Communication 3
PHYS 125 Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2) 3
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
MATH 140 College Algebra (GT-MA1) 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
ACC 201 Introduction to Financial Accounting 3
ECON 201 Macroeconomics (GT-SS1) 3
BUAD 210 Legal Environment of Business 3
ENVS 250 Environmental Justice 3
HWTR 398 Headwaters Conference 1
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences 3
 Credits16
Spring
ACC 202 Introduction to Managerial Accounting 3
ECON 202 Microeconomics 3
ENVS 200 Writing the Environment 3
Elective Elective 3
BUAD 270 Principles of Marketing 3
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
ENVS 301 Science of Sustainability and Resilience 3
ENVS 350 U.S. and Western Environmental Politics 3
BUAD 360 Managerial Finance 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I, II, or III) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area III) 3
 Credits15
Spring
ENVS 360
or ENVS 370
or ENVS 373
Global Environmental Policy
or Water Policy and Politics
or The Water Planet
3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I, II, or III) 3
ENVS 390 Environmental Monitoring 4
BUAD 333
or BUAD 350
Organizational Behavior
or Human Resource Management
3
Gen Ed General Education (Area II) 3
 Credits16
Summer
ENVS 499 Internship in Environmental Studies (Recommended, but optional) 3
 Credits3
Year Four
Fall
ECON 370 Natural Resource Economics 3
ENVS 380 Advanced Climate Policy 3
ENVS 410 Environmental Ethics 3
ENVS 435 Environmental Grant Writing 1
BUAD 363 Business and the Environment 3
 Credits13
Spring
Elective Elective/Minor 4
Electivechosen from selection of classes on cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, sex, sexuality, and/or class contexts 3
BUAD 410 Water Law 3
ENVS 400 Applied Sustainability 3
BUAD 491 Strategic Management 3
 Credits16
 Total Credits123

Faculty & Staff

Spotlight

Headshot of Triston smiling

Triston Turner

Student

“Any leadership role makes your college experience unique because you obviously don’t have to do this before you graduate. Being an EPIC Mentor has provided me with more perspective in my life. I see different viewpoints and the diversity of people’s backgrounds.” As he works toward his master’s degree, Triston is involved with EPIC Mentors, the Organics Guild, Western Solar Society and the Honors Program.

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."

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.”

Careers


Top Skills

  • Consulting
  • Economic Modeling
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Science
  • Project Management
  • Public Policy



Career Pathways

  • Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Energy Auditor
  • Environmental Economist
  • Industrial Ecologist
  • Park Naturalist
  • Public Lands Manager

Take the first steps toward your academic and personal growth.

Fostering your intellectual development is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling and enriched life after graduation. Wondering how you can apply your program of choice to your intellectual and personal journey? Check out our “What Can I Do With This Major?” tool to explore the diverse opportunities and pathways within any degree program.

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

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 30 for 2024. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, 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 first-year student 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 below. 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.

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

Environment and sustainability program

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, Western Solar Society, 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

Three students stand surrounded by plants in a greenhouse

Western’s Clark School wins grant to help add value to internships

Read More about Western’s Clark School wins grant to help add value to internships
A firefighter supervises a prescribed burn in the GMUG National Forest.

Prescribed Fire in Wilderness Research Team Honored by National USFS Award

Read More about Prescribed Fire in Wilderness Research Team Honored by National USFS Award
A sign outside of the Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability

Western receives $10,000 Catalyst Grant to help fund push toward sustainability

Read More about Western receives $10,000 Catalyst Grant to help fund push toward sustainability
Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Read More about Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission
A group of students listen to a lecturer give a presentation about solar panels

Western partners with County, City on renewable energy project

Read More about Western partners with County, City on renewable energy project
Western Students Win Multiple Awards at Wildlife Conference

Western Students Win Multiple Awards at Wildlife Conference

Read More about Western Students Win Multiple Awards at Wildlife Conference
Western’s Provost Receives Alumni Award from Purdue

Western’s Provost Receives Alumni Award from Purdue

Read More about Western’s Provost Receives Alumni Award from Purdue
Students conducting research in the field

Western Receives Research & Education Grant from Department of Energy

Read More about Western Receives Research & Education Grant from Department of Energy
Organics Guild members talking in the greenhouse

Western Organics Guild Continues to Grow

Read More about Western Organics Guild Continues to Grow
Western students recycling on campus

Western Earns Silver STARS Ranking

Read More about Western Earns Silver STARS Ranking

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 …

Learn More

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 …

Learn More

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.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

Center for Public Lands

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

Learn More

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

International Baccalaureate to MEM 2+2 Pathway

In this innovative pathway, International Baccalaureate students can combine their high school credits with their Western education to earn their bachelor’s degree and Master in Environmental Management in just four years.

Learn More

Dean

Micah Russell, M.S.

Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability, Integrative and Public Land Management Director; MEM Director

Program Facilitator

Lindsay Dolezal

Program Facilitator and Grants Administrator

Campus Location

1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81230

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We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.

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