Environmental Education

An education curriculum to explore the human-nature relationship


Environmental Education encourages the discovery and understanding of the Earth’s natural systems and the human role in those systems. Environmental educators strive to see, feel, and teach about the interrelationships among all living things and have a solid comprehension of ecological concepts, as well as an understanding of environmental history and the ecological effects that humans have had on the Earth. Students pursuing this emphasis explore the literature and philosophy concerning the human–nature relationship as it relates to teaching environmental awareness through formal and non-formal educational settings.  In addition to gaining a theoretical foundation, students have the opportunity to practice and develop their teaching skills through several education courses that involve designing and implementing educational units to a wide variety of students and educational settings. The Environmental Education emphasis is highly interdisciplinary and complementary to students studying Adventure Education, Social Justice, Ecopsychology, as well as Environmental Studies and Education.

Environmental Education is grounded in the following:

1. Ecological Literacy: In addition to developing a solid foundation in Ecology and Natural History, Environmental Educators should be familiar with Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics. (Approximately 8 courses)

2. Environmental educators are able to teach and exemplify responsible, informed involvement in political and corporate decision making. A foundation in the field of Education with an understanding of learning theories, curriculum design, and experiential education provides the necessary knowledge and skills to develop teaching skills and to demonstrate competence.  (Approximately 8 courses)

3. Environmental educators should consider multi­cultural perspectives related to social justice and also cultivate a political and economic background in order to teach about relationships among local communities, technological society, and the global environment.

4. Environmental education covers a broad spectrum of disciplines, requiring students to develop well­defined programs to meet their particular interests. Environmental educators must remember that before confronting people with the grim realities of environmental problems, it is best to provide them with opportunities to experience the joy and beauty of the natural world. Responsible stewardship occurs when people develop an appreciation for the complex and diverse life forms that inhabit the Earth.


Required Courses

(16-course minimum; 8 UD minimum) (LD = Lower Division; UD = Upper Division)

Core Courses

  • Concepts of Ecology (LD) or Natural History and Ecology of the Southwest (LD)
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Education (LD)
  • Senior Project (UD)

Recommended Distribution Courses

Life and Environmental Sciences (select at least one course)

  • Adventure Education: Environmental Topics in Adventure Education (UD)
  • Agroecology (LD/UD)
  • Alpine Ecology (UD)
  • Animal Behavior (UD)
  • Animal Biology (LD)
  • Behavior and Conservation of Mammals (UD)
  • Biological Principles (LD)
  • Botany (LD)
  • Coastal Ecology of the Gulf of California (LD/UD)
  • Conservation Biology (UD)
  • Ecology of Human Evolution (UD)
  • Ecology of Southwest Birds (UD)
  • Environmental Perspectives and Whitewater Rafting (LD/UD)
  • Field Ornithology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Human Ecology, Intro to (LD)
  • Marine Biology I, II (12) (LD/UD)
  • Organic Evolution (UD)
  • Ornithology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Soil Science, Introduction to (LD)
  • Systematics of Seed Plants (UD)
  • Tropical Biology: The Natural History of Costa Rica (UD)
  • Wetland Ecology and Management (UD)

Earth and Physical Sciences (select at least one course)

  • Earth Science, Introduction to (LD)
  • Geologic Evolution of the Southwest (LD)
  • Geology of Arizona (LD)
  • Geomorphology, Topics in (UD)
  • Global Environmental Change (LD/UD)
  • Foundations of General Chemistry (LD)
  • Oceanography (LD)
  • Soil Science, Introduction to (LD)
  • Weather and Climate (LD)

Social Systems (select at least one course)

  • Ecological Economics, Principles of (LD/UD)
  • Ecopsychology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Environmental Ethics (UD)
  • Environmental Policy, Topics in (UD)
  • Environmental Politics (UD)
  • Human Ecology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Integrating Social and Ecological Perspectives (UD)
  • Issues of Global Food Production (LD/UD)
  • Nature and Psyche (UD)
  • Nature’s Voice: Reading and Writing about Natural History (UD)
  • Philosophies of the Interpretive Naturalists (UD)

Personal Values (at least one class that demonstrates a clear understanding of Environmental Ethics related to Anthropocentrism, Biocentrism, and Ecocentrism)

  • Adventure Education: Environmental Topics in Adventure Education (UD)
  • Ecopsychology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Environmental Education Methods (UD)
  • Environmental Ethics (UD)
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Education (LD)
  • Philosophies of the Interpretative Naturalists (UD)

Education Courses (highly recommended or required*)

  • Curriculum Design (UD)
  • Environmental Education Methods (UD)*
  • Experiential Education (LD)
  • Foundations of Education (LD)
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Education (LD)*
  • Learning Theories (UD)
  • Multicultural Education (UD)
  • Special Topics in Environmental Education (UD)

Place-based Courses (select at least one course)

  • Agroecosystems of the Arid Southwest (UD)
  • Coastal Ecology of the Gulf of California (UD)
  • Environmental Perspectives and Whitewater Rafting (LD/UD)
  • Explorations of Norway: Nature and Culture (LD/UD)
  • Sea Kayaking and Marine Landscapes (LD)
  • Summer Studies in Alaska: Contemporary Issues (UD)
  • Summer Studies in Alaska: Natural History of Alaska (LD)
  • Summer Studies in Alaska: Topics in Geography: Alaska (UD)
  • Wilderness Explorations and Landscape Studies (3 courses; 12 credits) (LD/UD)

Sample Sequence of Courses for Environmental Education Emphasis

Year 1: Concepts of Ecology, Fundamentals of Environmental Education, Biological Principles, Human Ecology

Year 2: Environmental Perspectives and Whitewater Rafting, Earth Science, Experiential Education, Multi-cultural Education

Year 3: Philosophies of the Interpretative Naturalists, Environmental Education Methods, Learning Theories, Ecopsychology

Year 4: Special Topics in Environmental Education, Ecological Design, Weather and Climate, Senior Project


See All >

  • Emily Rolando

    Emily graduated with a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in leadership and outdoor programming. She holds a minor in business. After ...    Learn more >

  • Wanda Peters 1980

    Do what you are passionate about, take the time to figure out what gives you the most joy and satisfaction, and do work that is in line with what ...    Learn more >

  • Josephine Arader

    Josephine Arader, no doubt, took inspiration from her father Graham's devotion to the art of the natural world. ...    Learn more >

  • Dillon Metcalfe (Kelly Megan Stack Scholarship Recipient)

    Kelly Megan Stack Scholar, Dillon Metcalfe finished high school in2004 and decided to take a break to examine his interests in and ...    Learn more >

  • David Meeks

    Several years ago David and his siblings visited the Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies on the Gulf Coast of ...    Learn more >

Bookmark and Share