Environmental Sustainability Major
At E.M.U., you’ll receive a top-notch scientific education thanks to professors who are experts in their fields and our well-rounded, interdisciplinary learning approach. It’s part of what makes E.M.U. a Christian university like no other.
Environmental sustainability majors learn to truly grasp the nature of environmental research and issues by taking courses in a variety of disciplines. Biology, sociology and peacebuilding professors work closely together on environmental sustainability courses that weave forward-thinking sustainability practices with issues of international and community development and conservation.
At the same time, students get a more in-depth education in one field by choosing a science or a social sustainability track within the environmental sustainability major.
Our graduate program in peacebuilding is also an asset to any undergrad in the fields of development and sustainability; dozens of grad-level international scholars flock to E.M.U. each year to study at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. And many professors around campus have decades of experience working and living overseas advocating for those in the margins.
About Our Environmental Sustainability Major
What makes E.M.U.’s environmental sustainability major so unique? Plenty!
Our program provides a combination of breadth and depth. All students learn the interdisciplinary nature of environmental research and issues by taking courses in a variety of disciplines. At the same time, students get a more in-depth education in one area by choosing a science or a social sustainability track within the environmental sustainability major.
Key Distinctives of Our Program
An interdisciplinary approach to understanding contemporary issues such as local hydrofracking, wilderness preservation. We study modern concerns like global warming from both scientific and social perspectives.
Job-related experience in a wide variety of organizations through a required practicum, or internship. Practical experiences in private businesses, farms, and government agencies are an important step in developing a career in environmental sustainability.
Research opportunities on student-faculty collaborative projects, such as a grant-funded steam restoration project in a local mountain community.
E.M.U. cross-cultural study abroad trips that focus on sustainability issues, like recent trips to New Zealand, Bolivia and the Galapagos, and Kenya.
Environmental science concentration
The environmental science concentration focuses on the biological and chemical aspects of environmental sustainability.
Solid and challenging coursework in natural sciences prepares students to work on such issues as biodiversity and loss of species, pollution and toxicology, land use and degradation, waste management, resource depletion and energy consumption, climate change, and alternative agriculture.
Students focus on “traditional” environmental science courses from the disciplines of ecology, chemistry and physiology, but also learn the interdisciplinary nature of environmental research and issues while working with sociology, economics, and development professors.
Classes address local and global sustainability issues and include hands-on research projects. During a required internship, students work with a local environmental organization such as Shenandoah National Park, The Nature Conservancy or the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Environmental and social sustainability concentration
The environmental and social sustainability concentration focuses on the social, economic, and political aspects of environmental sustainability.
Challenging coursework in various social sciences prepares students to work on such issues as environmental advocacy, conservation and sustainable development, land use and degradation, environmental education and agricultural extension, climate change, waste management, and alternative energy.
This track combines traditional environmental science coursework with applied sociology courses that emphasize international and community development and conservation.
You’ll have hands-on opportunities to work in areas of personal interest like peace education, legislative and foreign policy advocacy, community organizing, restorative justice and mediation, social justice and peace advocacy, human rights and immigrants’ rights.