What You’ll Study

Environmental studies is available as major or a minor. If you decide to major, you’ll declare your choice to pursue it as either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science during your sophomore or junior year.

This interdisciplinary major starts with core courses in biology, ecology, chemistry, math, and environmental ethics. Then you’ll select from a wide range of courses in a concentration and elective area based on your interests.


On top of the core environmental studies courses, you’ll choose one of the following concentrations for the bulk of your coursework in the major (or design one of your own with the help of your faculty advisor).

Elective Areas

You’ll also choose elective courses from topic areas such as:

  • Natural science systems
  • Managing natural resources
  • Creating sustainable communities
  • Education and outreach
  • Communication and arts
  • Spirituality and conservation

Honors Program in Natural Sciences

Environmental studies majors can opt to participate in the honors program, which grants honors recognition on your degree. To graduate with honors, you must earn a 3.5 GPA, complete an independent research project or internship, and present your work to the faculty.

Explore Classes in This Program

ENS 201

Applied Ecology

Take your lessons out into the real world by applying them to today’s most pressing environmental problems. Emphasis is on field work for topics like composting, wetlands, water pollution, fish and wildlife management, and environmental impacts.

PHI 252

Environmental Ethics

Gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and other beings that inhabit the natural world. Includes philosophies like the Land Ethic, Deep Ecology, Ecofeminism, and some Eastern approaches.

REL 213

Religion and Environmental Justice

Explore the environmental justice movements of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand, East African religions in Kenya, and other spaces where the protection of our natural world and spiritual beliefs intersect.

Meet Our Faculty

As I field biologist, I always say our best laboratories are right out the back door of the science building. Within a 5 minute walk we have 3 ponds, a trout stream and 600 acres of Forest.

Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Mark Brenner
Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Mist over the Swannanoa Valley

In today's world it is not enough to just know things, we need people who can also do things. Warren Wilson students take joy in accomplishing both — incredibly well.

Dave Ellum, Ph.D.
Dave Ellum
Dave Ellum, Ph.D.
Liesl Peterson Erb

I am more guide than teacher; I love guiding intelligent, passionate students as they help change the world not just after they graduate, but as part of their educational experience.

Liesl Peterson Erb, Ph.D.
Liesl Peterson Erb
Liesl Peterson Erb, Ph.D.
Amy Knisely

Teaching and learning at Warren Wilson is not for the faint of heart! And some days I wake up tired. But the strong-hearted, active-minded students and educators, busy together in this beautiful valley and beyond, send me home energized every day.

Amy L. Knisley, Ph.D.
Amy Knisely
Amy L. Knisley, Ph.D.

The best part of the job is watching students graduate with a strong portfolio of experiences and find meaningful work connecting people to places.

Mallory McDuff, Ph.D.
Mallory McDuff, Ph.D.
Mist over the Swannanoa Valley
Fieldwork Experiences

Get into the Great Outdoors

Environmental studies gets you out into the forests, the fields, and the community. Many classes and research projects have some type of outdoor component. The college farm is a field laboratory for tasks like testing soil and water quality. And there aren’t many other majors with classes like kayaking and rock climbing on the requirements list.