Careers, Environmental Studies | Earlham College



The Environmental Studies program begins working with and preparing students for life after college beginning with the first introductory course in the major, which includes a preliminary investigation of possible environmental career paths. In their Sophomore or Junior year, Environmental Studies majors also complete a "Field Experience" which involves a professional internship placement in an organization, agency, or program related to their environmental interests. Program faculty work closely with the Center for Integrated Learning to connect students in the major with opportunities for career development and hands-on work experience.

As a result, Earlham graduates in environmental studies have a wide choice of possible career paths. Common recent employment sectors for our graduates include:

  • Environmental Law
  • Public Policy 
  • Urban Planning 
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Advocacy and Non-Profit Administration
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Public and Environmental Health
  • Agricultural Production
  • Environmental Consulting
  • Sustainability

For more information about what you could do with a major in Environmental Studies, visit the What Can I Do With This Major? resource or set up an appointment with a Career Adviser.

Check out the Center for Integrated Learning’s Guide to Earlham to learn more about how to make the most of your Earlham experience.

First Year:

  • Complete the introductory course for the major. In your first course, you will complete a Career Discernment Project which involves working with the Center for Integrated Learning to find a real job posting that you could imagine yourself qualifying for 5 years after you graduate. Then, you’ll build a resume that includes current knowledge, skills, and abilities and planned future professional development that would prepare you to get that job.
  • Consider joining a student organization devoted to the environment or sustainability.
  • Check out our Integrated Program in Sustainability through the Center for Integrated Learning.
  • Identify your Career Adviser and schedule an appointment to talk about your thoughts for the future.

Second and Third Years:

  • Complete your Field Experience. This experience includes an internship placement in an organization, agency, or program related to your environmental interests. Upon concluding their field experience, students complete a public, oral presentation of learning to both program faculty and their peers which details the specific connections they found between their coursework and their fieldwork and what impact their experience had on their thinking in environmental studies.
  • Meet with both your Academic and Career Advisers regularly to make sure you’re on track.
  • Check out off-campus study programs related to Environmental Studies, like the New Zealand, Tanzania, or Border Studies programs

Fourth Year:

  • Complete the Senior Seminar course, where you’ll revisit your resume through an extended curriculum vitae project and portfolio which documents both your academic and job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities. Earlham alumni who work in related fields are invited to class as guest speakers, and conversations about next steps are carried on throughout the semester and in conjunction with the Center for Integrated Learning.

Internships can be an important stepping stone to landing a career in any field. Besides providing real-world, hands-on experience, they also serve as opportunities to meet people who work in the field day-in and day-out. These connections can prove invaluable as you figure out what you want to do. 

Check out the Center for Integrated Learning's for internships specifically for Earlham students to apply for summer opportunities in Richmond, Indianapolis, Washington, DC, or other locations around the world. 

You can also use the CIL's Resource Toolbox to find other internship opportunities outside of Earlham.

Resource Toolbox Final  

Looking for jobs, internships, and career options? Thinking about life after Earlham? Below are some career web links that we have found useful in advising students about careers and job opportunities.  Check out the Center for Integrated Learning for useful resources, too. 

General Websites: is a social job site that helps seekers find the opportunities with companies where they have friends, family and alumni who can help them get in the door. The algorithm sorts through 2.3 millions jobs and returns relevant results with your network contacts and secondary connections to those who can help them get hired.

 A good overall website for progressive leaning green jobs and internships 

A good resource for experiential education and outdoor education related jobs and internships

Conservation-Oriented Websites:

Don’t forget to visit the Center for Integrated Learning to find more resources and get support as you navigate the transition from college to career.  

Faculty in the Environmental Studies program recommend the following fellowships and scholarships as well suited for students interested in environmental careers and research:

Morris K. Udall Scholarship

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 to honor Morris King Udall’s 30 years of service to the House of Representatives, the Morris K. Udall Foundation supports programs that encourage Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage through studies of the environment, Native American health and tribal policy and effective public policy conflict resolution. An Arizona native, Udall was particularly committed to the U.S. national park system and the preservation of the nation’s natural environment.

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Recognizing the interests and contributions of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., who was the founder of International Business Machines Corp. (widely known as IBM), the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship emphasizes education and world affairs. This one-year grant affords college graduates a year of truly independent study and travel outside the United States. The program aims to "enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community." Since 1968 more than 2,300 awards have been granted.

National Science Foundation Research Grants

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowships offer recognition and three years of support for advanced study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students in the mathematical, physical biological engineering, and behavioral and social sciences, and to research-based Ph.D. degrees in science education each year. The Foundation also administers a Minority Graduate Fellowship program and offers additional awards to Women in Engineering and Women in Computer and Information Science.

Fulbright Grants

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. Senator J. William Fulbright spearheaded the act of Congress that created the Fulbright Program to demonstrate U.S. commitment to democratic values worldwide.

Earlham has an outstanding record of producing knowledgeable and effective environmental leaders in addition to preparing students for further graduate study. Here are a few of our notable Environmental Studies alumni:

  • Frances Moore Lappé ’66, author of the famous Diet for a Small Planet and the recent Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, is one of many graduates who have used their Earlham education to seek innovative and creative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Michael Shellenberger ’93, author of the controversial books The Death of Environmentalism and Breakthrough, is widely recognized as an important environmental strategist.
  • Marc Reisner ’71, author of Cadillac Desert, was widely considered to be a leading expert and commentator on water politics in the western U.S. before his untimely passing in 2001.
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