University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

Environmental Studies

Robin Saha, Director

The Environmental Studies Program (EVST) seeks to provide students with the literacy, skills and commitment needed to foster a healthy natural environment and to create a more sustainable, equitable, and peaceful world. To these ends, the EVST program educates and challenges students to become knowledgeable, motivated, and engaged in environmental affairs. Our students acquire the skills and awareness to promote positive social change and improve the environment and communities of Montana and the world, for current and future generations. Our program is organized upon the following principles:

  • Environmental studies require an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Creating solutions to environmental problems requires enterprise and performance as well as reflection; therefore, an effective environmental education generates thinkers who can do as well as doers who can think.
  • It is important to provide both classroom and experiential learning opportunities in the arts and responsibilities of democratic citizenship, including communication, collaboration, and committed civic participation.
  • Students should be co-creators of their educational experience.

High School Preparation: Students in high school who are planning to major in environmental studies should take their school's college preparatory curriculum. Courses in biology, chemistry, math through pre-calculus, and writing are recommended.


The Environmental Studies Program offers two degrees: a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Sustainability Science and Practice.

The Environmental Studies major offers students studies in natural science (environmental science, ecology, chemistry, ethnobotany and statistics), social science (community sociology, politics, environmental law) and humanities (ethics, history, native culture, literature and writing) to develop a base of knowledge to address the multiple dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. Students are encouraged to specialize in one of those areas through completion of a focus area, minor or double major. The Environmental Studies major builds skills in the areas of environmental ethics, community organizing, sustainable agriculture, traditional knowledge, environmental policy and law, environmental justice, and writing. Several experiential learning opportunities provide hands-on learning.

Sustainability Science is defined as study of the interaction of natural and social systems, how those interactions impact sustainability and the implementation of solutions. It is defined by the problems it addresses rather than the fields it encompasses. The Sustainability Science and Practice major therefore offers a strong grounding in natural science coupled with social science to build skills and knowledge to put sustainability into practice. Through advising students can choose to complete electives to develop strength in an area of sustainability science to address problems or solutions such as pollution, waste, energy generation and transmission, agroecology, and environmental and community health. Students gain skills and experience implementing solutions as part of the degree. The major also addresses the integration of traditional ecological knowledge into sustainability practice.