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Environmental Studies

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Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies prepares you for interdisciplinary efforts to solve environmental problems. Our majors learn skills and ideas from multiple academic disciplines, and experience the cross-disciplinary teamwork that generates effective environmental knowledge.



University Events

The Need for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Venn diagram with four circles labeled "Applied Disciplines," "Humanities," "Social Sciences," and "Natural Sciences." The overlap between the four circles is labeled "Environmental Studies"

Because the environment is all-encompassing, Environmental Studies is inherently interdisciplinary. It is not a specific academic discipline alongside others. Rather it’s a space where disciplines overlap, providing an opportunity to interact across their boundaries, and to create a dynamic approach to the environment that responds to multiple sources of knowledge.

This interdisciplinary outlook is needed because no single way of thinking about the environment is enough. Instead we must think about it from a variety of perspectives. Each of the many academic disciplines involved in the formal study of the environment sheds an important light—but our understanding is enriched when different ways of seeing come together to reveal a fuller picture than is available from any single viewpoint.

This integration of diverse approaches is typically a group effort. It results from collaborations among people from different fields who come together around their shared dedication to solving environmental problems. Our program is built on the recognition that the capacities required for the teamwork used to tackle environmental issues include, in addition to knowledge of the environment, the ability to interact productively with others.

Cross-disciplinary breadth along the top of the "T", Single-disciplinary depth down the middle. Graphic titled "T-Shaped Skills"

Environmental Studies on its own is ideal for students who have a broad interest in the environment. If you seek a generalized rather than a specialized undergraduate experience you will find a nurturing academic community in our program.

But Environmental Studies also works well as a second major, for students who want to develop “T-shaped” skills. If you have a more focused environmental interest and are pursuing a more in-depth training in a traditional discipline you can benefit by joining us as a double major. Environmental Studies will help you gain an intellectual breadth that complements the depth gained in another unit, cultivating your ability to work with people who have different kinds of expertise.



Changes in the Environmental Studies Degree

As of summer, 2021 some big changes have come to the Environmental Studies academic program. We will no longer offer the BS degree, but will concentrate on the BA, which has been substantially revised.

  • IF YOU DECLARED EITHER THE BS OR THE BA PRIOR TO SUMMER, 2021 THESE CHANGES DO NOT AFFECT YOU. You may complete your degree as originally planned.
  • If you have not yet declared a major, and you wish to pursue Environmental Studies, you will follow the rules for the "new" BA.
  • If you enter(ed) OU from summer, 2021 on, declaring an Environmental Studies major means doing the “new” BA; click for information about the “Revised (2021) BA”.