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The Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program (ENVST) strives to foster an understanding of ecological systems and the consequences of human interactions with the environment. The curriculum is rooted in interdisciplinary approaches from earth systems science, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. The ENVST program provides students with a broad multi-methods education that emphasizes systemic analysis, peer learning, and community engagement. It stresses the importance of social responsibility, leadership, and a science-based focus on solutions and integrated problem solving.

While the ENVST core classes are available online for all ENVST majors, the Sustainability Initiatives Emphasis is the only ENVST emphasis that can be completed entirely online. This emphasis gives students the opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary education focused on sustainability. Students will take electives from a pre-selected list of classes that are offered online. The capstone class includes a project on the related topic of their choice, which serves as a culmination of their studies on sustainability. 

At the University of Utah, our courses combine the flexibility of online teaching with the advantages and direct engagement of traditional teaching. Enjoy the benefit of studying online at your own pace while still engaging with classmates and instructors. This flexible way of teaching improves your overall experience and your ability to retain what you learn.

Interactive learning comes in a variety of ways:

  • Group assignments, where you collaborate via email or a discussion forum to answer a problem set.
  • Contributions to a discussion forum, where you directly respond to previous posts.
  • Peer reviews, where you review and comment on assignments from other students.

Our classes also offer multiple routes to stay connected and get help:

  • Communicate directly with the instructor via email.
  • Participate in and guide online discussions.
  • Attend online office hours in discussion threads or on the phone.
  • Instructors are available in “real” office hours for students on or near campus; for some courses we offer Q&A sessions in a classroom.

Bachelors of Science Environmental and Sustainability Studies: Emphasis in Sustainability Initiatives

Minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies

All of the courses at the University, whether online or on campus, are taught by the same high-quality faculty members. There’s no distinction on your diploma that you completed courses online.


Courses with * have prerequisites. 

Prerequisites for ENVST Upper Division Courses 

ENVST 2050

Introduction to Environmental Science (SF)

ENVST 2100

Introduction to Environmental and Sustainability Studies (BF)

ENVST Upper Division Courses

GEOG 3210

Global Climate Change (SF)

*ENVST 3364

Challenges to Global Sustainability (IR)

*ENVST 3365

Environmental Justice (DV)

POLS 3390

Introduction to Environmental and Sustainability Policy

To Be Completed in Your Last Year

*ENVST 5556

Capstone Experience

Statistics Courses (choose 1 course)

*ECON 3640

Probability & Statistics for Economists (QB)

SOC 3112

Social Statistics (QI and QB)

FCS 3210

Statistics in Family & Consumer Studies (QI and QB)

*PSY 3000

Statistical Methods in Psychology (QI and QB)

Writing Courses (choose 1 course)

*MGT 3810

Business and Professional Communication (CW)

*WRTG 3014

Scientific Writing (CW)

*WRTG 3012

Writing in the Social Sciences (CW)

*WRTG 3015  

Professional Writing (CW)

Methods Courses (choose 1 course)

FCS 3200

Research Methods in Family and Consumer Studies

*ECON 4650

Econometrics (QI)

POLS 3001

Political Analysis (QB and QI)

SOC 3111

Research Methods (CW)

SW 4100

Global Community Based Research

ENVST Electives (choose 7 courses)

Choose no more than 4 from one department. 

ANTH 1050

Evolution and Human Nature (SF)

ANTH 4255

Race and Culture (DV)

*CHEM 1210

General Chemistry (SF)

COMM 3030

Communications and Social Responsibility

ECON 3190

Introduction to Health Economics 

GEOG 3030

Living with QUakes

GEOG 3600

Geography of Utah


Energy Choices for the 21st Century

GNDR 1100

Gender and Social Change (DV/BF)

GNDR 3380

Social Inequality (DV)

NUIP 1020

Scientific Foundations of Human Nutrition & Health (AS)

PHIL 3530

Environmental Ethics (HF)

PHIL 3520

Bioethics (HF)

PRT 3310

Leisure Behavior and Human Diversity (DV)

PRT 3610

The Global Citizen (IR)

SOC 1020

Social Problems

SOC 3480

Environmental Sociology (IR)

SOC 3650

Population and Society (QI/QB/IR)

SW 3550

Social Diversity and Cultural Understanding (DV)


More information on admissions, applications and degree requirements can be found here.

affordable tuition

UOnline undergraduate tuition has reduced fees and is the same for both Utah residents and out-of-state students. Please visit the tuition and fees page for more information.

All students transferring credit from another institution will need to make visiting with an advisor a top priority.  Students will be able to gather a full sense of what credits transferred, how many credits are left remaining for degree completion and those opportunities that will enhance the post-graduate experience. Students can only transfer 4 classes, only 1 can be 1000/2000 level. 

Studying ENVST will prepare you for careers in government (such as the Bureau of Land Management), business (as an environmental consultant or sustainability director), education, nonprofit, and activism (as a lobbyist against environmental degradation). Graduates of the program have found work as policy makers, consultants, and environmental journalists. Students can also be prepared for graduate school in programs such as: environmental and other sciences, business administration, public health, urban planning and law.

Where are our graduates now?  Learn more at

Program Credits

55 Credit Hours* 
*Program credits only. This does not include gen ed/bachelor degree requirements or the university's 122 hour rule.

All ENVST program pre-requisite courses, as well as ENVST core classes, are available in the online format. For more information, please contact an ENVST academic advisor.

Application Deadlines


Spring - November 1

Summer - March 1

Fall - April 1



Last Updated: 5/25/22