Undergraduate Course Listing

Undergraduate Admissions

Environmental Studies Major

The Environmental Studies Program is an integrated, multi-disciplinary, science-based program that focuses on interactions between people and the natural and built environments .

Part of GW's Geography Department in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the environmental studies program affords majors opportunities to take coursework related to sustainability with a variety of offerings in the social sciences, physical and life sciences, and the humanities. The program serves as initial preparation toward analyzing broad-based environmental and development policy both domestically and internationally.

Related majors, minors and concentrations

In addition to a BA in Environmental Studies, students can also get a major or minor in geography, or get a minor in geographic information systems.

What will I learn?

After taking the introductory physical geography (Geog 002) and society and environment (Geog 003) courses, students select from offerings in geography, geology, biological sciences, and techniques courses in geospatial (GIS) analysis, statistics and economics.

What can I do with an environmental studies major?

Students with a BA in Environmental Studies have career opportunities in a variety of fields in environmental management and policy, writing environmental impact assessments, managing critical resources like water, or working as planners. Many go on to graduate school and eventual careers as educators, managers, and lawyers.

Sustainability is the new watchword for development of any kind, and those with environmental studies backgrounds find work in municipal, state and federal government, ecological research for a nongovernmental organization, or leading fieldtrips for K-12 classes introducing children to wildlife in urban parks.

Subject Highlights

GW's location in downtown Washington, D.C. affords many opportunities to engage both with nature and with the built environment. Field courses offered in Geography and Geology give students a taste of life away from the campus. Internship opportunities with the National Parks Service, the National Geographic, and the Environmental Protection Agency are but a few available to students.

The Center for Urban and Environmental Research was created to provide opportunities for faculty and students to engage in research and urban development activities. The center collaborates with the National Institutes of Health, the Pan American Development Institute, Children's Hospital, Casey Trees, and the World Bank.

To register as an Environmental Studies Major, please contact the Geography Department, or Program Advisor to discuss your options, and fill out the required paper work.

Dr. Melissa Keeley, Director, Environmental Studies Program

Email Professor Keeley

Environmental Studies majors must complete a minimum of 46 credits in associated interdisciplinary coursework.

If declared before the start of Fall 2017 here are your Environmental Studies MAJOR Requirements (Adobe PDF)

If declared after the start of Fall 2017 here are your Environmental Studies MAJOR Requirements (Adobe PDF) 



GEOG 3143: Urban Environmental Issues

Students learn about various issues relating to urban sustainability in this class.  Pictured here, students are doing a project with a community partner, Casey Trees.  The project involved students taking an inventory of trees on the GW campus; measuring trunk diameter and tree canopy. 

What is the environmental studies community like at GW?

Part of the department of geography, environmental studies is a platform for student engagement on many levels. Students can get experience outside the classroom through numerous internship and service opportunities in the Washington DC area, including environmental nongovernmental organizations and various agencies of the US federal government. Students can also participate in organizations such as Green GW.