As an environmental studies major at UMN Morris, you’ll learn about the natural environment and how people are both the cause and solution to most of our environmental problems. Covered topics include climate change, water, food, and waste. As you progress through the program, you’ll be able to explore your specific environmental interests through class projects, internships, and the senior capstone project.
At UMN Morris, our personalized approach to learning allows you to design an environmental studies curriculum that fits your interests and career goals. Upon completing the program, you’ll have a greater knowledge of big picture environmental issues and how human beings are connected to those issues. You’ll have a better understanding of how regional and global systems (e.g., food supply chain, electrical grid, waste management) affect the environment. You’ll be better equipped to think critically about potential real-world solutions to environmental problems and how you can address some of the problems through your specific environmental interests.
UMN Morris offers a wide range of environmental studies-related electives in anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, geology, the humanities, political science, and sociology.
Local field trips provide insights into important processes (e.g., water treatment, ethanol production, milk production) and landscape features (e.g., how geology relates to water quality). With award-winning professors, cutting-edge research, sustainable community, renewable energy facilities, and a rural setting, you won't find a better place to immerse yourself in the study of the environment than at UMN Morris.
Student Learning Outcomes
By completing a degree in environmental studies, you will be able to
- analyze your own impact on the environment and think critically about the consequences of your individual choices;
- apply a multidisciplinary lens to the underpinnings of modern environmental movements and problems;
- articulate challenges and how to effectively address them;
- apply qualitative and quantitative methods to research projects in environmental studies; and
- articulate the interactions among biophysical, economic, and social aspects of particular places or regions and their connections to larger global forces or issues.
General Education Requirements
The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.
Careers & Graduate School
Environmental studies graduates are engaged in numerous fields in private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Many are working in food, natural resources, and energy-related fields. A degree in environmental studies can lead to a variety of careers in fields such as:
- Environmental advocacy
- Environmental education
- Natural resources management
- Renewable energy development
- Urban planning and policy
- Private-sector consulting
- Environmental health
- Waste management
- Environmental monitoring
- Regulation compliance
The following are specific occupations held by UMN Morris environmental studies graduates.
- Watershed district technician
- Soil and water conservation district technician
- Dairy researcher
- Parks public service worker
- Community engagement fellow with Lead for America
- Sustainability project coordinator for City of Morris
- Minnesota GreenCorps
- Environmental consultant
- Environmental educator
- Environmental laboratory technician
- Community farm leader
Many environmental studies graduates go on to graduate school or professional programs in related fields, such as:
- Environmental policy
- Urban planning
Specific degrees and degree programs include:
- Environment & Natural Resources Law & Policy Program, University of Denver
- Masters Program in Advocacy and Political Leadership (Metropolitan State University)
- Masters Program, International Sustainable Tourism (University of North Texas)
- Indigenous Studies Masters Program, Kansas University
- Horticulture Masters Program, University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota Morris is a national public liberal arts college committed to making a high-quality education available to students from across the country. Expenses for housing, meals, books and supplies, transportation, loan fees, and personal expenditures can vary.
Shaped by her experiences at Morris, Maria Brun ’08 believes that, as we make our decisions, we must consider our role in and impact on the environment. By helping talented students obtain an education that combines environmental topics with a liberal arts education, Maria believes the next generation will be prepared to shape a more environmentally responsible future.
This scholarship was established by Denise Anderson ‘83 and Laura Newman ’88 to honor their parents. Emil and Lois consistently encouraged the educational aspirations of all of their children, with their two daughters graduating from the University of Minnesota Morris and their son attending the University of Minnesota. Denise and Laura feel that UMM’s environment, where student education is the top priority, allowed them to thrive. This scholarship is their way to perpetuate that in future generations.
Norma '60 and Gary '59 are proud graduates of the West Central School of Agriculture (WCSA). Norma created the scholarship in memory of Gary, to honor their education and memories at WCSA, and to support students interested in agriculture. This gift also commemorates the Bradow's 60th reunions from WCSA.
All Available Scholarships
Research & Engagement
As is the case with any major at UMN Morris, you’ll have opportunities to work with faculty on research or community-engaged projects. Recently, several students have been working on a research project to learn about food systems and security in the Stevens County, MN area, including a group focusing specifically on the UMN Morris campus. This project includes trying out possible ways of improving food access in Stevens County, which, like many counties, produces very little of the food that is eaten by humans.
Local research partners offer a wide range of opportunities to extend your experiences beyond the classroom. On-campus renewable energy facilities not only power the campus, but serve as cutting-edge research and teaching tools. Our green campus is a model of sustainability and a living laboratory for innovative, environmentally–friendly ideas. And with nearby wetlands, woodlands, and prairie, our rural location offers abundant opportunities for off-campus field study.
The environmental studies capstone will be the culmination of your liberal arts experience at UMN Morris. In the past, capstone projects have been focused on a common area of study (e.g., housing-related issues) or have been connected with previous work in classes and/or internships. The senior capstone program gives you experience working on a multi-disciplinary team to explore a local environmental issue.
Past capstone project titles include:
- An Environmental History of Landscape Change in Morris, Minnesota
- An Exploration of Affordable Energy Efficient Housing Options with Reference to Morris, MN
- Assessing Research Prospects: Recycling Urine for Fertilizer in Morris, Minnesota
- "By Our Homes You Will Know Us": Native American Housing of Yesterday and Today
- Household Food Waste: Composting Policy Proposal for the City of Morris, MN
- Mi casa sería tu casa pero casas no hay. Housing shortages and language based discrimination in rural Minnesota.
- Possibilities for Alternative Household Water Resource Management in Morris, MN
- Recycling In Stevens County: An Audit of Student & Non-Student Residential Recycling
- Stop-Drop-Sustain UMM
- The Art of Reclaiming Building Materials
As a UMN Morris student, you’re strongly encouraged to take part in academic opportunities outside the classroom to gain practical, hands-on experience. For example, an internship in the field of environmental studies enables you to put your knowledge into practice.
As an environmental studies major, you’ll be required to complete an internship or field experience. A pre-internship seminar will expose you to different possibilities with a focus on developing your interests and preparing you for the internship or field experience. The seminar will provide interactions with recent alumni and the most recent group of post-internship students. You’ll explore your interests, learn about the process of finding an internship, and learn from previous students about their recent internship experiences. After the seminar, you’ll work individually with the environmental studies internship coordinator to identify specific opportunities.
Recent internships or field experiences include:
- Conservation Corps of Minnesota/Iowa
- Wildlife rehabilitation in Canada
- Sustainable agriculture in southern Italy
- Grit weeding and horticulture
- Sign creation for renewable energy trail
- Soil science research including runoff experiments and drone operation
- Outdoor education for youth groups
The environmental studies program has a growing network of alumni who are happy to help current students find available opportunities they may be interested in.
Opportunities for Students
The Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) offers students an opportunity to present research plus scholarly and creative work. Types of presentations include posters, oral presentations, and short or abbreviated theatrical, dance, or musical performances.
- Creative Activity
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides University of Minnesota undergraduates from every college, major, and discipline, the opportunity to partner with a faculty member on research or creative projects.
- Creative Activity
The University of Minnesota Morris offers the Morris Academic Partnership (MAP) program, in which faculty select academically talented, qualified second-year and third-year students to assist them in scholarly and creative projects. Selected MAP students undertake assignments intended to enhance their intellectual competence and increase their interest in graduate or professional study.
- Creative Activity
- Morris Academic Partnership (MAP)
- Student Employment