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2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Environmental Studies - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies section in this catalog.


Environmental sustainability and ecological integrity are increasingly central to Grand Valley State University's academic and community identity. The earth's environment is under stress, and the search for solutions requires an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. Only by examining our dependence on our environment, and the causes and consequences of our impacts on that environment, will we be able to fashion ways of living equitably and sustainably with other species. Finding effective and practical solutions to environmental problems requires an understanding of their scientific, socio-economic, political, and cultural dimensions. To meet these challenges in the roles of leaders, thinkers and decision-makers, students, regardless of their major, need to have access to environmental education.

The environmental studies program emphasizes the diverse contributions of natural and social sciences, technology, art and humanities to understanding and solving environmental problems. Consequently, ideas and information from a wide array of fields such as public policy, sociology, economics, geography, history, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, religion, ecology, biology, and chemistry are important components of the environmental studies minor.

The program integrates humanities, natural and social science, environmental policy and planning perspectives. You will gain the broad educational background needed to assist in developing sustainable development policies to create positive social change within the environmental context. Real world links to practical environmental issues are developed through environmental problem-solving at the local and regional levels, faculty-led research projects, internships and participation in campus environmental planning. This minor is structured for students with strong interest in environmental issues but who do not necessarily wish to pursue post-graduate opportunities in the natural sciences.

The following programs are available:

Sustainable Food Systems, Undergraduate Certificate

Environmental Studies Minor

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.