Undergraduate Program Environmental Studies

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Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree Overview

A bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Portland State will challenge you to look at the relationship between humans and their environment from a new perspective.

Through courses, internships, and research opportunities, you'll develop the skills and understanding needed to deal with environmental systems, human impacts on those systems, and the social implications of decisions concerning the environment.

The environmental studies major is a degree focusing on resource management and policy with an emphasis on the natural sciences, social sciences, geography, and environmental policy. The environmental studies major is recommended for students who are interested in pursuing careers involving working in agencies or organizations that address problems in the environment.

Degree Details

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree: Why PSU?

PSU's program prepares you to develop a complex understanding and expertise in environmental science using a foundation in natural sciences, social sciences, and geography.

You'll take courses on relevant topics such as freshwater resource and management, forest resource and management, the urban environment, ecology and conservation, environmental policy and land use, and nature and culture. You'll develop skills in quantitative analysis, visualization of spatial data, and field methods and writing, and have the opportunity to apply them in real-world settings through fieldwork, internships, and research assistantships in the Portland area.

Our students have interned with some of the state's largest environmental organizations, including the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Port of Portland, City of Portland's Water Environmental Services, the United States Geological Survey, and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.

PSU’s engaged student body has many student-run groups focused on Environmental Science in addition to other Green Student Groups:

  • Association of Environmental Science Students: Advance student curiosity and engagement in environmental science through interdisciplinary interactions. They hold regular social events and outdoor activities that allow opportunities to discuss, analyze and tackle issues related to environmental science.
  • PSU Environmental Club: Unite students in the common interests of a variety of environmental issues and projects and make connections within and outside the PSU community.

Students who want to continue their education and go on to graduate school can work with environmental science faculty to find the right program and apply for graduate school.

What can I do with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies?

A combination of thoughtfully-curated coursework, expert faculty, and professional engagement make PSU's Environmental Studies program a perfect fit for those interested in pursuing careers working with the environment, including research, science education, environmental consulting, government agencies, the private sector industry, and science journalism.

Our graduates have gone on to work at government agencies at every level, including the City of Portland, Clackamas County, Metro, the Oregon Departments of Environmental Quality, State Lands, and Fish and Wildlife, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They have also found careers with consulting firms, and other private companies like Nike.

You can also use the degree as preparation for graduate studies in the environmental field, including ecology, geology, geography, urban planning, forestry, international studies, economics, and hydrology.

Featured Courses

  • ESM 335 Intro to Environmental Management
  • ESM 435/535 Natural Resource Policy & Management
  • ESM 463/563 Water Quality Policy & Management
  • ESM 483/583 Marine Conservation & Management
  • ESM 407 Environmental Science & Management Seminar
  • ESM 428/528 Urban Ecology



  • ESM 474/574 Fish Ecology and Conservation
  • ESM 473/573 Phytoplankton Ecology
  • ESM 555 Science Communication
  • ESM 570 Methods for Informal Environmental Education
  • SCI 312U Teaching Everyday Science
  • SCI 321U Energy and Society


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).