• <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

  • I love that environmental studies is so interdisciplinary! We take classes from so many different departments and get a wide range of perspectives.

    Julia Einaudi BA ’25
    Environmental Studies | Seattle, Washington
    More about Julia
  • I had an interest in environmental studies, and L&C seemed like a good place for it.

    Dexter Tatsukawa BA ’24
    Environmental Studies | Japanese | Sunnyvale, California
    More about Dexter
  • When I came to visit, it just felt right; I could see myself going to school here and being happy.

    Anna Foster BA ’19
    Environmental Studies | Wilmette, Illinois
    More about Anna

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

  • Equity 

    We are the only liberal arts school in Oregon on Colleges of Distinction’s “Best Equity and Inclusion” list for 2022–23.

  • Top 50 

    Lewis & Clark is in the top 50 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2022–23 “Most Innovative Schools” list

  • 96% 

    Within six months of graduation, 96% of the Lewis & Clark Classes of 2018–2022 were already changing the world through employment (76%), continuing studies (19%), and service work (1%), like the Peace Corps.

  • 2,188 

    As of fall 2022, there are 2,188 degree-seeking students enrolled at Lewis & Clark College.

  • Best 

    We’re on Newsweek’s list of “50 Best Colleges in Big Cities.”

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!

Where Lewis & Clark Will Take You

  • I felt challenged by the curriculum while also supported by my peers and professors, and as a result, I believe I developed a strong work ethic and an ability to ask for help when I needed it.

    Rylie Neely BA ’20
    Environmental Studies
    More about Rylie
  • 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
  • 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

Environmental Studies Events

February 29

Hope and the Climate Crisis

Join us for this important conversation about Hope and the Climate Crisis. A collaboration between Oregon Humanities Conversation Project and the Center for Social Change and Community Involvement.

September 30

ENVX Symposium

until October 2
October 1

ENVX Symposium

until October 2

More News and Events →