What You’ll Study

This interdisciplinary major starts with core courses in biology, ecology, chemistry, math, and environmental ethics. Then you’ll select from a wide range of courses based on your interests.

This interdisciplinary major might be for you if you’re interested in the interaction of subjects like:

  • Conservation biology
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Soil science
  • Environmental policy
  • Education
  • Park interpretation
  • Community activism
  • Urban gardening


On top of the core environmental studies courses, you can choose to narrow your studies with the Environmental Education concentration.

Elective Areas

You’ll also choose elective courses from topic areas such as:

  • Natural science systems
  • Managing natural resources
  • Creating sustainable communities
  • Education and outreach
  • Communication and arts
  • Spirituality and conservation

Honors Program in Natural Sciences

Environmental studies majors can opt to participate in the honors program, which grants honors recognition on your degree. To graduate with honors, you must earn a 3.5 GPA, complete an independent research project or internship, and present your work to the faculty.

Explore Classes in This Program

ENS 201

Applied Ecology

Take your lessons out into the real world by applying them to today’s most pressing environmental problems. Emphasis is on field work for topics like composting, wetlands, water pollution, fish and wildlife management, and environmental impacts.

PHI 252

Environmental Ethics

Gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and other beings that inhabit the natural world. Includes philosophies like the Land Ethic, Deep Ecology, Ecofeminism, and some Eastern approaches.

REL 213

Religion and Environmental Justice

Explore the environmental justice movements of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand, East African religions in Kenya, and other spaces where the protection of our natural world and spiritual beliefs intersect.

Meet Our Faculty

I am more guide than teacher; I love guiding intelligent, passionate students as they help change the world not just after they graduate, but as part of their educational experience.

Liesl Peterson Erb, Ph.D.
Liesl Peterson Erb
Liesl Peterson Erb, Ph.D.
Mark Brenner

As I field biologist, I always say our best laboratories are right out the back door of the science building. Within a 5 minute walk we have 3 ponds, a trout stream and 600 acres of Forest.

Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Mark Brenner
Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Amy Knisely

Teaching and learning at Warren Wilson is not for the faint of heart! And some days I wake up tired. But the strong-hearted, active-minded students and educators, busy together in this beautiful valley and beyond, send me home energized every day.

Amy L. Knisley, Ph.D.
Amy Knisely
Amy L. Knisley, Ph.D.

The best part of the job is watching students graduate with a strong portfolio of experiences and find meaningful work connecting people to places.

Mallory McDuff, Ph.D.
Mallory McDuff, Ph.D.

I believe my responsibility is not only as an instructor but as a mentor and a resource for the future. My classes are not just an experience with a grade; they are an opportunity to build social capital.

Joshua Earl Arnold, Ph.D.
Joshua Earl Arnold, Ph.D.

Everywhere you look there's a story to be told here at Wilson. It's my job to help guide my students to see these stories and learn how to best share them with the world.

Peter Erb, MA
Peter Erb, MA
Faculty Member Eric Griffin stands smiling outside of Orr Cottage.

Warren Wilson has some of the most accessible experiential learning opportunities of any college campus in the country. It is one of the primary reasons why I wanted to be here as a faculty member, particularly when the forest is a stone’s throw away from the classroom!

Eric Griffin
Faculty Member Eric Griffin stands smiling outside of Orr Cottage.
Eric Griffin, Ph.D
Liesl Peterson Erb
Fieldwork Experiences

Get into the Great Outdoors

Environmental studies gets you out into the forests, the fields, and the community. Many classes and research projects have some type of outdoor component. The college farm is a field laboratory for tasks like testing soil and water quality. And there aren’t many other majors with classes like kayaking and rock climbing on the requirements list.