Majors & Minors

Environmental Studies


At the heart of Southwestern’s Environmental Studies program lies a list of provocative and urgent questions that students will be challenged to investigate.


Laura Hobgood

Professor of Religion & Chair of Environmental Studies Department

Laura Hobgood

Professor of Religion & Chair of Environmental Studies Department

Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies

What is humankind’s relationship to its environment?

How do natural systems operate?

What are some of today’s most pressing environmental issues?

How do we address the complicated issue of environmental justice? 

What are key environmental issues on the Southwestern campus and in Central Texas?

From these starting points, environmental studies students will begin an examination of the world around them that will continue through their time at Southwestern and into their lives beyond the classroom.

Environmental Studies is one of the Paideia Minors. Paideia provides intentional opportunities for students to integrate various academic disciplines and experiences, empowering them to develop versatile analytical abilities that lead them to become creative problem solvers who are well equipped to tackle complex issues. Paideia is not a traditional program but provides innovative, structured pathways that enable the acquisition of these invaluable skills.

All SU students are encouraged to graduate with Paideia Distinction by making Paideia a formal part of their studies. This requires completing either one of the Paideia Minors (or two High-Impact Experiences) and successfully completing a Paideia Seminar.

Graduation with Paideia Distinction formally recognizes students’ cultivated curiosity to learn, integrate multiple viewpoints, and create change. The Paideia skills that students develop make SU graduates highly sought-after by recruiters, employers, and graduate programs.

Learn more about the Paideia Seminar, how to apply for it, and how to graduate with Paideia Distinction.


Featured Alumni Stories

Social sustainability on university campuses

Southwestern University Nominated for a 2020 AASHE Sustainability Award

Selected from more than 400 applicants, SU is a finalist for the award based on its published research regarding the sustainability of higher-education institutions.

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The outreach project Wander Like Water was born: the Houstons would produce videos for YouTube and social media in which they would showcase not just their travels but also educate viewers about how each water source they’d visit “has a story, an issue, or a threat.”

Wander Like Water

Southwestern alumni adventurers raise awareness about water and educate the public about sustainability.

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"Cruising in an incredible exercise in team building. Confined living space, stressful situations, moments of pure bliss—it’s all a recipe for bringing you closer with your cruising partner/s."

Emma Davis ’14 Is on a Boat!

The environmental studies major is sailing around the world while practicing sustainable living.

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Environmental Studies News

Gaby Garza ’22, Lupe Sanchez ’23, and Christine Vanginault ’23  spread compost on the research plots

Taking SU undergraduate researchers to new heights at 10,000 ft.

Any students out there looking for opportunities to escape the TX heat?  Dr. DeMarco, our plant ecosystem and climate change ecologist, brought a number of research opportunities from Colorado and made them available to SU students.  Check out the work by the first three students: Gabby, Lupe & Christine.

Sustainability begins with “SU”

What is the Talloires Declaration?

This initiative calls on the University to envision programs and practices that make our world more sustainable.

Mister Squinty

Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend, but Cats Are a Pirate’s First Mate

Meet Southwestern University’s Cat Partners club and its furry, feline family.



Environmental Studies Events

Environmental Studies Advising and Interest Session

Environmental Studies Group Advising & Department Information Session

Pizza and gluten free / vegan salad will be served

Attend this session to learn more about the Environmental Studies major/minor. You do not need to be a declared major to attend. These sessions can help you plan your future semester courses.