Environmental Studies

More than a dozen University of Wisconsin-Madison students studying environmental studies pair with and mentor Sherman Middle School students as the group bird-watches and explores nature at Warner Park in Madison, Wis. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
Environmental Studies, College of Letters and Science

Advisors: Becky Ryan (608) 262-7520, undergrad@nelson.wisc.edu, 70 Science Hall. Please visit their webpage for information on group and individual advising.

Field of Study: The Environmental Studies major provides students with an academically rigorous course sequence that encompasses introductory through advanced understandings of the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies. This major includes courses from across campus that expose students to the perspectives and methods used by the physical, biological, social sciences and humanities to wrestle with environmental questions and solutions.

Environmental Studies is unlike almost all other undergraduate majors at UW-Madison. The Environmental Studies major can only be earned if the student is enrolled in and completes another major. This unique structure ensures that Environmental Studies majors graduate with both a deep understanding of their disciplinary major and the broad interdisciplinary skills needed to work on environmental issues in a wide variety of career settings.

Possible Careers: In today’s world many academic programs, even in environmental fields, encourage students to specialize – to focus on relatively narrow subject areas. Yet “real-world” problems often require understanding beyond that of a single academic discipline. For this reason, more and more employers seek people with interdisciplinary training. The Environmental Studies major exposes students to a broad range of environmental thinking. It helps put the courses of your other major into perspective. The Environmental Studies major is always completed as part of a full double major. This rigorous program of study is evidence to employers that the graduate has acquired not only depth in one major field, but breadth of environmental understanding within and beyond that field – an excellent combination.

Special Opportunities & Additional Information:

Selected Required Courses.
As a interdisciplinary major, foundational coursework in General Chemistry, Introductory Biology, Math, and Physics might prove useful for some students in the program and required for some courses within the major.
  • Intro Biology: None
  • Calculus: None
  • General Chemistry: None
  • Organic Chemistry: None
  • Physics: None
  • Statistics: None