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Environment and Sustainability B.A.

Program Type: 
Bachelor of Arts
Geography and Philosophy

The purpose of the Environment & Sustainability program is to give students the skills they need to understand and play a role in solving the critical environmental and sustainability challenges faced by communities all over the world. Students in this program learn the science behind how the physical systems of the earth work and also learn about the political and social systems that govern our relationship with the environment.

Our program is unique in that students learn about both environmental and social forces shaping the world with a focus on students becoming change makers in their communities and the world. Classes are small, all students have a chance to interact with professors doing research in the field of environment and sustainability. The degree is designed to provide students the skills they need to understand the complexities of environment and sustainability, and ultimately find employment or a place in graduate school.

Acquired Skills

  • Students gain an integrated understanding of the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development
  • Students gain an understanding of the social and community components of sustainability along with an understanding of the solutions for and benefits of creating more sustainable societies
  • Students understand the motives behind and barriers to implementing these sustainable solutions in modern society
  • Students demonstrate an ability to apply their classroom learning experience by conducting successful work in the community advancing sustainable development projects


Career Possibilities

The program prepares students for a wide diversity of careers in private industry, government and non-profit organizations. ES students have also gone on to graduate school to pursue advanced degrees in ecological economics/sustainable development, environmental law, resource management and policy, environmental studies/science and numerous other related fields.

Admissions and Scholarships

Graduates of our program find success in a wide variety of different fields pursuing a number of different career paths. Some students do graduate degrees in Sustainability Studies, Urban Planning, Geographic Information Science or Public Policy. Others find work in careers using the skills they learned in the program such as working in state parks, working at environmental firms, working in non-profit organizations or in state and local government.

Student Clubs

Gamma Theta Upsilon

Faculty Highlights

Creating jobs, producing fuel and food, and improving the environment is the focus of a partnership between the City of Silver Bay, Minn., and the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Center for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD). The project has created Victus Farm, a facility that houses a self-contained food and energy-generating ecosystem made up of a greenhouse, fish tanks, and algae production areas.
Michael Mageau, UMD assistant professor of environmental studies, said that there are examples of groups bringing two components together for food production but this is the first project that he knows of in the world to incorporate three systems: fish, plants, and algae.


We seek students who are creative, inquisitive, and ambitious and, most importantly, interested in the world around. Many of our students enjoy spending time in the outdoors, others are interested in cities and urban environments. What they have in common is an interest in thinking about how humans affect environments and how choices today affect future generations. All of our students do internships at local organizations, from urban planning agencies to environmental firms. We stress the real-world application of skills.

Graduate Report

Recent UMD Graduates Job Placement Data & Employers

Here's a sampling of positions Environment & Sustainability B.A grads have attained six months to one year after graduation.

  • GIS Technician - CenterPoint Energy, Minneapolis, MN
  • Natural Resources Technician - City of Apple Valley, Apple Valley, MN
  • Divemaster - Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA
  • Waste Reduction & Recycling Member - Minnesota GreenCorps, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Carlton, MN
  • Water Resource Specialist - State of Montana, Department of Natural Resource, Helena, MT

For more data see the Environment & Sustainability B.A Graduate Follow-Up Report.
For ideas about Environment & Sustainability B.A and other majors visit Career & Internship Services.