Skip over navigation
Share this:

Undergraduate Environmental Studies

Princeton’s undergraduate Program in Environmental Studies (ENV) welcomes students from all disciplines who share an interest in the environment.

The ENV Program emphasizes experiential learning through courses and related fieldwork, offers a robust program of summer internships, and provides support for field research related to junior and senior independent work. The Program is part of the Princeton Environmental Institute, the University’s center for interdisciplinary environmental research, education, and outreach.

Explore an Emerging and Exciting Field

The ENV Program offers courses ranging from laboratory-based exploration to seminars, lectures, and task force styled classes with innovative fieldwork on campus, in the surrounding community, and abroad. Students are invited to take survey courses that explore population, land use, biodiversity, energy, climate, pollution, and water. Students may also take upper level courses that focus on environmental history, regulation, policy, communication and education, sustainability, biogeochemical cycles, and global change.

Princeton's environmental curriculum is constantly innovating and strives to meet student interest in this emerging and exciting field of scholarly exploration. Recently introduced courses include such topics as ecocriticism, religion and the environment, disease ecology, agriculture and land use, and energy and water.

In addition, the Environmental Humanities Initiative within the Princeton Environmental Institute (EHP) facilitates broad participation of faculty, research scholars, and students from the humanities in the study of environmental subjects. Engage with a Community of Experts

PEI’s associated and visiting faculty represent a community of expert researchers and dedicated educators who encourage and mentor students to pursue rigorous and practical environmental research. As part of the core curriculum, PEI offers several introductory laboratory courses, which combine field study with laboratory exercises to provide novel, hands-on experiences in the study of environmental issues. The ENV 201B lab fulfills the University’s science and technology with lab distribution requirement (STL). Several upper level courses include opportunities for students to conduct fieldwork abroad at research stations including field sites in Kenya, Bermuda, and Panama.

Earn an Environmental Certificate

Students may elect to earn a Certificate in Environmental Studies by pursuing a prescribed combination of core and upper level courses as well as preparing a senior thesis that includes an environmental dimension. Beginning in the fall 2013, students in the certificate program may pursue either a generalist course of study or one of five specialist tracks: (1) Biodiversity and Conservation, (2) Climate and Energy, (3) Earth Systems, (4) Environmental Policy, and (5) Environment and Water.

Participate in Research Opportunities

PEI provides a variety of opportunities for students to engage in independent research through internships, senior theses, and the scholars program. The Internship Program offers hands-on research experiences on campus and in the field through the summer months. Funding is available through PEI to support independent research with connections to junior or senior independent work. The PEI Environmental Scholars Program rewards students who have shown exceptional promise in their academic coursework and in select summer research apprenticeships.

Become an Environmental Leader

PEI is committed to advancing knowledge, creating awareness, and developing the next generation of environmental leaders. By participating in the Program in Environmental Studies, students join a dynamic community of faculty, senior researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students to solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

PEI encourages and supports student groups and initiatives that address campus sustainability and student civic engagement with an environmental focus. The Institute is a resource to students and student organizations with a commitment to the environment and has been a contributing partner to the development of several campus legacy projects including the Forbes Garden Project and the Greening Princeton Farmers’ Market.

Michael Pearlman

"In pursuing the ENV certificate, I was able to remain passionate and engaged in science and the environment in a way that was unavailable to me in my departmental work."

Michael Pearlman, 2013
FIT Major


Sarah Jeong

"The Environmental Studies Program has encouraged me to explore climate change issues from a perspective that spans departments and continents. With an initial focus on conservation, I have since become fascinated by human development and its inextricable link to the environment."

Sarah Jeong, 2015
WWS Major


Ruth Nachmany

"The ENV program has allowed me to get exactly what I want out of my studies - a focus on equity and social relevance - and also allowed me to unexpectedly re-enter the world of science."

Ruthie Nachmany, 2012
ANT Major