environmental studies majorThank you for your interest in Environmental Studies at Fort Lewis College. As you know, people and ecosystems everywhere are faced with a converging set of crises that include climate change, over-harvesting and over-consumption, and other disturbances that are both large scale and widespread. Developing effective individual, community, national, and global responses to such issues rests ultimately on recognizing and improving relationships between human societies and the planet. 

Effective leaders in our complex world must be able to integrate and apply knowledge from multiple fields. Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary degree program that provides you with the opportunity to develop the scientific literacy and social and political savvy to address environmental problems.

Fort Lewis College is located in Durango, Colorado – the veritable crossroads of the deserts, canyonlands, and alpine environments of the American Southwest’s Four Corners region. This unique location situates the College in an ideal setting for the detailed, place-based study of contemporary issues related to environmental justice; energy; sustainable food production; water use and allocation; natural resource management; environmental restoration; tourism; and transitions in economic development, land use, and urban planning. In addition, the proximity of four Native American nations to Durango presents significant opportunities to study social and environmental issues on tribal lands. At Fort Lewis College, students and faculty members engage with contemporary issues that are relevant to the region and the world.

environmental studies majors studying

Learning Goals and Objectives

1. Students will recognize that environmental studies makes connections between multiple areas of study and points of view.

  • Students will understand the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies and be able to evaluate the relationships between the various disciplines
  • Students will be able to synthesize knowledge from various points of view

2. Students will be able to understand and describe complex human and environmental interactions related to local, regional, and global issues including an ability to: 

  • explain place-based concepts
  • identify the effects of environmental degradation on human communities
  • recognize the relationships between social and environmental justice
  • understand the role of humans in environmental change, and the importance of stewardship
  • identify and apply various approaches to sustainability and mitigating environmental damage
  • understand the roles of local, state, national, and international environmental policies
  • recognize the importance of scientific literacy in evaluating environmental issues and problems

3. Students will have the ability to identify and apply appropriate research strategies to study complex environmental issues, drawing from a diverse skill set including qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies, to objectively analyze diverse cultural, economic, and social perspectives on environmental issues by integrating ideas and knowledge from various points of view;

4. Students will be able to communicate effectively complex human and environmental issues to the general public, environmental professionals and policymakers;

  • by demonstrating effective writing and
  • by demonstrating effective delivery of multimedia presentations

5. Students will be able to illustrate and/or apply their understanding of environmental issues and the importance of collaboration through practical engagement across communities at all levels.

Is Environmental Studies for Me?

environmental studies students Environmental Studies students come from many different backgrounds, but all share a common commitment to create change for a healthy planet. If you can identify with any of the statements below, then come talk to our participating faculty -- we want to work with you!

  • You want to think, write, and speak effectively about environmental issues.
  • You are interested in many different kinds of courses related to the environment – from biology, to literature, to political science and more.
  • You can imagine more sustainable alternatives to the status quo.
  • You want to understand sustainable systems of food production, building
    design, and energy efficiency.
  • You enjoy learning in outdoor settings.
  • You believe that a clean and healthy environment is a human right.
  • You intend to work collaboratively with community members to solve our most
    pressing environmental challenges.
  • You are looking for coursework and assignments that address real-world
    issues.
  • You want to learn how different people and cultures view the environment.
  • You are willing to be an environmental leader for future generations.