About the Undergraduate Program
Our undergraduate degree programs are among the most popular at the University of Oregon, with over 600 majors currently enrolled. We offer B.A. and B.S. degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental Science, as well as an undergraduate minors in Environmental Studies and Food Studies. Our undergraduate alumni hold positions in such fields as environmental planning, environmental education, green investment planning, wildlife biology, and more. Many choose to double major, combining their Environmental Studies or Environmental Science degrees with majors in architecture, business, English, geography, landscape architecture, planning, or other fields.
Our curriculum is thoroughly interdisciplinary, drawing on environment-related courses throughout the university. Our majors are designed to achieve the following goals:
- to provide a solid foundation in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities;
- to build on these foundations in advanced coursework within and across a variety of disciplines;
- to develop the skills needed to study human-environment interactions in an interdisciplinary way that respects all of their complexity;
- to encourage practical learning experiences that can prepare students for active participation in the work force and in local and global communities.
The Environmental Studies degree, while providing a foundation in the natural sciences, focuses in particular on the social sciences, policy studies, environmental design, and the humanities. This major prepares students for careers in the non-profit sector, government agencies, environmental planning, sustainability advising, green business, environmental education, environmental journalism, and related areas. Many of our alumni pursue degrees in environmental law or graduate degrees in environment-related fields.
The Environmental Science degree emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the natural sciences, including biology, geology, chemistry, data analysis, and physical geography. It is designed for students who want to focus on scientific careers in fields such as pollution abatement, water resources, ecosystem protection, environmental restoration, and environmental management. Graduates of this major hold positions in government agencies, the non-profit sector, and private business, and many pursue further education in environmental science fields.
The Minor in Food Studies provides a holistic and broadly interdisciplinary examination of food’s central place in the human experience. The Minor is designed to enhance and give balance—with a focus—to the experience of students pursuing majors in a wide variety of programs across the university. The Minor combines classroom and experiential work allowing students from a range of disciplines to gain valuable hands-on experience, through opportunities to work on the Urban Farm, to utilize community connections and conduct service-learning with local hunger and relief efforts, or to document a variety of regional, occupational, and ethnic foodways.
The Minor in Environmental Humanities helps students to understand the environment and the human condition through interdisciplinary scholarship in the humanities and allied disciplines. Through interpretation, argumentation, storytelling, and the arts, students reflect on the interactions between humans and their environments over time and among different cultures, grapple with complex moral and ethical issues, think critically about the world around us, and help to transform our environmental futures through imaginative and creative projects. This minor differs from the Environmental Studies minor in its primary focus on how humanities disciplines and the arts can contribute to understandings of environmental change; environmental ethics and politics; environmental justice; climate justice; and equitable, sustainable futures. At the UO, the Environmental Humanities are also concerned with the long histories of colonialism and racism.