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"The CU environmental studies major has allowed me to develop systems thinking skills reinforced with an understanding of the socioeconomic, political, and ecological components of environmental problems. The community, curriculum, events, and the support given for leadership development have prepared me to take effective action in shaping a sustainable future."
Matthew Ribarich, 2014 ENVS Graduate
Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide a broad, yet rigorous, education in environmental issues and problem-solving. The purpose of the major is to train students in the causes, scale, and remediation strategies of major environmental problems in the United States and the world. Students will acquire an awareness of the complexity of factors relating to human interactions with the environment. They will learn that environmental problems have both human and biophysical components, and gain knowledge of the general principles of human-environmental interaction, environmental change, and sustainable human societies. Students will also develop an understanding of how environmental policies are enacted and implemented.
If you are interested in majoring in Environmental Studies, student assistants are available to meet with prospective undergraduate students and their families to talk about the ENVS major and life at CU-Boulder. If you are planning a trip to campus, email the ENVS office in advance to arrange a meeting with a student assistant and/or the opportunity to sit in on a class. Feel free to review the information on the undergraduate curriculum and academic opportunities. Click the Undergraduate Students link on the right side of this page to find out more information such as how to apply and frequently asked questions.
General information on applying to CU Boulder is available on the Admissions website. There is specific information for freshman, transfer, and international students. You may also sign up for campus visits through this website.
Academic Graduate Degrees
The Environmental Studies graduate program at the University of Colorado Boulder is truly interdisciplinary in that it encourages students to think critically about environmental problems through three fundamental components: science, policy, and values. Developing a deep understanding of these components as applied to a particular problem or issue helps students contribute meaningfully to theory and offer practical steps to solving environmental problems.
In U.S. News & World Report's 2013 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, our environmental sciences graduate program was ranked 5th in the country. CU Boulder is one of the nation's leaders in environmental research; in fact, for a number of years, CU Boulder received more support for research in the environmental sciences than any other university in the nation. In the National Science Foundation's latest rankings (January 2010), CU Boulder was sixth in research and development expenditures in environmental sciences among the 480 universities ranked. Much of this research involves collaboration amongst and between disciplines and provides a productive environment for students who wish to gain interdisciplinary research experience. Collaborative organizations include the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and the Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS).
Meeting environmental challenges of the 21st century requires research, education, and training that spans traditional disciplinary boundaries and emphasizes the interconnections of science and decision making. With numerous projects and research centers focused on the interconnections of science and decision making, ENVS also provides considerable resources for those seeking to contribute to and participate in policy making.
The interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environmental Studies awards three degrees: Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy and the Masters of the Environment. Additionally, dual degree programs with other departments are offered. Interdisciplinary certificates in Environment, Policy, and Society; Science, Technology, and Policy; and Hydrologic Sciences are also available.
Professional Graduate Degrees
The Masters of the Environment professional degree program prepares students for a wide range of professional careers in the environment, energy, and natural resources. Students take courses that equip them to solve real-world environmental and natural resource problems, and to understand how various stakeholders can be engaged effectively in the decision-making process.
CU-Boulder’s MENV program will prepare new leaders at the local, state, national, and global levels to sustain the long-term health of the biosphere, and pursue sustainable development. MENV graduates will apply interdisciplinary knowledge and build community in ways that achieve fair and effective solutions to environmental and social problems and promote thriving human and natural communities, balancing concerns for environmental health, economic well-being, and social equity.
CU-Boulder’s Masters of the Environment program provides students with choices for areas in which they can specialize. These include Policy and Management, Renewable and Sustainable Energy and Planning and Community Engagement. While all MENV students will take a common set of core requirements, these specialization tracks will provide students with the relevant tools and knowledge to go into a specific career track.
To learn more about the Masters of the Environment professional masters degree program, click here.