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Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability is an interdisciplinary field that integrates natural and social sciences, humanities, arts and education to address complex environmental problems. It attempts to balance human needs and ecological well-being, viewing humans as embedded within environmental systems.

As a student in the environmental sustainability program, you’ll learn how to understand the complex linkages between social and ecological systems and bring together knowledge from many different perspectives and disciplines. You’ll analyze environmental issues, collect data, connect the local and the global, apply various forms of theory, gain technical and applied skills and work collaboratively with others to find solutions to real-world environmental problems.

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Understanding environmental systems through interdisciplinary research

This program prepares you through a collection of multi-disciplinary courses and a core environmental sustainability course sequence that helps you frame and link those diverse perspectives. In each core course, you’ll practice collaboratively addressing complex environmental problems, gaining increased autonomy and leadership throughout your four years.

Earlham is committed to sustainable living on campus and offers many opportunities for students to participate in environmental activities and initiatives. Learn more about our high sustainability ratings as a college and how we pursue sustainability at Earlham.

Earlham Business student in joy after completing a tough computer assignment


Recent graduates have pursued advanced degrees in forestry and natural resources, environmental policy and management, environmental and urban planning, veterinary medicine, earth and earth resources, and philanthropy and nonprofit management.


of work seekers who majored in a cross-divisional major between 2018-2022 were employed, pursuing graduate school or volunteering within six months of graduation.

Student checking on stocks in the stock market war room


Top industries for environmental sustainability majors in the classes of 2018-2022 are non profits, sports and leisure, animal and wildlife, farming, forestry, education and more.

Students and staff from the business program holding an endorsement check

Off-campus study and research

From faculty research on sustainable cities in Europe to our popular semester program in New Zealand, environmental sustainability majors have a variety of options for studying around the world.

Frequently asked questions

How can I get involved in sustainability efforts at Earlham?

There are several ways to get involved in co-curricular environmental activities and initiatives at Earlham, such as the Student Sustainability Corpscomposting or the Sustainability Progress Committee.

In addition, you can learn more about the College’s comprehensive commitment to sustainability and high sustainability ratings and find a summary of various environment-related information and opportunities about sustainability at Earlham, including information about Earlham’s Center for Environmental Leadership, our outstanding Outdoor Education and Summer Wilderness programs and Miller Farm, where students practice sustainable agriculture on campus.

What kinds of off-campus study programs and internships are available?

Environmental sustainability majors are encouraged to participate in off-campus study, faculty-student research experiences and internships. Recent majors have studied in New Zealand, done research in Iceland and other European countries and interned at the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, Conserve National Forests, San Andres Education Programs and Cope Environmental Center.

Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.

How do I know if this program is right for me?

If you’re interested in a career in environmental sustainability, this is the major for you. You will develop strong research and technical skills that make you an excellent candidate for both graduate school programs and careers in environmental fields.

Our faculty

Because environmental sustainability is an interdisciplinary major, our faculty come from diverse departments, including politics, biology, geology, Japanese studies, outdoor education and English.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.