Economic Study of Environmental & Natural Resources

A combined major in economics and environmental studies is available to students having a strong interest in the economic aspects of environmental studies and natural resources. The curriculum has been developed to provide a broad area of study in the economic choices involved in how we interact with natural systems.

Detailed Program of Study

Students watching as a professor writes population dynamics equations on a whiteboard

Why Economics & Environmental Studies?

Jointly offered by the Department of Economics, College of Business and Economics, and the Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment, this major is tailored for those who wish to apply the optimal resource allocation principle to environmental applications by building a strong foundation in both economics and environmental studies.

Questions examined in environmental economics include efficient resource use, preservation of wilderness and biological diversity, local and regional air pollution, global climate change, and treatment of toxic substances. You will learn how to use economic principles to understand the causes of environmental problems and identify potential remedies.

Environmental studies draws on basic knowledge of how natural systems work and works towards solving problems created largely by human activities. In addition to the study of the natural environment, a study of laws and policy related to the environment provides a foundation for solving environmental problems.

An increasingly dynamic career area for economists has been in environmental business and management, sometimes referred to as sustainability, in which economists are involved in planning and forecasting, production and market analysis, pricing, and government policy analysis. 

For more information please see a video made by the American Economics Association:  "A Career in Economics...it's Much More Than You Think" 

Plan Your Course of Study

For the complete information on the requirements see the Economics/Environmental Studies, BA from the university online catalog.

Please download and read carefully the Economics/Environmental Studies 2021-22 Plan of Study/Advising Form. This includes a flowchart for the required courses and will also serve as your planned course schedule when submitting your paperwork for your senior evaluation for graduation. Your faculty advisors and department managers are here to help you create a plan of study or to confirm that you are on the correct path to reach your goals.  Schedule an appointment by email or stop by during office hours.

Completion of the foundation courses are required to declare to College of the Environment.

Course List

  • ENVS 203 - Physical Geography
  • ENVS 303 - Introduction to Environmental Studies I: Human Ecology and Ethics
  • ENVS 305 - Introduction to Environmental Studies II: History and Policy
  • One ESCI course, 200-400 level (4-credit minimum)
  • One upper-division natural science course at the 300-400 level (3 credit minimum)

The one upper-division natural science course can be an ESCI course, additional approved natural science course in ENVS, or can be from any other science department. Students should be aware of prerequisites in other science departments.

  • One course from:
    • MATH 114 - Precalculus I QSR GUR or
    • MATH 156 - Algebra With Applications to Business and Economics QSR GUR

Note

If you declared prior to Fall 2017 please follow the university catalog of study for that year. The listed requirements are for the current 2019-20 catalog information.

If you declared prior to Fall 2017 please follow the university catalog of study for that year. The listed requirements are for the current 2019-20 catalog information.

visualization of the courses, described in text form in the university catalog as linked on this page

The required courses build a strong nucleus of economic and environmental theory and should be completed by one's junior year. One course with a Communication Focus - Economics (CF-E) or Communications Focus (CF) as well as a minimum of three Writing Proficiency (WP-3) points are required. The CF-E (or CF) course must be taken within CBE, while the WP requirement can be met with courses from any of the combined major departments. These requirements can be met as part of required or elective courses. Students often complete courses that are equivalent to Math 124 or Math 157. If you believe that you have completed an equivalent course, see the Academic Department Manager for an equivalency evaluation.

Course List

ECON 206 - Introduction to Microeconomics SSC GUR

ECON 207 - Introduction to Macroeconomics SSC GUR

One course from:

  • MATH 124 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
  • MATH 134 - Calculus I Honors
  • MATH 138 - Accelerated Calculus
  • MATH 157 - Calculus With Applications to Business and Economics
  • Or AP Calculus Exam with Score of 3 or better

 

ECON 303 - The History of Economic Thought

ECON 306 - Intermediate Microeconomics

ECON 307 - Intermediate Macroeconomics

ECON 383 - Environmental Economics

ECON 384 - Energy Economics also listed as ENRG 384

ECON 483 - Resource Economics

One course from:

  • ECON 375 - Introduction to Econometrics
  • ECON 482 - Advanced Topics in Environmental Economics
  • ECON 484 - Economics of Alternative Energy

One course from:

  • ENVS 355 - Environmental Law and Policy
  • UEPP 355 - Environmental Law and Policy

ENVS 450 - Science in the Policy Process

One course from:

  • DSCI 205 - Business Statistics
  • MATH 240 - Introduction to Statistics QSR GUR
  • MATH 341 - Probability and Statistical Inference

One course from:

  • ENVS 340 - Developing World
  • ENVS 342 - Geography of the World Economy

One course from:

  • ENVS 493 - Environmental Impact Assessment
  • ESCI 493 - Environmental Impact Assessment

 

Flowchart for econ courses, which is described in text form in the university catalog as linked on this page

 

As an economics and environmental studies major you have the freedom to choose your electives as follows:

Electives under advisement (15-18 credits)

Take one Communication Focus - Economics (CF-E) or a Communication Focus (CF) course within the College of Business and Economics, and a minimum of three writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing proficiency courses (WP-3 points) at WWU with a minimum grade of C-. The WP requirement can be met with courses from any of the combined major departments. These requirements can be completed as part of the above required and elective credits. Consult the Timetable of Classes for the specific course sections that fulfill the CF-E/CF and WP requirements.

Note: ECON 309, 446 or 447 may not be counted towards this major.