Environmental Policy, BA

Do you want to make a difference in protecting the environment, as well as the public good,  and diversifying access to resources for everyone? WWU’S College of the Environment’s BA degree in Environmental Policy focuses on the policies and practices that make that happen, i.e., around resource sustainability and environmental resilience, at the same time querying positionalities and cultural-economic lenses around resource access in diverse populations and landscapes. The BA degree has been granted to well over 200 students, many of whom have attained professional careers in policy management, program implementation, and action planning for positive environmental change.

The program focuses on problem solving and implementing shared visions to effect laws and policies that monitor and manage environmental and climate change. Such laws and policies protect diverse, culturally appropriate, health-driven, economically viable landscapes—in the United States and throughout the world. We are proud to offer this degree to our students and to continue our program’s strong community partnerships, worldwide, in which students apply their learning to assist communities in organizing for sustainable futures.

About the Program

This major supports students in exploring how stakeholders attempt to regulate pollution, manage (for the long-term) natural resources, protect natural spaces, and counter environmental disturbances. It emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to solving urban problems that face communities. Students can choose an emphasis: Climate/Energy, Land Use, and Food Security.

Professor Gigi Berardi and three students in food security practicum class.

With sustainability and climate change on the forefront of humanity’s greatest social and ethical problems, students studying environmental policy will acquire knowledge on “how” government works, and how to be most effect in solving global issues.

The program prepares students with the knowledge and skills needed to make positive changes towards a socially and environmentally just world. Graduates are prepared for professional careers in policy agencies, consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations at the local, state, and federal levels of government, as well as for advanced graduate study.

Students on an international study trip smile for a photo.

Vision & Mission

The program envisions a society where environmental and resource policy is inclusive and effective in ensuring access to basic needs of safety and comfort, shelter and infrastructure, rewarding livelihoods, and opportunities for self-realization—with special consideration for those who are most marginalized.

The mission of the Environmental Policy Program is to provide an understanding of environmental and resource policy, and the skill sets needed to implement policy and programmatic approaches for diverse, just, equitable, and sustainable communities in a resilient environment.

The program’s mission affirms and works within the broader mission of Western’s College of the Environment to integrate an outstanding policy educational program through faculty-student collaboration, applied research, and professional and community service.

Policy’s Commitment to Justice

The Policy Faculty are committed to social change for a more just and equitable society and to engage in anti-discriminatory work that is needed to bring about the changes we seek. Our goal is to use policy principles and practices, and the power of education and scholarship, to carry forward the goals of justice and equity within our program, in our classrooms, our university, our profession, and the communities we serve.

Jobs in Policy

Sample Careers

  • Sustainable Development Consultant
  • Natural Resources Manager
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Environmental attorneys (the policy program providing preparation)
  • City Administrators
  • Resource Managers

Graduates often go on to work in environmental agencies at the federal, tribal, state, and local levels and work in the non-profit sector. They also go on to graduate studies in public administration, law, or related fields.

Additional careers include:

  • Seasonal Naturalist
  • Environmental Compliance Specialist
  • Science and Technical Communications Specialist
  • Environmental Management Advisor
  • Environment, Health and Safety Specialist
  • Sustainability Specialist
  • Land Steward
  • Public Health Fellow
  • Research Coordinator

Choosing the Policy Profession

Discover what it means to become a policy professional by visiting the websites of some of our professional organizations.