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Bachelor of Arts Environmental Studies and Sustainability


As an Environmental Studies & Sustainability (ESS) major, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of human interaction within the natural environment by taking courses in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. SVSU’s close proximity to the Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron and both agricultural and urban ecosystems will allow you to interact and work with professionals in the field and learn about important environmental issues.

By majoring in ESS you'll become a problem solver prepared for careers in soil and wetland science, restoration ecology, geology and conservation.

What should you choose — Environmental Science or Environmental Studies & Sustainability?


This program focuses more on the social sciences but links them with natural sciences to prepare students for careers in planning, policy, geospatial analysis and conservation. ESS pairs well with a minor in political science, international studies, or business, or a certificate in community development. An environmental studies & sustainability major is a good fit if you’re interested in a career in sustainability coordination, environmental education, or environmental law.


This program focuses on solving environmental problems with ecological and analytical tools. Coursework centers around mathematics, biology, and chemistry or physics. If you’re thinking about a career in natural resources management, environmental toxicology, or energy systems, this is the major for you.

Cardinal Points

  • Study in our backyard — the heart of the Saginaw Bay watershed. Students gain hands-on, real-world experience to meet the needs within the Great Lakes region and beyond.

  • The Department of Labor predicts that jobs in the environmental studies field will grow by 8% through 2030.

  • Students have the opportunity to intern with the Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute.

The Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS) offers a multi-disciplinary array of courses, with a focus on social sciences, to prepare students for environmental jobs and graduate studies. Student will gain a solid foundation of knowledge in human-environmental systems and issues, data analysis, field skills, political/economic systems, writing, and communication. Students will be prepared for careers in planning, policy, geospatial analysis and conservation in the governmental, nonprofit and private sectors. A minor outside the Geography Department is required. The GIS certificate program is strongly recommended in addition to a minor.

Highlighted Courses

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Key Electives

Click here to see a listing of programs




Our Students After Graduation...


Internships & Regional Employment:

Bay City State Recreation Area
Bay County Mosquito
Cass River Greenway
Central Michigan CISMA
Chippewa Nature Center
Little Forks Conservancy
Huron Pines
Midland Conservation District
Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy
Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Mgmt. Area
Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
Spicer Group
Wade Trim

Additional Employment Opportunities:

State of Michigan
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Michigan State University Institute of Water Research
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Private industry (land surveying, community planning, consulting)
Non-profit organizations (nature centers, conservancies, advocacy groups)

Career Opportunities

With a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, students may pursue careers in education, business, government, political organizations, nonprofit associations, private consulting firms, journalism, communications, land conservancies, nature centers, parks.

Graduates who are looking to further their knowledge and expertise may choose to enter graduate degree programs such as environmental planning, resource management, engineering, law or public policy.

Careers Opportunities:

Environmental Consultant / Education
Public Relations Specialist
Environmental Policy Analyst / Legislative Advocate
Community / Environmental Planning
Natural Resource Management
Conservation Scientist / Naturalist
Urban & Regional Planning / Habitat Restoration
Technical Environmental Writer / Communications Specialist
Cartographer/GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist
National/State Park Ranger or Guide
Conservation Specialist / Technician
Eco-tourism Guide
Environmental Researcher
Environmental Manager / Program Coordinator
Water Resources Manager / Specialist
Environmental / Invasive Species Technician

  • 8% projected growth for employment of environmental scientists and specialists with a bachelor’s degree through 2030. (U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • $73,230 is the median yearly pay for environmental scientists and specialists in the U.S. (U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Fully integrated into social networks, SVSU Connect is a valuable networking space dedicated to the community of SVSU students, faculty and alumni which cultivates a culture of helping and giving back. In addition to connecting with each other, students at all points along their journey can reach out to alumni mentors for guidance and insight into making the most of their SVSU experience and successfully transitioning into life after graduation.

Admissions staff have been informed of your interest in this program and will reach out soon!

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