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Environmental Studies Major

Why environmental studies? Ask our students.

Sarah McLarnan Kayak Picture Preston Zimney Photo Madi Sundlof Steven Pignato in Salzburg

I have been grateful for the opportunity to explore my interests without confining myself to one path. 

Sarah McLarnan ('16)


The best part is when our lab gets to be outside to collect samples and apply what we learned to the coursework.

Preston Zimney ('16)


By the end of the second week, I had learned more than I had in most of my other classes combined.

Madi Sundlof ('16)


Environmental studies applies to a variety of fields, which will allow me to choose from a variety of career choices.

Steven Pignato ('15)


Link to Department Sharepoint

Overview of Program

  • Environmental studies was established as a major in 2003. Six department faculty, joined by two dozen faculty from other departments, offer students a unique and innovative curriculum.
  • Our curriculum is based on a core of interdisciplinary environmental studies courses that approach questions of sustainability in a variety of contexts including food, energy, gender, ecology, policy, and more.
  • Students can choose from a range of environmentally-oriented courses in art, communication, ecology, economics, ethics, literature, geology, history, nutrition, politics, psychology, sociology, and other fields in addition to our core environmental studies curriculum.
  • A focus on undergraduate research and experiential learning offers opportunities for summer research assistantships, internships, field experiences, and a capstone thesis project for all majors.
  • The natural setting of Saint Ben's and Saint John's, including wetlands, streams, forests, lakes and prairies, offers a unique environment for students to explore, conduct research, and learn about environmental education and land stewardship.
  • Graduates of the environmental studies program can be found in a variety of places after graduation. Many graduates choose to volunteer or pursue further education, while many can be found in a number of unique career paths.
  • Saint John's Abbey installed approximately 1800 solar panels on 3.9 acres of former farmland in the fall of 2009. At the time of installation, the solar farm was the largest in Minnesota.
  • In 2005, CSB/SJU designated environmental studies as one of the first Signature Programs of the two institutions. The designation is part of a strategic planning initiative to strengthen and highlight interdisciplinary programs.