Environment & Sustainability

  • Bachelor of Arts in Environment & Sustainability
    • Major
    • Minor
    • Accelerated Master's Degree

    Get Involved

    A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

    • Clubs & Organizations: Join the Organics Guild, Sustainability Coalition or Wildlife Society. 
       
    • Coldharbour Institute: Experiment with sustainable building design, resilient food systems or community organizing in the Gunnison Valley.
       
    • Conferences: Attend the Headwaters Conference, the Colorado Water Workshop and Sage Grouse Spring Symposium.
       
    • Earthship Academy: Learn how to construct a self-sustaining building capable of producing food and saving energy.
       
    • High Country News: Check out the independent news source's new satellite office located in Kelley Hall.
       
    • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Find a research assistantship at one of the premier biological research stations in the world. 
       
    • Solar Energy International: Engage in the local, regional or global conversation about the renewable energy era.

    Scholarships

    Program-Based Scholarships

    Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship

    Eligibility

    • Students who have demonstrated community involvement with environmental solutions, academic excellence and a dedication to mountain environments which could encompass recreational activity, personal connection or service.

    Description

    This scholarship is provided by Jim and Dianne Mahaffey.

    Award depends on funds available.

    Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

    Application:

    Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page.

    Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability at

    970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 240

    Mike Martin Memorial Scholarship

    Eligibility

    • Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) majors
    • Must have 3.0 GPA or above
    • Preference will be given to a resident of Crested Butte, CO. If no applicants meet this requirement, preference will be given to a resident of Gunnison, Colo. If no applicants meet the criteria, applicants must be a Colorado resident. 

    Description

    This scholarship is provided by the Michael Martin Community Fund

    Award depends on funds available

    Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council 

    Application:

    Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page.

    Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program.

    970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

    Nauman, James D. Environmental Stewardship Scholarship

    Eligibility

    • Full-time students majoring in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS)
    • Minimum of 30 credits at Western
    • Must have made a significant contribution towards environmental stewardship while at Western
    • Students must demonstrate academic achievement and progress towards ENVS major

    Description

    This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49

    Amount:

    Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $500).

    Selected by: Environment & Sustainability Council

    Application:

    Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. 970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

    Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship - Freshmen

    Eligibility

    • Must have applied and been admitted to Western
    • Demonstrated an interest in pursuing a degree in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS)
    • Preference given to students with financial need

    Description

    This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

    Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $500)

    Selected by: The Environment & Sustainability Council

    Application:

    Application and deadline information available on the ENVS scholarships page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. 970.943.3162 | Kelley Hall 108

    Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship

    Eligibility

    • Full-time students who are majoring in Environment & Sustainability, Enviornmental Biology or a related field
    • Must be a junior level (60+ credits) 
    • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
    • Preference given to students with financial need who are residents of the Western Slope of Colorado and have expressed interest in a career in park operations/park management or a career in the earth sciences

    Description

    This scholarship is provided by Barbara Kastellic and gifts from others to honor Joseph, who was the first Superintendent of the Black Canyon National Monument from 1975-1984.

    Award depends on funds available.

    Application: 

    Complete and submit The Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship application which is available in the Financial Aid Office.

     A recommendation and a one-page essay will be needed to complete the application.

    Institutional Scholarships

    Common Scholarships

    Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Early Action Credit

    If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

    Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

    Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

    Neighboring States Program

    Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

    The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

    For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Presidential Promise

    The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

    For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Tuition Discount Programs

    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

    For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Western Merit Scholarship

    Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

    For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Faculty & Staff

    Faculty

    Kevin Alexander, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Biology; Chair, Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences
    Phone: 970.943.3405
    Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
    Melanie  Armstrong, Ph.D.  headshot
    Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
    Phone:
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
    D. Scott Borden, Ph.D. headshot
    Director, Outdoor Industry MBA
    Phone: 970.943.2294
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
    Abel Chávez, Ph.D. headshot
    Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Environment & Sustainability
    Phone: 970.943.2017
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 104 and Taylor Hall 322
    Kate Clark, Ph.D. headshot
    Director of Undergraduate Environment & Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment & Sustainability and Sociology programs
    Phone:
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
    Jonathan Coop, Ph.D. headshot
    Associate Professor
    Phone: 970.943.2565
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
    Luke  Danielson headshot
    Clark Sustainable Development Chair in Environment and Sustainability
    Phone: 303.912.0855
    Office Location: Kelley 206
    Jennie DeMarco, Ph.D. headshot
    Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
    Phone: 970.943.2013
    Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 303
    Dave Ellerbroek, Ph.D. headshot
    Graduate Faculty for Sustainability Transitions
    Phone:
    Office Location:
    Suzanne Ewy, JD headshot
    Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
    Phone: 970.943.2023
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
    Karen Hausdoerffer, MFA headshot
    Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
    Phone: 970.943.3450
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
    John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.  headshot
    Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
    Phone: 970.943.3450
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
    Corrie Knapp, Ph.D. headshot
    Associate Professor of Environment & Sustainability
    Phone: 970.943.3154
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 116
    Salif P. Mahamane, M.S. headshot
    Assistant Professor of Psychology; Graduate Faculty, MEM
    Phone: 970.943.7037
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 206
    Taryn Mead, Ph.D. headshot
    Graduate Faculty
    Phone: 970.943.3954
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
    Brooke Moran, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Recreation & Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Adjunct Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
    Phone: 970.943.2118
    Office Location: Wright Gym 223
    Jeff Sellen, Ph.D.  headshot
    Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Director of Colorado Water Workshop
    Phone: 970.943.3162
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 107
    Lynn Sikkink, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Anthropology
    Phone: 970.943.2062
    Office Location: Hurst Hall 31C
    Sally Thode headshot
    Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
    Phone:
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
    Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Master in Environmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
    Phone: 970.765.8488
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 143

    Courses

    FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

     BIOL 130 - Environmental Biology (3 credits)

    An introduction to basic biological principles as they apply to interactions between organisms and their environment. Consideration is given to biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics, and evolution with a special emphasis on human impacts on these biological systems. This course establishes a strong foundation in applied biology from a scientific perspective.

     BIOL 135 - Environmental Biology Laboratory (1 credits)

    An experimental approach in both the field and laboratory to explore fundamental biological principles including biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics and evolution. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 130.

     ENVS 100 - Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (3 credits)

    An interdisciplinary, historical analysis of the development of environmental problems, movements, and philosophies. Students apply historical lessons to critically examine sustainable solutions locally and globally.

     ENVS 200 - Writing the Environment (3 credits)

    Students develop communication skills through presentations and writing on a variety of environmental issues appropriate to a wide variety of audiences. Through environmental essays, writing for nonprofit websites, grant proposals, and other forms of environmental writing, students are introduced to a broad range of skills needed for effective communication. Focus throughout the course on the analysis of arguments and texts further develops students' analytical and communication skills. Prerequisite: ENVS 100; COM 202 is recommended.

     ENVS 301 - Science of Sustainability and Resilience (3 credits)

    A holistic inquiry into how humans might live the next chapter of our history, guided by the ecological principles of sustainability and resilience. Environmental problems and their possible solutions are analyzed critically and quantitatively; field experiences on campus and in the community involve students directly in the application of these principles. Themes include sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, and conservation and restoration. Prerequisites: BIOL 130, BIOL 135, PHYS 125

     ENVS 350 - U.S. and Western Environmental Politics (3 credits)

    An historical and contemporary investigation of U.S. environmental policies with an applied focus on the impact of national policy on the ecosystems and cultures of the American West. Reciprocally, this course traces how pubic lands agencies, social movements, historical land uses, and diverse cultures in the West shape U.S. environmental policy. Students combine analysis and discussion of major U.S. policies, prominent theories and issues, and student-led environmental service projects to better understand environmental challenges. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ENVS 200 or COM 202; and ECON 370.

     ENVS 360 - Global Environmental Policy (3 credits)

    A critical examination of key perspectives, economic and political processes, policy actors, and institutions involved in global environmental issues. Students analyze ecological, cultural, and social dimensions of international environmental concerns and governance as they have emerged in response to increased recognition of global environmental threats, globalization, and international contributions to understanding of these issues. The focus of the course encourages students to engage and evaluate texts within the broad policy discourse on globalization, justice, and the environment. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201, ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

     ENVS 370 - Water Policy and Politics (3 credits)

    Study of the history, politics and institutions related to water policy and administration with comparative reference to different regions of the United States and internationally. Attention is given to the industrial development of the East and the created water resources of the arid West as a way to understand changing social sentiments toward water and water policy. The course also examines water pollution laws and water management. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201 or ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

     ENVS 390 - Environmental Monitoring (4 credits)

    A field-work based study of local (Gunnison Basin) environmental problems. Numerous monitoring techniques are implemented based on principles of biology, chemistry, and geology. The emphasis is on collaborative and integrative group projects dealing directly with real-world environmental problems. Prerequisites: ENVS 301 and one of the following: ECON 216, MATH 213, or SOC 211.

     ENVS 400 - Applied Sustainability (3 credits)

    A field-based, collaborative, problem-solving experience that addresses a current issue in environmental sustainability. Implementing frameworks such as resilient and systems thinking, students collect information, analyze results, write a report, publicly present their findings, and begin to implement solutions informed by their analysis. Students learn basic skills for transforming their ENVS education into compelling environmental professional career possibilities. Prerequisites: ENVS 350 and ENVS 390.

     ENVS 410 - Environmental Ethics (3 credits)

    A seminar on the complexities of environmental issues from a philosophical perspective. The course also offers a survey of the evolution of environmental moral philosophy as well as in-depth analysis of major thinkers in the field. Students confront ethical concerns from both historical and personal perspectives, with an emphasis on the ability to critically evaluate and apply these perspectives to their work in environmental fields. Prerequisite: ENVS 301 and 350; or PHIL 335.

     HWTR 398 - Headwaters Conference (1 credits)

    An annual two-day gathering on campus each fall, bringing together writers and scholars, local community leaders and activists, artists, government officials, and other interested citizens from the colleges and communities of the Headwaters Region to consider challenges and opportunities confronting the region. Students attend and participate in the conference and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Students attend and participate in the conference, complete applied research projects throughout the month following the conference, and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Student may take the course four times for additional credit. Prerequisite: junior standing or instructor permission.

     MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

    A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

  • Bachelor of Arts in Environment & Sustainability
    • Major
    • Minor
    • Accelerated Master's Degree

    Overview

    Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) focuses on the interactions of humans and the natural environment. Students study the structure and function of natural systems; examine how social, political and economic activity impacts those systems; and experiment with resilient solutions to unsustainable human impacts. 

    The Program

    The ENVS program prepares students for meaningful livelihoods based on their values. Our graduates enter their fields with the skills to connect ideas, individuals and organizations. They become effective interdisciplinary communicators, and they enact positive change throughout their natural and social communities. To complement their ENVS degree, some students opt to focus in on water issues through our Water emphasis, while others design their own custom-built Individualized Contract

    For students looking to accelerate their journey to a higher level career, we offer a 3+2 program which allows students to transform their senior year into the first year of graduate school in our innovative Master of Environmental Management (MEM) or Master of Science in Ecology programs. 

    Careers & Opportunities

    Environment & Sustainability graduates have found jobs as:

    • Policy advocates
    • Environmental consultants
    • Land managers
    • Park rangers
    • Research scientists
    • Sustainable builders
    • Sustainable food coordinators
    • Transportation analysts
    • Organizational Sustainability Coordinators

     Students have also pursued graduate and doctoral degrees in:

    • Community and regional planning
    • Conservation biology
    • Environmental humanities
    • Environmental law
    • Plant and soil science
    • Public administration

    Learn More

    Reach out to Kate Clark, Ph.D. for more information. 

    Interested in Graduate School?

    Western’s accelerated 3+2 programs allow you to earn your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in just five years—saving you time and money.


    Professor discusses solar panels on the roof of Kelley Hall

    Master in Environmental Management 3+2

    Natural
    Accelerated Master's Degree
    Master in Environmental Management, MEM, Western Colorado University, accelerated degree, 3+2, Western State, accelerated graduate degree
    Students working together in a stream

    Master of Science in Ecology 3+2

    Natural
    Accelerated Master's Degree
    Ecology, 3+2, MS, Masters, Fisheries, Biology, Conservation Biology, Wildlife Management