Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program seeks to create a learning environment that fosters an understanding of the causes and consequences of our environmental predicaments, as well as the creative problem-solving skills to design a more sustainable relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.


Our faculty are both scholars and teachers who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching that range from climate change, systems ecology, and natural resources and conflict, to indigenous environmental issues, environmental justice, and urban sustainability. They collaborate with indigenous, African diaspora, and Asian communities, and with local, county, and “Rust Belt” communities in the Great Lakes bioregion. Committed to undergraduate education, they teach everything from introductory courses to advanced seminars.

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Program Overview

We offer a design-oriented curriculum to equip you with the broad set of intellectual tools and learning experiences needed to address the unprecedented environmental challenges facing your generation: remediating and adapting to climate change while developing sustainable systems to produce food, fuel, shelter, and fiber. While daunting, these challenges also present tremendous opportunities for you and your peers to creatively construct a world that is better than the one you inherited.

Students can major or minor in environmental studies. Majors will gain the knowledge, intellectual tools, and learning experiences to pursue an increasingly diverse set of career options. Majors often obtain employment immediately after graduating, but most eventually pursue advanced degrees in such fields as environmental science, public policy, architecture, business, law, sustainable agriculture, and urban planning.

The Environmental Studies Program annual newsletter is the most intimate way of learning about our faculty, staff, and student endeavors, achievements, and ongoing projects. 

Read our latest newsletter

Environmental Studies News

The Business of Virtual Learning

January 21, 2021

Nearly a year ago many businesses and schools concerned about the spread of COVID-19 relocated onsite offices and classrooms to the internet. The transition to a virtual platform took some getting used to, but for Bryan Rubin ’18 and Benjamin Steger ’18 the future was finally here.
A college student plays a trumpet while a person on a computer screen facing him plays a trumpet.

The Transition From Student Senate to Washington, D.C.

December 8, 2020

When he was growing up, Machmud Makhmudov ’15 noticed how communities from different parts of the world created lives that struggled, grew, and thrived alongside one another. That insight served him well as a policy advisor for the presidential campaign and stands to be an impression in his new role with the incoming Biden Administration.
A man student sitting on a couch.

Talking Sustainability with Oberlin’s Green EDGE Fund

November 13, 2020

October was Sustainability Month at Oberlin, and no group is more dedicated to its celebration than the Green EDGE Fund. Composed of 10 student board members, the organization distributes funds to community-based projects dedicated to environmental sustainability.
Eight people seated in a row in building lobby.

Environmental Studies Facilities

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

This solar-powered building has earned national acclaim as a showcase for green building technologies and operating systems.
Exterior view of Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies.

E.A.R.R.T.H House

E.A.R.R.T.H House as it is known today is an 1870s duplex on East Lorain Street just across from the Allen Memorial Art Museum. It is the college’s first dedicated living space for sustainable living.
view of the front of the E.A.R.R.T.H House

Hallock Auditorium

Hallock Auditorium is in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies. The auditorium serves the dual purpose of being a lecture space for academic classes and a venue for campus events.
Hallock Auditorium

Lewis Annex

The Adam Joseph Lewis Center Annex is a renovated 19th-century home that offers lab and office space for the Environmental Studies Program.
Lewis Annex