Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies


WSQ 118
Voice: 408-924-5450,
Fax: 408-924-5477


Rachel O'Malley, 831-334-1066

Temporary Dept. Coord.

Lyka Bonifacio, 408-924-2772

Advising Hours

Impaction Criteria

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements—Advising Sheets

Environmental Studies Minors—Advising Sheet

About the Department

The Environmental Studies Department provides rigorous, systematic and integrated approach to the study and management of environmental problems and issues. Upon completion of the degree program, students have a solid theoretical and applied preparation for making substantive contributions to promoting a sustainable society. With almost 40 years of experience granting degrees in environmental studies, this program has achieved a level of professionalism envied by newer environmental programs at other colleges and universities.

The employment record for recent graduates is excellent. Representative occupations include specialists in environmental impact assessment, environmental restoration, energy, water resources, environmental education, sustainable agriculture, park management, environmental regulation and policy, integrated waste management and recycling. More information about the successful job placement of our many graduates is available from the department.

The BS, BA, and the BA Preparation for Teaching (multiple subjects) are available for undergraduates. The BS and BA both offer a broad education in environmental concepts and applications through the core courses, along with a narrower subfield linked to a specific career pathway. This is done through the advisor-approved minor or departmental concentration and electives. The BS program provides a strong technical background in quantitative resource analysis, suitable for both resource managers and policy makers or practitioners such as energy auditors, designers of renewable energy systems, or ecosystem restorationists. The BA provides a more general education oriented toward environmental law, business, policy, planning or communications. The Preparation for Teaching program prepares the student for application to the elementary (K-8) credential program. In addition, many students in the program choose careers in outdoor education or park ranger work.

Because Environmental Studies is interdisciplinary, our faculty are drawn from many different fields, including ecology, energy and water resources, engineering environmental studies, geography, and law (more details on faculty background, teaching, and research are available from the department web site). The Environmental Studies faculty is noted for its excellent teaching and personal involvement with students. Faculty are active in community, regional, state and international environmental affairs, and bring these outside experiences to the classroom. Many faculty conduct research and undertake other scholarly work, which often involves students.

Beyond the Classroom

An important component of the Environmental Studies major is the professional internship, where students assume work responsibilities with corporations, businesses, public agencies, non-profit groups, public schools and other organizations involved in environmental problem solving and management. Three units of academic credit are given for 135 hours of supervised professional work.

The Center for Development of Recycling (CDR) is attached to the Environmental Studies Department and is funded by local government to research, develop and disseminate information on integrated waste management. Students work with CDR on special projects and earn class credit. CDR is located in Washington Square Hall 115. Bruce Olszewski is the director.

The Environmental Resource Center (ERC) is an outreach and sustainability organization that works closely with the Environmental Studies Department and the surrounding community. As its primary work the ERC organizes SJSU's Earth Day, undertakes sustainability projects, and provides resource information with its files and library. Lynne Trulio is the faculty advisor for the ERC.

Environmental Studies Honors Program

Students with a departmental GPA of 3.5 or above are eligible to participate in the honors program. Eligible students should contact a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department to sponsor their honors project, which then will be presented at the honors colloquium. Students must enroll through their sponsor in ENVS 193 while conducting the project.