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If you are looking to start a green career or perhaps you just want to take a class to learn more about environmental causes, there are many opportunities for you at NIU. Every college at NIU offers opportunities to pursue environmental education and incorporate hands-on learning.

Still don't see what you are looking for? Talk to your academic advisor about an environmental independent study project tailored to your interests.


Emphasis in Energy and Environmental Technology (EET)

Energy and environmental issues, from climate change and land and water usage, to alternative energy, represent critical challenges for society. This program examines energy and environmental issues from an engineering and technological perspective. EET provides its students with an understanding of the applications and needs of the important area of energy and the environment. This emphasis addresses engineering and technology advancements that improve the environment, development of new technologies that utilize green principles for manufacturing and transportation topics, as well as reducing our carbon footprint.

Emphasis: Sustainable Energy (MEE)

Technological advances in energy generation and sustainable conservation are becoming increasingly more important aspects within the field of mechanical engineering. This emphasis in sustainable energy will enable students on both ends of the energy spectrum from source to utilization. Sustainable Energy students can gain and understanding of energy conservation and environmental sustainability, alternative and renewable energy, propulsion, and refrigeration and air conditioning.

Public Health Degree in Environment and Health

If you'd like to make a difference by preventing and controlling diseases caused by environmental factors, consider an undergraduate degree in public health with an emphasis in environment and health. You'll take classes in public health and in the environment health focus area such as biology, chemistry, geography, and technology. You may choose to minor in biology, chemistry, or environmental management systems.

NNGO Major - Environmental Emphasis Area

If you are looking to make a difference by working for a non-profit organization and have an interest in the environment, animals, or sustainable energy, learn more about the environmental emphasis in the Nonprofits and NGO Studies program. As a graduate of this program, your "green degree" will prepare you for a career that can really change the world for the better.

You choose from an exciting list of classes in departments across the university that focus on environmental issues. The interdisciplinary course work provides you with a well-rounded education so you can make an impact from the start of your new career.

Environmental Studies

The Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy (ESE Institute) offers two undergraduate degrees in environmental studies: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. These interdisciplinary programs feature classes and research led by NIU faculty from several different colleges. To further customize your course of study, you can draw from your personal, intellectual and professional interests to choose from the following six areas of emphasis:

Emphasis in Natural Environmental Systems

As a geographic and atmospheric science major with an emphasis in natural environmental systems (NES), your studies will incorporate the physical sciences with human management approaches to the environment. You'll have the foundation for a career in several environmental fields including agriculture, engineering, soil science and climatology. You can turn your knowledge into action to help sustain our planet.

Environmental Geosciences Emphasis

As a geology major with an emphasis in environmental geosciences, you'll build a broad scientific base that will help you land a career in a field outside of geology that focuses on environmental issues. For example, careers in law, political science, economics, or land use planning that specialize in environmental geosciences need students with the well-rounded background that our emphasis provides.


Social Entrepreneurship

With a minor in social entrepreneurship, you'll develop the entrepreneurial skills to help build and sustain ventures that generate economic, social and environmental change.

Sustainable Engineering

A minor in sustainable engineering is concerned with the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into product, process, and energy systems design methods. The objective is to minimize the total of the negative environmental impacts across the entire life cycle and maximize the positive social and economic impacts. Also, sustainable engineering encourages the consideration of the complete product and process life cycle during the design cycle. This minor will equip graduating engineers and scientists with the tools they need to meet the challenges associated with delivering goods, energy, and services through sustainable means.

Environmental Studies

The environmental studies minor is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program that allows undergraduates in any degree program to study environmental concepts, issues, and problems from the viewpoints and with the approaches of the natural and social sciences. Credit hours applied to a major may not be applied to this minor.

Certificates and Pathways

Social Entrepreneurship

With a certificate of undergraduate study in social entrepreneurship, you'll develop the entrepreneurial skills to help build and sustain ventures that generate economic, social and environmental change.

Certificate of Undergraduate Study: Lean Six Sigma

This certificate in Lean Six Sigma introduces undergraduate students to those skills required in manufacturing and service plants that apply the principles of lean production and six sigma. Industry, in general, expects graduates of industrial and systems engineering to have a strong background in lean production and six sigma concepts.

GIS Certificate

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to create and examine information stored within maps. The Department of Geographic and Atmospheric offers a certificate of undergraduate study as well as a certificate of graduate study in GIS. By obtaining a GIS certificate, students can learn to utilize a tool that can be implemented in solving environmental issues.

Sustainable Food Systems

The University offers a certificate of undergraduate study in Sustainable Food Systems. A Sustainable Food Systems certificate will provide students with knowledge on sustainable agriculture and food production. The courses required for this certificate provide students with hands on experience learning different techniques used in sustainable agriculture.