Culture, History, and Environment

Contacts: Anna Andrzejewski (CHE Director), Rachel Gurney (Assistant Director), Jim Miller (Graduate Advisor), (608) 263-4373

The environmental challenges we face today arise as much from human actions as from natural processes. Only at our peril do we forget that nature, in all its myriad forms, is inextricably bound up with every aspect of human culture, economy, and politics.

In exploring past environmental and cultural change and synthesizing diverse research methods and approaches drawn from the full spectrum of humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, Culture, History, and Environment Program contributes in important ways to the understanding of past, present, and future environmental issues through interdisciplinary education and research.

CHE's curriculum accommodates graduate students in a wide range of degree programs at UW-Madison.

What is the need for such a certificate?

The Nelson Institute established the Center for Culture, History, and Environment in 2007 and launched the certificate program a year later. The disciplinary mix represented by the associated faculty members and graduate students is a true cross-section of the collaborations that have been forged across the Nelson Institute, the College of Letters and Science, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Departments, schools, and programs, and schools represented within CHE include American Indian Studies, Anthropology, Botany, English, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Geography, History, History of Science, Journalism and Mass Communication, Law, Landscape Architecture, Limnology, Rural Sociology, and Women's Studies.

Through the CHE Environmental History Colloquium, the annual place-based workshops, and the Tales from Planet Earth film festival, among other activities, CHE enjoys a lively, engaged community of professors, graduate students, and others from a wide array of academic disciplines who share an interest in environmental and cultural change over the full sweep of human history.


CHE welcomes applications from students in any graduate degree program at UW-Madison. Master's degree students who complete the program receive CHE certificates in addition to their degrees. Doctoral students can complete either the certificate or the Ph.D. minor. CHE is not available as a stand-alone graduate degree.


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