About the Environmental Studies Major

The environmental studies major offers unique opportunities for undergraduate students to broaden their studies through interdisciplinary course work related to the environment. Because this major must be taken simultaneously with another undergraduate major, students not only learn about current environmental issues, they will also learn how to link environmental science, policy, literature, art, and philosophy to another chosen field of study.

A unique program with a unique structure

The environmental studies major provides students with an academically rigorous course sequence that encompasses introductory through advanced understandings of this interdisciplinary field. 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.

Why Earn an Environmental Studies Major?

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.


Any undergraduate student enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pending approval from his or her home school or college is eligible to apply for the environmental studies major. Overlap between the environmental studies major and the student's other major(s) is limited.