Environmental Studies Department


On Friday November 10th, CSB/SJU students are landing in Bonn, Germany as delegates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Annual Conference. After spending over half of the semester meeting once a week to study climate change effects, policies and technologies to address it, and debates over taking action, students will spend a week at the conference attending sessions devoted to issues related to a chosen topic.

"COP23 in Bonn will show to the world the two faces of climate change—firstly positive, resolute, inspiring momentum by so many governments and a growing array of cities and states to business, civil society leaders and UN agencies aligning to the Paris Agreement’s aims and goals. Secondly, the reality check. The thermometer of risk is rising; the pulse of the planet is racing; people are hurting; the window of opportunity is closing and we must go Further and Faster Together to lift ambition and action to the next defining level." Visit the COP23 website to learn more!


Sarah McLarnan Mountain

Sarah Mclarnan ('17) receives $50,000 EPA grant

Sarah is one of 35 students nationwide to be selected for a Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship and a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations, Sarah!

"I have been grateful for the opportunity to explore my interests without confining myself to one path." See what else Sarah has to say!


New Major Curriculum SharePoint Page

Why environmental studies? Ask our students.

Hudson echelard Photo

Hudson Echelard ('18)

While beginning my career at St. John's I was involved with many clubs and organizations that fell under the supervision of the envrionmental studies department, Outdoor University, or St. John's Arboretum - I found it impossible not to major in something that allowed me to get outside every week.

Morgan Durbin

Morgan Durbin ('18)

I'm passionate about sustainable agriculture and food security both in the United States and abroad, and I have had so many opportunities to communicate and connect with individuals from various fields.

New Zealand Group

Skylar Peyton ('18)

Not only have I learned a lot, but I've also come to realize that regardless of what I do with my future, I'll never regret learning my way around the woods. 


Overview of Program

  • Environmental studies was established as a major in 2003. Six department faculty, joined by two dozen faculty from other departments, offer students a unique and innovative curriculum.
  • Our curriculum is based on a core of interdisciplinary environmental studies courses that approach questions of sustainability in a variety of contexts including food, energy, gender, ecology, policy, and more.
  • Students can choose from a range of environmentally-oriented courses in art, communication, ecology, economics, ethics, literature, geology, history, nutrition, politics, psychology, sociology, and other fields in addition to our core environmental studies curriculum.
  • A focus on undergraduate research and experiential learning offers opportunities for summer research assistantships, internships, field experiences, and a capstone thesis project for all majors.
  • The natural setting of Saint Ben's and Saint John's, including wetlands, streams, forests, lakes and prairies, offers a unique environment for students to explore, conduct research, and learn about environmental education and land stewardship.
  • Graduates of the environmental studies program can be found in a variety of places after graduation. Many graduates choose to volunteer or pursue further education, while many can be found in a number of unique career paths.
  • Saint John's Abbey installed approximately 1800 solar panels on 3.9 acres of former farmland in the fall of 2009. At the time of installation, the solar farm was the largest in Minnesota.
  • In 2005, CSB/SJU designated environmental studies as one of the first Signature Programs of the two institutions. The designation is part of a strategic planning initiative to strengthen and highlight interdisciplinary programs.

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