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Welcome to Clarke University! Together, we will cultivate new ways of delivering the Clarke experience — supporting each other and our community. We stand as One Clarke, One Community.

Spring 2020 Return to Campus Information
COVID-19 Communication

Environmental Studies


The way we use the Earth’s resources affects our quality of life – both short-term and long-term. As the population of the Earth grows, it is more important than ever that we be good stewards of the environment. Clarke’s Environmental Studies degree minor focuses on using the tools of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to solve problems in resource depletion and environmental degradation, which in turn affect human welfare. Students studying in our environmental studies minor at Clarke choose from a variety of courses in biology, sociology, ethics, economics, and other areas. This preparation, in conjunction with their major degree, opens doors to sustainability-related careers. If you’ve ever asked yourself, what types of Environmental Science degrees near me are available, you should first check out our campus visits and virtual visits in Dubuque, Iowa. You can see for yourself that Clarke is one of the best universities for environmental science in the Midwest.

What is Environmental Studies? The Environmental science degree uses tools from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to solve problems in resource depletion, environmental degradation, and biodiversity. In our environmental studies minor, you’ll take basic courses in these and other areas, but then you’ll choose an emphasis in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, or professional programs.

Real-World Experience

In our Environmental Studies degree minor, you will complete a 12-credit internship which constitutes most of your work during your junior year. The internship will involve working with faculty and a supervisor at a local business, nonprofit, or government agency to solve an important issue related to sustainability. Clarke faculty collaborate with members of the community to facilitate your internship opportunities.

How about a Career?

Opportunities available for environmental studies degree graduates:

  • Wildlife biologist
  • Grassroots organizer
  • Sustainability coordinator for government or business
  • Soil conservation specialist
  • Writer/Blogger
  • Air/water quality chemist
  • Park ranger
  • Infrastructure designer
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Classroom teacher or informal educator

Program Details

Environmental Science degrees draw expertise from biology, sociology, economics, chemistry, and religious studies as an integrated, interdisciplinary program. Learn about subjects such as conservation of biodiversity, resource management, sustainability, environmental justice, and the triple bottom line. Various courses, including Introduction to Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology, and Environment and Society, include service-learning or other community-based experiences that help prepare students for future careers. Your learning will be hands-on and visual. You will see and do, not just listen, in your environmental science courses at Clarke.


Many of the classes for an environmental science degree take place in Clarke’s science building, the Marie Miske Center for Science Inquiry, which fosters collaborative, hands-on learning in flexible, modern spaces. The fully-automated greenhouse provides additional research and learning opportunities.

The Facts

  • The Environmental Studies minor draws on expertise from biology, sociology, mathematics, economics, chemistry, and religious studies in an integrated, interdisciplinary major.
  • Courses in the environmental science degree include service-learning and other community-based experiences that will help prepare you for an internship experience.
  • Environmental Studies degree minors have opportunities to study abroad, where you can focus on urban sustainability or conservation in a variety of settings.

Admission to Clarke University

Applicants to the environmental studies minor are considered on an individual basis. Apply to Clarke today to begin your journey.

Unique Classes
Have you asked yourself, what is environmental studies? Environmental Science requirements vary. Here is a sampling of the types of unique and diverse classes you will take in the Environmental Science degree minor program:

INTRO TO ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES — This course uses natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to examine problems in resource depletion, and environmental degradation.

SOCIAL ISSUES — This class explores how our social behaviors and beliefs affect and are affected by the natural world.

APPLIED ETHICS: ENVIRONMENT — Environmental Ethics includes a trip to Costa Rica to study how that country values and protects its environment.

The Power of Liberal Arts

The ability to write well, speak well, and problem solve are some of the top skills employers seek when hiring new graduates. Leaders need to know how to create, collaborate, innovate, and inspire. A liberal arts education and minor in environmental science coursework prepares you to do just that, forming those critical skills that separate leaders from followers. And, because a liberal arts education translates to many different careers, you also have the option of easily jumping into a new job if you’re ready to try something different.

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Meet Our Faculty

When our environmental science degree graduates speak about the Clarke moments that helped shape them, there’s always a professor in the story. That’s because being a faculty member at Clarke University requires a deep passion for educating, encouraging, and empowering students. Here, your professors will know your name. They will push you to develop your full potential, and then they’ll ask for more. And, they’ll be right there to congratulate you when you exceed even your own expectations. Often, it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

View Our Faculty & Staff
Andrea Bixler, Ph.D.

My courses are challenging – what’s the point of just memorizing the text? Instead, let’s take the information, analyze it, and apply it in new situations.

Melissa DeMotta, Ph.D.

Melissa DeMotta, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

I hope that students learn to appreciate the world around them and the wonder of their own bodies so that they realize science is not scary but fantastic.

Michelle Slover, Ph.D.

Michelle Slover, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor of Biology

The integration of lab and lecture in my anatomy courses works well. The two components complement each other and provide multiple ways to learn.

Getting ready to take notes in a Clarke University English Class
There’s more to college than going to class.

The Classroom and Beyond

But don’t take our word for it…

Our Students & Alumni

Xavier Johnson

Xavier Johnson

Environmental Studies ‘21

The hands-on experiences and connections made through class trips have been very valuable in Clarke’s environmental science degree. These trips help broaden my perspective of what environmental studies is, and how it impacts everyone in ways that I had never thought about.

Courtney Traser

Courtney Traser

Biology ‘13

Dr. Slover’s passion for what she taught was evident and infectious, and my experiences with her and her encouragement motivated me so much.

Ellie Northrop

Ellie Northrop

Biology and Math ‘17

I want to do and experience everything. Being at a small school like Clarke helps you find your niche. Turns out I have many niches – sports, music, and academics. Clarke makes it possible for me to do everything.


The median annual wage for environmental scientists is $69,400 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The most common reason for CEOs to pursue sustainability is that it matches their companies’ mission and values, according to the 2014 McKinsey Global Survey.


Work one-on-one with Ph.D.-level faculty.

Experience Clarke Environmental Studies for Yourself

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