Environmental Studies

Undergraduate Major & Minor College of Natural Sciences

Bachelor of Arts

Video Transcription

Major Minute: Environmental Studies Transcription

[video: From left to right, Professor Crawford O’Brien, Professor Ramos, and Professor O’Brien are sitting at a round table in an office with various artwork in the background]

(gentle music)

Professor Crawford O’Brien: Hi, I’m Suzanne Crawford O’Brien, Chair of Native American and Indigenous Studies.

Professor Ramos: Hi, I’m Adela Ramos, Chair of Environmental Studies.

Professor O’Brien: And hi, I’m Kevin O’Brien in the religion department.

All: And this is our Major Minute.

[video: A visual countdown from three flashes on the screen in yellow and black colors. A countdown clock appears on the left side of the screen counting down from 60 seconds after Man claps his hands in the foreground]

(three beeps)

[video: Only Professor Ramos centered on screen]

Professor Ramos: What does it take to understand climate change, or how human activity impacts geological formations, or how different cultural beliefs or political views shape our relationship to the earth. It takes interdisciplinary expertise and a robust place-based learning curriculum. These complex questions can’t be answered by a single discipline or field.

[video: All three professors framed on screen]

This is why, what makes our major unique in the region is in our last name. Studies.

[video: Only Professor O’Brien framed on screen]

Professor O’Brien: Our interdisciplinary classes draw not only on many different perspectives
but also on different parts of campus, to understand and to engage environmental challenges. You will wade into our local watershed, you’ll analyze samples with a chemistry professor, make maps of the watershed with a geology professor, and reflect on the ethics of water with a philosophy professor.

[video: All three professors framed on screen]

That kind of interdisciplinary work is essential for a healthy environment and for real environmental change.

[video: Only Professor Crawford O’Brien framed on screen]

Professor Crawford O’Brien: Our commitment to place-based learning considers indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and how it should inform our approach to sustainability and environmental justice. Our campus is located on the traditional territories of the signatories of the Medicine Creek Tree, the Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, and the Squaxin Island Nations.

[video: All three professors framed on screen]

Professor Ramos: This interdisciplinarity (laughs)

[Man Off Camera]: That’s okay.

(everyone laughs)

[video: Cuts to black screen with white text reading, “Take Two.” Flashes back to all three professors in the office.]

Professor Ramos: This interdisciplinarity distinguish our students and alumni from other candidates when applying for internships, graduate school and the job market. We’re proud to see how they transform their passion for the environment into careers at national parks, state and federal environmental offices, in the healthcare and education sectors, AmeriCorps and other not-for-profit organizations.


Environmental Studies at PLU teaches students how to explore the complex web of connections between people and their environments. By integrating a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including environmental justice and Native American and Indigenous Studies, our students gain a new understanding of the causes and consequences of environmental problems, ask questions about the ethics and cultural meanings of our relationship with the environment, and graduate with the tools they need to respond to many of the greatest challenges facing humanity. We live in an increasingly endangered and altered world: plants and animals are driven to extinction; ecosystems are threatened; the climate is changing; and human communities live with the realities of overpopulation, pollution and the loss of clean water. The study of the environment is necessary to respond to local and global challenges. When you graduate, you’ll be well-prepared to educate others about environmental problems and solutions, to pursue graduate studies, to work at non-profit organizations that focus on environmental stewardship, at laboratories, conservation and sustainability institutions, consulting firms, and environmental and regulatory affairs offices in corporations and government.

Graduates from the last 5 years: Their jobs

  • Forestry Tech Fire Fighter, Forest Service
  • Interpretive Naturalist, City of Everett
  • Staff Geologist, Brown and Caldwell
  • Environment Specialist, Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Trails Coordinator, Holden Village
  • Environmental Educator, Nisqually River Foundation
  • Teacher, Kent School District
  • Credentialing Specialist, Washington State Department of Health
  • Fellow, Humanity in Action Berlin

Graduates from the last last 5 years: Their graduate programs

  • Master of Public Administration (Environmental Policy emphasis), University of Washington
  • Master of Science in Geology, Northern Arizona University
  • Master of Science in Land Resources & Environmental Sciences, Montana State University-Bozeman
  • Master’s in Public Policy Analysis, University of Denver - Korbel School of International Studies
  • Master’s in Sustainability Leadership, Arizona State University
  • Masters in Public Administration (MPA), University of Washington
  • MA in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services, University of Minnesota
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