Environmental Studies Department

Nick Hansen '10 named New Journalist of the Year!

A judge for the Minnesota Newspaper Association said that Nick Hansen has "a knack for catching onto details that separate good writing from great writing." Nick is a sports reporter for the Marshall Independent.

Congrats Sophia (Gossman) Walsh '08!

Sophia Walsh has been named the 2014 Woman of Innovation in Government Agency/Non-Profit Innovation and Leadership by the Technology Association of Iowa. A 2008 environmental studies graduate, Sophia is an environmental health specialist at the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health in Mason City, Iowa. Read more...

Meet the ES Jackson Fellows!

An unprecedented three out of ten students of the 2014 Jackson Fellows cohort were environmental studies majors! Hear what they have to say about their experiences!


Why environmental studies? Ask our students.

Preston Zimney Photo Steven Pignato in Salzburg

It is 100% okay to be undecided; do not feel pressure to pick a major right away - make sure it feels right to you.

Walter ('15)


The best part is when our lab gets to be outside to collect samples and apply what we learned to the coursework.

Preston Zimney ('16)



One of the most beneficial aspects of the coursework I have taken so far is that I have been able to find a career path that better suits my passions and goals in life.

Erin Medvecz ('15)


Environmental studies applies to a variety of fields, which will allow me to choose from a variety of career choices.

Steven Pignato ('15)

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.

Tyler Thompson ('16)

I really like the fact that environmental studies is an interdisciplinary program...you learn a lot about different issues not just one subject.  See what else Tyler has to say!

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Contact Us

Dr. Derek Larson
Chair, Environmental Studies
New Science 118, SJU
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John's University
(320) 363-3247

Jennifer Kutter
Department Coordinator
New Science 104, SJU
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John's University

Collegeville, MN 56321
(320) 363-3163