Why study environmental studies?

The KU Environmental Studies Program provides a rigorous interdisciplinary education and stimulates exchange concerning the environment from natural science, social science, and humanities perspectives.

Undergraduate Programs

This interdisciplinary major gives students a fundamental knowledge of the human environment, the dimensions of human impact on the environment, and holistic approaches to solving problems resulting from this impact. The human environment includes all facets of human activity affecting the environment, such as philosophical and ethical issues, environmental resource use and misuse, population biology, and the chemistry of the atmosphere.


The goals of the program are

  1. To provide a holistic view of the environment, one in which the synergistic nature of perturbations, natural and anthropogenic, can be understood and
  2. To provide the technical and evaluative skills for active participation in an environmental career.

The environment is the central theme around which a liberal arts education is focused.

Students may declare an interest in environmental studies or a major in environmental studies by filling out the appropriate forms. CLAS Interest Code and Major Declaration forms are available from College Student Academic Services, 109 Strong Hall, or in the environmental studies office. Students are strongly encouraged to declare an environmental studies major as soon as possible.

Electives provide the opportunity to specialize, and these can be chosen by consulting the various pathways in the major, which contain a list of faculty members associated with the pathway who are available to help decide on electives and environmental careers. An elective approval form must be submitted to 109 Strong Hall before a student is allowed to graduate. Forms may be obtained from the environmental studies office. Except for study abroad, a maximum of 8 hours of nonclassroom course work may be counted toward electives (e.g., internship or research).

Exceptions and Substitutions

All substitutions must be approved by a student’s environmental studies faculty advisor. A student must submit a requirement substitution form to the environmental studies faculty advisor. Forms can be obtained from the environmental studies office.


Internships allow majors to develop new skills and test their abilities and educational backgrounds. Students can assess their career objectives in professional settings. Internships are done in city, county, state, and federal agencies and in environmental organizations and private companies or agencies. Students are encouraged to participate at the end of the sophomore or junior year. Completion of an internship by the end of the junior year provides an opportunity to make career changes and final elective selections before the senior year. It is not possible to participate in an internship after graduation. The applicant must have a grade-point average of 2.5 or above, must have completed 12 hours of required environmental studies courses, and must have a suitable internship opportunity. A maximum of 3 hours may be applied to the 12 hours of required electives.

Contact Info

Environmental Studies Program

Snow Hall
1460 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 252
Lawrence, KS 66045-7514
J. Christopher Brown, Director
Cindy Thompson, Undergraduate Advisor
Why KU
  • One of 34 public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • 2nd in the nation for prestigious faculty Fulbright awards
  • 26 Rhodes scholars
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • One of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs. U.S. News and World Report