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Environmental Studies

Become a leader in environmental sustainability, justice and stewardship.

Environmental studies is a major that bridges fields of study to prepare you to work in environmental policy, planning, advocacy, law and more.


Confront challenges of STEM, culture and society

As an environmental studies major, you’ll study the intersection of STEM, culture and society. Your courses will pull insights and strategies from the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, and you’ll confront our current challenges, such as urbanization, migration, energy and biodiversity.

Our bachelor of arts degree is best for those who want to work on the human side of environmental change and shift how we interact with earth’s resources. By developing a deep understanding of human institutions’ effect on environmental challenges, you will be prepared to lead change efforts in advocacy, planning and decision-making.

Develop a community perspective

No matter which future direction you pursue, you’ll need to be responsive to people from different perspectives and demographics. That means being well-versed in the lived experiences of people and the historical inequities of society.

Environmental studies teaches you to ask and seek answers to critical questions, such as:

  • How are communities being affected by environmental change?
  • How do the impacted individuals perceive and value the environment?
  • How can we best communicate with them about our climate crisis and its solutions?
Create your personal schedule

Exploring multiple disciplines and applications will help you uncover opportunities to make your ultimate impact. Our curriculum has room to create a custom plan to fit your career aspirations, with options such as:

  • Fundraising strategies for nonprofits
  • How social movements work
  • Environmental literature of the past and today
  • How religion shapes food consumption and our environment

At a Glance

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts


Earth and Environmental Sciences


College of Arts and Science

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here's what you can do next:

The Curriculum

With challenging and relevant courses, outstanding faculty, small class sizes, and an emphasis on hands-on learning, the environmental studies program will position you to succeed in your chosen career.

Program Details

Find out what it takes to earn a degree in environmental studies and explore the courses.

Highlighted Courses

Get familiar with some of the courses you might take in this major.

EES 152: Introduction to Environmental Science

An examination of the relationship between people and the physical environment. Topics include geologic hazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes; pollution of land, air and water; park conservation; energy alternatives; and global challenges such as ozone depletion and human-induced climate change.

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BUS 330: Fundaments of Sustainable Business

The course provides comprehensive introduction to the sustainability concept and its major themes such as renewable resources, clean energy and fuel organizations and other stakeholders in building the organization's business model and strategies for a sustainable future is examined.

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ECON 414: Economics of the Environment

Students investigate, in economic terms, various environmental problems in today's world to determine the costs and benefits of alternative approaches to environmental remediation. Also examines major policy alternatives for environmental protection. The course provides the opportunity for application of the principles of economics to the study of the environment from an economic perspective.

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POLS 414: Environmental Law and Policy

A study of the regulatory environment in California and the U.S. as it applies to environmental issues, problems and the environmental industry. Includes a critical analysis of environmental challenges and the possible legal and political responses to them.

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RLTH 381: Religion, Food and the Environment

Humans eat food. Human cultural and religious phenomena relate intimately to patterns of eating-which is why anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and scholars of religions have long been fascinated with the relationships between sacred stores and ritual practices involving food. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the intersections between religion, food, and environments.

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SOC 214: Introduction to Public Health

This course introduces students to key public health concepts and provides a foundational understanding of the history, systems, and practice of public health. Students learn the process of how health issues in a population are identified, treated and prevented through public health efforts and utilizing epidemiologic tools. Additionally, the social, behavioral and environmental factors that impact health are examined within a public health framework.

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Recommended Minors

Want to add even more value to your degree? Consider one of these minors to gain a unique combination of skills and perspectives.

The Experience

We offer hands-on opportunities that give you the freedom to explore your passion through real-world work and prepare for a fulfilling career.

  • Conference Presentations

    Many of our students have the opportunity to perform independent research with faculty advisors on campus and present their findings at research consortiums, such as our annual Festival of Scholars or off-campus conferences.

  • Learning in Action

    We emphasize “doing” science and an active approach to learning. Throughout your classes, you’ll gain a lot of research experience by working side-by-side with your professors in state-of-the-art facilities. You’ll design experiments, collect scientific data, perform statistical analysis and share your conclusions through research papers and presentations.

Career Paths

Environmental studies will prepare you to work in environmental management, community engagement, environmental justice, environmental compliance, nonprofit work and environmental advocacy in general. The flexibility of this major will allow you to acquire the skills needed to choose from a wide range of roles within those spaces.

Potential Careers

Urban and Regional Planners

Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

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Climate Change Policy Analysts

Research and analyze policy developments related to climate change. Make climate-related recommendations for actions such as legislation, awareness campaigns, or fundraising approaches.

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Park Naturalists

Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.

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Environmental Compliance Inspectors

Inspect and investigate sources of pollution to protect the public and environment and ensure conformance with Federal, State, and local regulations and ordinances.

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Regulatory Affairs Specialists

Coordinate and document internal regulatory processes, such as internal audits, inspections, license renewals, or registrations. May compile and prepare materials for submission to regulatory agencies.

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Emergency Management Directors

Plan and direct disaster response or crisis management activities, provide disaster preparedness training, and prepare emergency plans and procedures for natural (e.g., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes), wartime, or technological (e.g., nuclear power plant emergencies or hazardous materials spills) disasters or hostage situations.

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Wind Energy Development Managers

Lead or manage the development and evaluation of potential wind energy business opportunities, including environmental studies, permitting, and proposals. May also manage construction of projects.

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Chief Sustainability Officers

Communicate and coordinate with management, shareholders, customers, and employees to address sustainability issues. Enact or oversee a corporate sustainability strategy.

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Looking for more career paths? Search these related areas to discover more options.

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. Some occupations listed above may require a related graduate degree.

How We Prepare You for Success

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Our excellent career counselors in the Career Services center will get in touch with you during your very first term on campus. They offer over 50 workshops each year on resume writing, interviewing, salary negotiations, applying to graduate schools, and other critical skills to help you begin your career successfully.

After you graduate from Cal Lutheran, you receive free access to Career Services for life, as a valued member of our alumni family.

Learn more about career outcomes

of Cal Lutheran graduates find a job or enroll in graduate school within nine months

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