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Academics

If you want to start an environmental career or take a class to learn more about environmental causes, we have many opportunities for you at NIU. You have the opportunity to pursue environmental education and incorporate hands-on learning through majors, minors, certificates and pathways.

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

Majors

Biological Sciences (BIOS)

Biology electives area 4: Biodiversity: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

In our biological sciences program, you will learn methods to conserve, preserve, and protect plant and animal species along with the habitats necessary for their survival. This program best prepares students interested in pursuing research in plant and animal biodiversity.

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Technology (TECH)

Emphasis 4: Energy and Environmental Technology

You learn about energy and environmental issues from an applied engineering and technological perspective. In classes, you address 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.

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Environmental Studies (ENVS)

Emphases in Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration; Energy Studies; Environmental Policy; Nature and Society; Water Sciences; and Secondary Science Educator Licensure in Environmental Science

You will learn to be an effective communicator and advocate as you learn about the interconnectedness of environmental problems and their solutions. While learning about the breadth of environmental knowledge available through physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities, policy, economics, and technology, you have the option to become a specialist in environmental restoration, energy, communication and advocacy, law and policy, green technology, or teaching high school environmental science.

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Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences (GEOG)

Natural Environmental Systems course grouping

In this program you 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, soil science and climatology.

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Geology and Environmental Geosciences (GEOL)

Emphasis 2: Environmental Geosciences

As a geology major with an emphasis in environmental geosciences, you'll apply physical and life sciences to solving environmental problems. You might be interested in a career in law, political science, economics, or land use planning where your credentials in environmental geosciences are highly valued.

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Management (MGMT)

Emphasis 3: Entrepreneurship and Social Responsibility

You will learn to drive innovation and transformation in addressing environmental challenges by building strong and sustainable organizations. You have the opportunity to make a difference through nonprofit or private companies.

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Mechanical Engineering (MEE)

Emphasis 3: Sustainable Energy

In this program you learn both ends of the energy spectrum from source to utilization and how technological advances in energy generation and sustainable conservation are applied within the field of mechanical engineering. In your studies, you will gain an understanding of energy conservation and environmental sustainability, alternative and renewable energy, propulsion, and refrigeration and air conditioning.

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Nonprofit and NGO Studies (NNGO)

Electives in Environmental Studies courses

You will learn the skills to serve as an effective leader in a nonprofit organization and make a difference for any number of environmental and social justice causes.

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Public Health (PHHE)

Emphasis 3: Environment and Health

You will learn the environmental factors that contribute to public health problems along with methods to prevent and control diseases and epidemics.

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Minors

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education (CAHE)

Social Change Leadership

You gain hands-on experience to be an effective leader in multiple contexts while examining the connections between social justice, ethics, and collaboration in order to promote positive social change. With environmental sciences already well established, we need leaders directing social change for environmental issues.

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Environmental Studies (ENVS)

You have the opportunity to complement your degree with a minor in environmental studies. The minor is designed for students who want to remain in another discipline, but who have an interest in the environmental field as a focus area.

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Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE)

Sustainable Engineering

In this program, you focus on the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into product, process, and energy systems design methods. This minor will equip you, as a graduating engineer or scientist, with the tools they need to meet the challenges associated with delivering goods, energy, and services through sustainable means.

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Latino and Latin American Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Environmental degradation is common in economically-developing areas of the world. Your knowledge of Latin America will allow you to apply environmental solutions in the cultural context of the region. This minor is useful if you want to work in government, international business, or an academic institution dealing with Latin America.

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Management (MGMT)

Social Entrepreneurship

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

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Southeast Asian Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Environmental degradation is common in economically-developing areas of the world. Your knowledge of Southeast Asia will allow you to apply environmental solutions in the cultural context of the region. This minor is useful if you want to work in government, international business, or an academic institution dealing with Southeast Asia.

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Certificates of Undergraduate Study

Applied Ethics

Inter-College Interdisciplinary Programs

You will study ethical concerns specific to a variety of disciplines: business, engineering, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

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Engineering Technology (TECH)

Energy Management

This certificate is designed to provide students fundamental knowledge in energy sciences with an emphasis in industrial applications.

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Environmental Studies (ENVS)

Sustainable Food Systems

You will learn about the interactions between environmental changes (e.g. growing population, changing weather patterns), community health, food production, and food security. This certificate is intended to draw from and inform a variety of majors and can also be pursued as a stand-alone certificate.

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Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences (GEOG)

Geographic Information Systems

You will learn to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create and examine information stored within maps. With the GIS certificate, you will have the knowledge to use spatial analysis technology to examine and solve environmental problems.

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Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE)

Lean Six Sigma

With this certificate, you are introduced to the skills required in manufacturing and service plants that apply the principles of lean production and six sigma. Industry professionals expect you to have an understanding of optimization and process efficiency as a means to reduce waste at all levels of production.

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Management (MGMT)

Social Entrepreneurship

This certificate will help you to develop the entrepreneurial skills related to the unique features of building and sustaining ventures to generate economic, social, and environmental change and the role of microfinance organizations.

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Public Administration (PSPA)

Public Service Leadership

Leadership skill and knowledge are fundamental for individuals contemplating or currently pursuing career positions with public service organizations. You will learn how to frame a vision, how to think strategically, how to solve problems, how to motivate employees, and how to adapt an organization to complex environmental change.

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