Academic Programs

With a focus on transdisciplinary research and community engagement, our academic programs will build your understanding of the environment and prepare you to develop creative, effective solutions to environmental and sustainability issues.

Bachelor's Degree

Check out the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in environmental studies.

You can choose from a variety of emphases to enhance your course of study:

Emphasis options for students enrolled prior to fall 2023 also include:


No matter what you're majoring in, an environmental studies minor will develop your understanding of environmental concepts and issues from the viewpoints and with the approaches of the natural sciences, social sciences, policy sciences, humanities, technology and engineering.

View a class checklist for the minor (DOCX).

Certificate of Undergraduate Study

Our undergraduate certificate in sustainable food systems will provide you with an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable food production and distribution systems, as well as the economic, social and environmental implications of food systems.

View a class checklist for the certificate (DOCX).

Accelerated B.A./J.D. or B.S./J.D.

The B.S./J.D. or B.A./J.D. six-year accelerated program leads to a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and a J.D. degree. You can only start this program in the fall.

To participate, you must have completed 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework that satisfies general education and major requirements. These courses must be completed by May of your junior year. Your first year of law courses will satisfy your remaining credits (up to 120 undergraduate credit hours). You must also:

  • Identify yourself to the environmental studies department as a major who wish to complete the accelerated program.
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.25.
  • Receive an LSAT score at or above the 50th percentile of the previous year's entering law class.

If interested, you should apply to the College of Law as early as possible your junior year. Admission is competitive and depends on the number and quality of applicants to the program and the College of Law, as well as other factors the college normally considers.

Advanced Degrees

A bachelor's degree in environmental studies can be your gateway to graduate school. By taking a few additional undergraduate courses, you can prepare yourself for graduate programs beyond environmental studies. Some options at NIU that might be a good fit for you include:

What You'll Learn

Our academic programs will enable you to:

  • Integrate and apply knowledge from multiple disciplinary perspectives to evaluate the causes, consequences and potential solutions to environmental challenges
  • Critically evaluate the environmental, historical and social context of environmental changes from the local to global scale
  • Identify and analyze research at the cutting-edge of science, technology, social science and humanities to generate solutions to contemporary environmental challenges
  • Effectively communicate complex issues and ideas to diverse audiences and successfully work in groups


I was always so indecisive about what I wanted to learn or be because I wanted to learn and be so much. That’s what I specifically love about environmental studies. It is a truly interdisciplinary study that allows everyone to dabble in a little of everything.

Jennifer Schaumberg, environmental studies major

Contact Us

Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
325 Montgomery Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1814
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