Environmental Studies


Our program reflects patterns of student interest in the creation of four concentrations. Prescott College also supports those inspired to combine concentrations or innovate new ones. A complex world requires versatile training and versatility is our specialty.  

Sustainability Science and Practice

Our primary twenty-first century challenge is to transform human civilization to reflect patterns of sustainability and regeneration naturally occurring on Earth. You would join our students and graduates who are on the leading edge of a surging community-based response spanning the physical, natural and social sciences, and the humanities. Prescott College students create organizations, businesses, institutions and communities that function sustainably; craft curricula that infuse concepts of sustainability throughout the educational experience; design systems, practices and infrastructures that are regenerative inspired by nature; deconstruct conventional economic systems of valuation and exchange; produce alternatives to industrialized agricultural systems proposing rejuvenating, healthful, local, and organic alternatives; and advance resource -use efficiencies to promote the development of renewable energy. Our students advance the field through such their work as sustainability coordinators, entrepreneurs, consultants and advisor-educators to name a few.

Sustainability Management 

Our Sustainability Management emphasis will challenge and train you in the science and art of coordinating collaborative strategies towards the creation of innovative and optimal performance practices.  Such performance, found within highly functioning businesses, organizations and communities, can be sustainable when guided by the triple bottom line that champions environmental health, social justice and economic vitality.  Your study will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • gain familiarity with key sustainability management theories, bases and methods;
  • develop insight into how sustainability performance is guided by diverse stakeholder values,
  • engage diverse stakeholders with a shared vision of complex and adaptive priorities,
  • practice planning and implementation techniques for triple bottom line sustainability initiatives.

As with all of the Master of Arts programs, you are invited and challenged to create individualized mentored courses to individualize your degree plan.  Additionally, the following instructor-led courses are offered (course titles are subject to change):

  • New Economics of Strong Sustainability 
  • Systems Thinking for Environmental and Social Change 
  • Financial Accounting and Integrated Reporting 
  • Dynamic Meeting, Project and Process Management 
  • Management, Organizational Development and Leadership 
  • Regulatory and Voluntary Standards for Management

Environmental Education

Many of our students are traditional and non-traditional educators who wish to help others develop a place-based understanding of a bio/social region through experiential educational models. You can join our students who have founded innovative start-up schools that travel the nation and inspire students to integrate social and ecological concepts. Others have worked in small farming towns to create seed cooperatives to preserve the genetic diversity of crops. In many distinctive ways, our graduates collaborate with public, private and charter schools; residential nature centers; adventure-based programs; and conservation organizations. We are excited to have strong collaborative partnerships with Teton Science School in Wyoming and the Walking Mountains Science Center in Colorado and many of our students create exciting, experiential degrees by working at these centers and transferring credits earned to Prescott College where they complete their degrees.  

Conservation Science

Many of our students focus their efforts on field-based efforts to protect our planets’ remaining bio-geographical and biological diversities. You can join our students who are practitioner-scholars with an interest in such interdisciplinary programs as applied ecology, environmental conservation, conservation biology and sociology, and/or restoration ecology. Although generally grounded in the natural sciences, our Conservation Science students work in the multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary realms of understanding and solving environmental problems. Our students use diverse methods in their work ranging from participatory-action research to ethnography to sophisticated experimental design to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mathematical modeling. A common thread among many of our students in this concentration is their inspiration to move beyond a textbook understanding of conservation issues toward a lasting and meaningful change of our natural and social world. Our graduates work in many fields such as interpretation, consultation, research, and community organization and activism. Others continue on with their doctorates.  

Social Ecology

Social Ecology focuses on the ways in which institutional and societal structures manifest and perpetuate social injustice and environmental impacts. Prescott College students pursuing degrees in Limited-Residency Master of Arts Environmental Studies and Humanities degrees can work with faculty from our partner Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) and participate in the Institute's activities as a part of their Masters degree. You will join our students who construct critical theses that incorporate key concepts from the fields of philosophy, science, politics, and social ecology on diverse topics such as food production, alternative technologies, and urban design. Our students’ catalyzed movements challenge global injustices and a variety of unsustainable technologies by offering participatory, community-based alternatives. Prescott College students in collaboration with the Institute, strive to be an agent of social transformation, demonstrating the skills, ideas and relationships that can nurture vibrant, self-governed, healthy communities.

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