Environmental Studies

College of Health and Social Sciences

Dean: Dr. Alvin Alvarez

School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

Director: Jasper Rubin

Environmental Studies Program

HSS 261
Phone: (415) 405-4129
Website: https://pace.sfsu.edu/envs
Program Coordinator: Glenn Fieldman

Program Scope

The School of Public Affairs Environmental Studies Program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Natural Resource Management and Conservation. Students in the B.A. program have three emphases from which to choose: Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice, Humanities and the Environment, and The Urban Environment.

The objective of the program is to produce exceptional graduates who are grounded in the study of contemporary environmental problems and solutions. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills required for understanding the relationships between humans and the physical world. It examines how the environment is being used, abused, and perceived, and what individuals and organizations are doing and can do to protect it for themselves, future generations, and other living beings and ecosystems. Students participate in an internship and take a senior seminar. Both requirements emphasize community engagement and preparation for future environmental careers.

Career Outlook

Environmental Studies is a diverse field and includes opportunities for employment at many different venues. Private industry opportunities include solid waste management, resource recovery and recycling, hazardous waste management, water treatment and delivery, and air pollution control. Major local corporations have employment opportunities in environmental health and safety and environmental management. Environmental consultants who specialize in creating or reviewing environmental impact reports and statements and environmental regulations are needed at the federal and state agency level as well as in the private sector. Other employment opportunities include government agency level resource scientists, natural resource managers, and planners. In addition, local nonprofit activist groups provide a small number of full-time positions in the environmental field.

Associate Professor

Glenn E. Fieldman (1990), Associate Professor in Environmental Studies. Ph.D. University of Denver.

Autumn Thoyre (2016), Associate Professor in Environmental Studies. Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Assistant Professor

Aritree Samanta (2018), Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies. ​Ph.D. Cleveland State University.

ENVS 130 Environmental Studies (Units: 3)

Introduction to environmental studies. An examination of the history of the environmental movement, exploration of strategies to effect constructive change, analysis of environmental fields, and the need for their integration. [Formerly ENVS 300]

Course Attributes:

  • Environmental Sustainability

ENVS 224 Research Methods for Environmental Studies (Units: 4)

Prerequisite: Restricted to Environmental Studies majors or permission of the instructor.

Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods in environmental studies. The scientific method, field methods in natural and social sciences, and data analysis including descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing. Lecture, 3 units; activity, 1 unit.

ENVS 306 Economics and the Environment (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or permission of the instructor.

How economic systems impact the natural environment and how the natural environment underlies the economy. Includes neoclassical and ecological economics perspectives.
(This course is offered as ENVS 306 and ECON 306. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

ENVS 331 Global Environmental Crisis (Units: 4)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

Describes the impact of a growing world economy and population on biological and physical earth systems, and the potential consequences of environmental destruction for human well-being. Explores the historical and economic reasons for the political divide between developed and less-developed countries with respect to environmental issues and negotiations.
(This course is offered as I R 331 and ENVS 331. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

Course Attributes:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Perspectives
  • Social Justice

ENVS 450GW Environmental Law and Policy - GWAR (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: GE Area A2 and ENVS 130 or consent of the instructor.

Introduction and overview of environmental policies and the legal system at the national and international level through directed readings, class discussion, and research in the field of environmental law and policy. (ABC/NC grading only.)

Course Attributes:

  • Graduation Writing Assessment

ENVS 460 Energy, Justice, and Sustainability (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor.

Interdisciplinary social scientific exploration of energy focusing on environmental justice, sustainability, and political-economic perspectives. Topics include environmental impacts of energy systems and resources, social movements for sustainable energy transitions, and intersections of energy systems with inequalities in race, class, and gender. [CSL may be available]

ENVS 470 Climate Politics and Policy (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: ENVS 130 or consent of the instructor.

Domestic and international politics surrounding both climate change and the requirements of climate policy in the context of a global society dedicated to economic growth and characterized by sharp divisions between rich and poor.

Course Attributes:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Perspectives

ENVS 480 Climate Change Adaptation and Justice (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor.

Interdisciplinary examination of the social, economic, political, and ethical aspects of climate change, with a focus on adaptation, justice, and resilience. Discussion of adaptation to climate change in both the developed and the developing world and in different sectors and regions; the role of state, non-state, and community actors; and justice and equity implications of climate change adaptation.

ENVS 530 Environmental Leadership and Organizing (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: ENVS 130 or consent of the instructor.

Theoretical and applied study of leadership and organizing for the environment and environmental justice. Multidisciplinary exploration of social change and democratic action. Topics include gender and race-sensitive leadership, alternative approaches for civic engagement, organizing strategy and tactics, advocacy ethics, and current challenges facing the environmental movement.

ENVS 570 Applied Local Sustainability (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: ENVS 130 or consent of the instructor.

Examination of current sustainability issues and efforts at SF State, local cities, and other institutions across the country. Includes hands-on sustainability research on campus.

Course Attributes:

  • Environmental Sustainability

ENVS 600 Environmental Problems and Solutions (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or permission of the instructor.

An ecological approach to nature and the landscape. Human populations, natural resources, and environmental quality in California with particular reference to the San Francisco Bay Area.
(This course is offered as GEOG 600 and ENVS 600. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

Course Attributes:

  • UD-D: Social Sciences
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Perspectives

ENVS 640 Recreational Use of National Parks and Protected Areas (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor.

Introduction to concepts of conservation and preservation of national parks and other ecosystem units, and managing visitor use. Emphasis on history, management principles, and current issues. National parks will be the primary focus and selected international protected areas will be included. [CSL may be available]
(This course is offered as RPT 640 and ENVS 640. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

ENVS 651 Student Managed Fund in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investments (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher.

Introduction to the fundamental concepts and principles of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investments and their application to firm valuation and portfolio selection. Discussion of the topics of financial markets, financial statement analysis, time value of money, asset valuation, risk and return, and portfolio selection within the context of ESG. Survey of critical skills in implementing the ESG principles in investments with a blend of discussions, readings, cases, and presentations.
(This course is offered as FIN 651, ECON 651, and ENVS 651. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

ENVS 657 Natural Resource Management: Biotic Resources (Units: 4)

Prerequisites: GEOG 101, GEOG 205 or ENVS 224, or permission of the instructor.

Basic theories and methodologies of managing forest, wildlife and rangeland resources. Agencies, laws, and policies that govern natural resource management. Emphasis on the urban-wildland interface. Lecture, 3 units; activity, 1 unit.
(This course is offered as GEOG 657 and ENVS 657. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

ENVS 680 Environmental Studies Internship (Units: 1-3)

Prerequisites: Restricted to upper-division standing; ENVS 130; consent of the instructor.

Fieldwork in approved public, private, and non-profit environmental organizations, government and non-government agencies, or local corporations under the supervision of the organization and faculty coordinator. May be repeated for credit on advisement. [CSL may be available]

ENVS 690 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: Restricted to senior Environmental Studies majors and completion of core courses.

Integration and application of major concentration in Environmental Studies. Trends in Environmental Studies. Group projects working with the community to assist in problem solving or activism; job evaluation. (Plus-minus letter grade only)

ENVS 699 Independent Study (Units: 1-3)

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing, consent of the instructor, major adviser, and department chair.

Supervised study of a particular issue selected by the student. May be repeated for a total of 6 units.