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enss program overview

Program Overview

The Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ENSS) major at NMU trains and educates students to observe, measure, and influence how people interact with Earth’s natural and cultural environments. This produces knowledge that is helpful in understanding our changing world and ensures its sustainability through the implementation of holistic solutions. Students will learn about sustainable food systems, energy, water resources, demographic changes, culture, and the built environment. 

Our faculty train students to identify geographic concepts and patterns, and to use spatial, qualitative, and  quantitative methods to understand and address environmental challenges.

View the Bulletin.

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Students on field trip in GC 269 Sustainability.

What can you do with an Environmental Studies and Sustainability degree?

Our program prepares students for employment in many careers, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Ecotourism Guide
  • Environmental Conservation Officer
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Educator
  • Environmental Protection Specialist
  • Organic Farmer
  • Park Naturalist
  • Park Ranger
  • Environmental Policy Expert
  • Recreational Consultant
  • Resort Manager
  • Sustainability Coordinator
  • Sustainable Agriculture Practitioner
  • Transportation Planner
  • Urban Planner
  • Water Conservationist

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Students taking notes during presentation while on a field trip to landfill.

Skills and Competencies

The Environmental Studies and Sustainability major’s course work will develop critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making abilities. Strong communication skills, including writing and speaking, are essential for a career in this field. Leadership skills are also beneficial.

By graduation, students will be able to:

  • describe and explain the geographical foundations of Environmental Studies.
  • explain and analyze interdisciplinary connections between physical, biological, and social systems.
  • evaluate multicultural perspectives and policies.
  • apply methods and tools to solve problems. 

Affiliated Faculty

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dr jelili adebiyi

Jelili "Gana" Adebiyi

Assistant Professor

jadebiyi@nmu.edu 906-227-2634
Office Location:

3003 Weston

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dr. weronika kusek

Weronika Kusek

Associate Professor

wkusek@nmu.edu 906-227-2989
Office Location:

3111 Weston

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dr sarah mittlefehldt

Sarah Mittlefehldt

Professor

smittlef@nmu.edu 906-227-1442
Office Location:

3005 Weston Hall

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Dr. Ryan Stock

Ryan Stock

Assistant Professor

rystock@nmu.edu 906-227-2616
Office Location:

3115 Weston

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Dr. Susy Ziegler

Susy Ziegler

Professor, Department Head, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

suziegle@nmu.edu 906-227-1104
Office Location:

3001A Weston

Major Requirements

Students must complete all courses listed in Core Requirements and then select eight (8) credits of elective courses.

Testimonial by Montana Cohn, ENSS alumnus

"While at NMU I gained valuable skills in GIS, plant identification, and multiple certifications like WFR [Wilderness First Responder] and [wildland fire chainsaws training]. In addition to hard skills, I also learned the importance of the human factor on natural environments and how to navigate this subject. I practiced working with others to prepare technical papers, presentations, and fieldwork, while also being pushed to think and work independently."

Montana cohn

BS Environmental Studies and Sustainability, 2014

Where Have Our Students Interned?

The following is a partial listing of organizations and businesses where our have interned.

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Kathleen Henry on a ship.
lexi laws testimonial

"I am incredibly grateful to the EEGS Department for making my time here at Northern special. Without all of the awesome EEGS faculty, I can't imagine how different my college experience would have been. I rave about this department every time I get the chance because it truly is a wonderful community of people.”

Lexi Laws

BS Environmental Studies and Sustainability, 2024

Photo of Bailey Swanson, Environmental Studies and Sustainability alumna

"I'm very grateful for the staff and faculty here. They saw so much value in our ideas and projects and always encouraged us to take our projects farther than we thought they could even go. One of my favorite examples of this was the native plant rain garden which started out as just a paper for a class assignment, but we were encouraged to take it farther and turn it into an actual proposal to submit to the Green Fund. It was chosen and actually came to fruition. "

Bailey Swanson

BS Environmental Studies and Sustainability, 2023

Declare the ENSS Major

We strongly encourage you to meet with one of our Senior Success Advisors in EEGS before declaring the major, as they can provide valuable guidance and will work with you to develop a degree plan. Our Success Advisors are:

When you are ready to declare:

  1. You many submit your request to change a major or a minor on the web on the Change or Declare a Major page.
  2. Enter your name, NMU IN, email address, class standing, check the "change my major" box, and input any additional relevant comments. For Earth Science be sure to select a concentration if you are under the Fall 2023 (or more recent) Bulletin.
  3. Submit the declare request.

You may also visit the Student Success Office in 3302 C.B. Hedgcock Building to make the change in person.