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Program on the Environment

Program Overview

12 Wallace Hall

The Program on the Environment (PoE) fosters and promotes interdisciplinary environmental education at the UW. As an interdisciplinary program merging multiple fields of study, PoE draws faculty from a wide array of disciplines, providing a unique opportunity for students and faculty to explore complex environmental issues from multiple perspectives.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
12 Wallace Hall, Box 355679
(206) 616-2461 or (206) 616-1208
poeadv@uw.edu

The Program on the Environment offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in environmental studies
  • A minor in environmental studies

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First and Second-Year College Courses: ENVIR 100, ENVIR 200, ENVIR 250, and all foundational courses listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time.

General Education Requirements

All majors must satisfy the College of the Environment general education requirements.

Major Requirements

110 credits, as follows:

  1. Core Courses (20 credits): ENVIR 100, ENVIR 200, ENVIR 250, ENVIR 300
  2. Foundational Courses (50 credits)
    1. Biology (10 credits): BIOL 180 and one course (or sequence) from among BIOL 200, BIOL 118/BIOL 119, BIOL 250/FISH 250/OCEAN 250, ENVIR 280
    2. Chemistry (5 credits): CHEM 120
    3. Earth Systems Literacy (10 credits): Climate -- either ATM S 211 or ESS 201; Land, Water, or Atmosphere: one course from ATM S 212, ESS 210, ESS 230/OCEAN 230, GEOG 205, OCEAN 200
    4. Quantitative Methods (10 credits): One course from Q SCI 381, STAT 220, STAT 311; and one course from approved list (see department website or advising office for list)
    5. Values and Cultures (15 credits): Three courses from ECON 235/ENVIR 235/ESRM 235, HSTAA 221/ENVIR 221, and ENVIR 243/PHIL 243. With adviser approval, students may substitute related courses.
  3. Environmental Perspectives and Experiences (30 credits): Minimum 30 credits from the list of approved courses (see department website or advising office for list). Minimum 3 credits in each of the six following categories: perspectives -- human and social dimensions; natural sciences, and policy and decision making; experiences -- bioregional; international; and fieldwork. At least 25 of the 30 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level. Courses listed under both perspectives and experiences may count toward either, but not both. Environmentally related independent study courses, study abroad programs, and other courses not on the approved list may count toward this requirement if approved in advance by the PoE adviser.
  4. Capstone Experience (10 credits): ENVIR 490, ENVIR 491, ENVIR 492
  5. GPA Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each course presented for the major.

Minor

Minor Requirements: 30 credits, including ENVIR 100 and either ENVIR 200 or ENVIR 250. Five (5) credits from among ECON 235/ENVIR 235/ESRM 235, HSTAA 221/ENVIR 221, and PHIL 243/ENVIR 243. Remaining 15 credits drawn from the environmental perspectives course list (see program website or adviser for list). At least one course (minimum 3 credits) in each environmental perspectives course category, i.e., natural sciences, human and social dimensions, and policy and decision making. Ten (10) of these 15 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level. Minimum 2.0 for each course presented for the minor.

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The environmental studies major offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary, experiential curriculum designed to prepare future environmental leaders to respond to bioregional and global environmental opportunities and challenges. It takes advantage of the extraordinary environmental research at the UW, and makes that social, scientific, humanistic, and professional expertise accessible to students in innovative ways.
  • Students completing the BA in environmental studies have developed skills in the following:
    1. Earth Systems Knowledge: Understand the structure, function, and integration of the Earth, its inhabitants, and its four major spheres: land, water, living things, and air.
    2. Interdisciplinary Approach: Apply an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment, integrating multiple kinds of information, tools, methods, and scholarship from a variety of disciplines, in order to analyze and construct arguments about complex environmental issues.
    3. Experiential Learning: Understand the connections between classroom and experiential learning and successfully practice multiple forms of hands-on, real world applications.
    4. Communication: Demonstrate proficiency in multiple modes of communication (writing for different audiences and purposes, using a range of disciplinary norms; oral presentations and public speaking; online publishing; and visual display of environmental information).
    5. Public Policy & Decision Making: Understand how uncertainty, risk, law, politics, ethics, economics, and culture interact with environmental public policy and decision making.
    6. Teamwork: Collaborate as members of teams, effectively working with multiple stakeholders from various backgrounds to address environmental issues.
    7. History of Environmental Inquiry: Understand and reflect critically on the intellectual and cultural history of environmental studies including the history of environmental preservation and conservation.
    8. Temporal Scales: Understand various temporal scales inherent in environmental studies and situate themselves on the continuum of geologic time, evolutionary history, human environment history, and decision making for future generations.
    9. Spatial Scales: Understand various spatial scales inherent in environmental studies spanning the continuum from the local/bioregional to the international/global.
    10. Diversity: Understand how environmental perspectives, policies, and decisions are related to issues of diversity, privilege, and power.
    11. Technical Knowledge: Be familiar with some of the technological tools commonly used to address environmental challenges.
    12. Professional Development: Understand how their education will serve them as environmental professionals.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The Program on the Environment office in Wallace Hall Suite 12 includes a commons area for student and faculty events and presentations, four study areas, and a computer lab. Because PoE is an interdisciplinary program, its students access resources, laboratories, and field stations across a range of UW departments, colleges, and schools.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: All environmental studies majors complete a senior capstone experience, which includes an internship with a community-based organization or government agency, an undergraduate research project, and/or international fieldwork or study abroad.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: SAGE (Student Association for Green Environments) is a club to spread awareness for environmental issues on and off campus and to promote events for a greener, sustainable environment. SAGE is committed to community engagement and education and creating professional development opportunities for environmental studies students.