May 20, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2017-18 
Undergraduate Catalog 2017-18 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major (32 hours)

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The Environmental and Sustainability Studies core curriculum embraces the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues through scientific, social, and humanistic approaches to undergraduate scholarship. The curriculum envisages core themes, or Domains, that are essential to modern environmental education: the physical and biological sciences; the history of human interactions with the non-human world; the social and cultural dimensions of environmental problems; environmental thought as reflected in literature, ethics and philosophy; policy and decision-making; and practical experience.

A student may declare a major in Environmental and Sustainability Studies when the student has done the following:

  1. Completed 30  hours of college work, at least 15 hours of which are at Western Michigan University.
  2. Achieved an overall GPA of 2.50 or above.
  3. Completed the Entry Option and the Physical Science Domain with a grade of “C” or better in each.

After completing these requirements, students must take at least one course from each of the remaining domains. All domains have a prerequisite of one of the courses in the Entry Option.

At the advanced level, undergraduates will develop interdisciplinary competency by taking advanced courses outside the ENVS core. Students will also take a senior seminar capstone course. The senior seminar will bring together ENVS undergraduates from diverse disciplinary majors, who will work in teams outside the classroom to address complex environmental problems in both theoretical and experiential modes.

Note: Because of the complexity of this course of study, students are encouraged to speak regularly with an advisor.

Entry Options (4 hours)

Any of these four courses serves as the prerequisite for all subsequent Domains.

Physical Science Domain (3 hours)

Biological Science Domain (4 hours)

Historical Domain (3 hours)

Cultural and Societal Domain (3 hours)

Environmental Thought Domain (3 hours)

Policy Domain (4 hours)

Interdisciplinary Competency (6 hours) (two courses)

Students must demonstrate competency in advanced fields of knowledge and practice outside the ENVS core. Students must choose, in consultation with a Program advisor, two approved courses emphasizing instruction in and application of advanced research methods, within a discipline of their choosing. A minimum of two separate courses must be taken to satisfy the competency requirement, with a minimum total of six hours accumulated credit for both courses. No more than one course of the two may be taken in the same area as the student’s disciplinary major.

Examples of suitable courses that will fulfill the Competency requirement within the following disciplines are shown below. Other disciplines and their courses will be added to this list as they are deemed appropriate by the ENVS faculty.

Natural Sciences Area

Environmental Studies


Social Sciences Area

Humanities Area

Environmental Studies


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