• <a href="/live/image/gid/5/width/650/86521_ENVS_main_image.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image86521"> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(max-width: 500px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/5/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/5/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/5/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(min-width: 501px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/5/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/5/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/5/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/5/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg" alt="Associate Professor of Geological Science Elizabeth Safran leading a field trip in the Gorge. " width="720" height="690" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/5/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/5/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86521_ENVS_main_image.rev.1607734024.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2504" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a><div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption"> Associate Professor of Geological Science Elizabeth Safran leading a field trip in the Gorge. </div>

Why Choose a Degree in Environmental Studies?

Our unique program will challenge you to transcend intellectual, geographic, and communication boundaries as you weave insights drawn from across the sciences and humanities; apply them in local, regional, and global contexts; and learn strategies to connect with the people and institutions you encounter. You will draw a larger—potentially more hopeful—circle around environmental issues. You will graduate with a background in environmental science situated in a broader understanding of cultural, political, and other key dimensions, plus skills and experience you can apply to professional opportunities, graduate study, and effective environmental action.

What You’ll Study

We offer a major and minor. The heart of our interdisciplinary curriculum includes core courses in environmental studies, which help build an intellectually coherent understanding of environmental problems and solutions; breadth courses in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, which provide important discipline-specific tools for environmental analysis; elective courses, which offer opportunities to explore key topics; and a quantitative requirement, which builds skills in data analysis and modeling. In addition, many of our students earn course credit toward their environmental studies degree while on an overseas program. Popular programs for our students are Australia, East Africa, Ecuador, India, Japan, and Senegal.

Outside the classroom, the annual Environment Across Boundaries (ENVX) Symposium is organized by a committee of students with support from faculty and staff. This multiday, interdisciplinary event encourages students to expand their search for new scholarly concepts and skills, transcend geographic boundaries as they explore environmental issues around the world, and engage with people on all sides of these issues, ideally working toward mutual respect and collaborative solutions. The symposium offers the Lewis & Clark community and general public an opportunity to experience this broader approach to studying the environment. Our students also regularly engage in constructive environmental dialogue with people from diverse backgrounds in Portland and across the Pacific Northwest, and develop their own engagement projects to reach out to people connected to environmental issues. Graduating seniors have the opportunity to travel to and present their capstone work at the annual Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) national conference. Additionally, many of our students become trip leaders for College Outdoors, taking their peers to spectacularly beautiful sites in the Pacific Northwest. This opportunity provides them with leadership opportunities and professional training for careers in outdoor education.


Complement Your Education With One of These Minors

The most popular minors for our environmental studies majors are data science, Earth system science, and political economy.

What Students Are Saying About Lewis & Clark

  • L&C has made me more confident in who I am and what I can accomplish. It has also made me more aware of all the change that must be made in our world to cultivate peace and justice.

    Shoshana Rybeck BA ’20
    Environmental Studies | Political Economy | Olney, Maryland
    More about Shoshana
  • We are home to a robust campus community that is concerned with both local and national sustainability efforts.

    Qwynci Bowman BA ’23
    Environmental Studies | Austin, Texas
    More about Qwynci
  • Regardless of how different my subjects are, each environmental studies class has taught me that every person, problem, and situation is socially, historically, and politically situated.

    Kaylee Howser BA ’24
    Environmental Studies | Earth System Science | Santa Cruz, California
    More about Kaylee

What Can You Do With a Degree in Environmental Studies?

Our alumni use their BA in environmental studies in a variety of careers in nonprofit organizations, in academia, and at companies and agencies. Many go on to pursue advanced degrees in environmental history, landscape architecture, nuclear engineering, and other fields.

Dedicated Faculty

Our expert professors are your expert mentors. You will learn directly from faculty (no graduate assistants here!) that are nationally recognized in their fields of study and who love to work with and learn from their students. Your professors will inspire you to be a thoughtful and passionate participant in a diverse world. Your small classes will support you as you explore new ideas, find your voice, and speak your truth.

Meet the Professors

Invest in Yourself

A private liberal arts education is often more affordable than you think. Last year, Lewis & Clark distributed over $74 million in assistance from institutional, federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, we’re so confident that our first-year students will graduate in four years with their bachelor of arts degree that if you don’t, we’ll cover the extra semester of tuition.

Find Your People

Students can join a variety of student-run organizations that relate to their environmental studies degree, like the ENVX: Environment Across Boundaries symposium and Students Engaged in Eco-Defense (SEED). Don’t see what you’re looking for on the club list? Start something new and build your own community of peers!

  • Lewis & Clark gave me a lot of confidence to express my ideas, opinions, and intentions. I think my favorite thing that I learned was the ability to problem solve.

    Skylar Golleher BA ’21
    Economics and Environmental Studies (double) | Little Rock, Arkansas
    More about Skylar
  • My cocurricular experiences helped me gain skills in organizational planning, project oversight, and program execution, which have proven to be invaluable skills that I use daily at my job.

    Tobias Varntoft BA ’21
    Environmental Studies | Political Economy | Terslev, Denmark
    More about Tobias

Environmental Studies Events

October 4

Microbially-driven shifts in marine nutrient cycling in response to ocean deoxygenation and climate change

Dr. Julia Huggins’ talk entitled, “Microbially-driven shifts in marine nutrient cycling in response to ocean deoxygenation and climate change.” Julia, an LC alumna, will share some of the steps along the path that has taken her from LC to soil microbes in forests and now her research as a microbiologist and oceanographer.
October 16

ENVX Symposium

For full details of the 26th annual ENVX Symposium, see https://college.lclark.edu/programs/environmental_studies/symposium/26th-annual-symposium/

until October 19
October 16

ENVX Symposium: carbon emissions trading game

Participants of this event will participate in a carbon emissions trading game, CarbonSim, which was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund. This event is in partnership with Elizabeth Bennett’s IA 340 International Political Economy class. Pizza will be provided.

October 17

ENVX Symposium

For full details of the 26th annual ENVX Symposium, see https://college.lclark.edu/programs/environmental_studies/symposium/26th-annual-symposium/

until October 19
October 17

ENVX Symposium: Keynote Presentations

Keynote presentations by Yuko Aoyama, an industrial economic geographer, and Clarence Edwards, a legislative advocate on climate change and US foreign policy.  The title of Dr. Aoyama’s talk is Variable Capitalisms: Understanding Fixity, Fluidity, and Hybridity. The title of Mr. Edwards’ talk is The Type of Capitalism You Practice Matters. The two presentations will be followed by a discussion lead by Jessica Kleiss, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, and audience Q&A.

October 17

ENVX Symposium: Keynote Reception

Please join keynote speakers, Yuko Aoyama and Clarence Edwards, for a post presentation reception.  

More News and Events →