Get involved in sustainability at a time when it's needed the most

The Bachelor of Science  in Environmental Science and Policy at St. Edward’s prepares you to protect and conserve all aspects of our environment. 

With increasing awareness of the need for a more sustainable society, there is a growing demand for graduates in this field. In this program, you will to learn to analyze natural resource policies and help solve current environmental problems. Throughout the program, you will develop solutions by exploring the physical and biological processes that maintain life. Over the course of your studies in this major, you will...

  • Take a combination of environmental sciences, ethics and political science courses
  • Work in a lab setting on natural science projects 
  • Examine issues of sustainability, climate change and air quality
  • Investigate soil and water conservation and the conservation of natural resources

Environmental Science and Policy students tackle issues highly relevant in today's society by working closely with government agencies, nonprofits, policy makers, scientists, members of the public, and corporations.

Degree Plan

Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy requires 57 hours of major courses, which include a combination of environmental science and policy, political science, biology, chemistry and economics. In addition, students can choose 9 hours of elective courses to specialize in a single discipline related to the degree.

Electives: Students complete 15 hours of elective courses in any area of study they choose. These courses do not have to relate to the major.

General Education Requirements: The degree requires 48 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View the full degree plan (PDF). 

A few examples of courses students in this major take:             

  • Climate Change – explores the science and politics of global climate change
  • Environmental Politics and Policy – examines the proper role of government in determining environmental goals and the means to achieve them
  • Research Experience in Environmental Science and Policy – allows students the opportunity to conduct practical field research on an environmental topic 

Our Faculty and Student Support Services

"I teach environmental science and policy because it gives me the opportunity to work with students who are passionate about making their world a better place.  Austin is an ideal location for this as its vibrant environmental community offers numerous opportunities to apply these lessons to issues affecting our campus and community."

– Peter Beck, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

"I employ a diversity of research methods, including ecological field trials, greenhouse experiments, stakeholder interviews, and policy analysis to measure impacts of global change on plant communities and ecosystems and to test the effectiveness and feasibility of land management approaches. Through outreach activities and close collaboration with researchers and practitioners from a range of different backgrounds, I work to translate my scientific results to conservation action."

Amy Concilio, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Environmental Science and Policy Faculty Research Interests

The research interests of Dr. Peter Beck, Environmental Science and Policy program coordinator, involve analyzing incentives for conservation in Africa and Texas and campus sustainability in the U.S.. He has published a variety of papers on environmental management and sustainability topics.

Student Support Services

Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:

  • Academic counseling and advising
  • Supplemental instruction and tutoring
  • Career preparation and advising 
  • Writing Center consultation
  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Student disability support

Learn more about these services.

Outside the Classroom

Students majoring in Environmental Science and Policy can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through internships and interactions with the greater Austin community.

Research and Exploration

You will discover how to investigate the causes of environmental degradation and analyze policy situations. You will also have the opportunity to participate in student-faculty field research with the goal of producing and presenting professional-level work at conferences. This is good preparation for the work you will do in your career, and also serves as proof of your ability to work in a professional capacity. You can use this work to demonstrate your capabilities to future employers.

Service Learning Courses

Our service learning courses offer hands-on, active experiences to enrich your academic credentials. Environmental Science and Policy majors work with the Sierra Club and other local environmental groups as part of their coursework in Environment and People, Local Environmental Controversies in Austin and the senior internship. Students also explore different ways to increase sustainability on campus, through project-based courses such as Research for Campus Sustainability and Designing a Climate Action Plan at St. Edward’s University.

Field outings

ENSP students spend plenty of time exploring Texas's diverse prairies, forests, and wetlands on class field trips. In Fall 2018, students enrolled in ENSP 4349- Natural Resources Conservation and Management went on a 3 day camping trip to Santa Ana National Wildlife Reserve in the Rio Grande Valley to learn about how managers are working to conserve bird biodiversity across international borders. Read about that trip and more in the ENSP in the Field blog.

Culminating Experience 

Environmental Science and Policy majors conclude their undergraduate experience with a major research project and a senior internship at a local environmental organization. These initiatives ensure you’ll have the analytical skills and practical experience necessary to succeed in your chosen environmental profession. 

Alumni Outcomes

Our graduates have entered the field in a wide range of professional roles. They are working as:

  • Restoration ecologists who restore ecosystems in the private sector
  • Staff at the Texas General Land Office
  • Environmental advocates who lobby for increased environmental protection
  • Staff at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Environmental educators who introduce the public to the importance of environmental sustainability
  • Staff at Horizon Wind Energy
  • Chief sustainability officers at large corporations
  • Staff at Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Environmental scientists in government

Graduates are also prepared for a wide range of graduate study options, including environmental engineering, marine biology, public policy and environmental law. 

Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.

About the Minor

Whether you are interested in environmental consulting, research management, or simply adding an environmental perspective to your prospective field of interest, a minor in Environmental Science and Policy can help you prepare for a more sustainably mindful career.

Required Coursework:
  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Geology
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Two other upper-division ENSP courses

Peter Beck, associate professor of Environmental Science and Policy, helps students develop an awareness of environmental issues. Hear his views on the importance of sustainability and protecting our natural resources.