The Western Michigan University Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IES), housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, is located in Wood Hall on WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We provide educational opportunities to approximately 200 majors and 50 minors in the following programs:

  • Environmental and Sustainability Studies (major and minor)
  •  Freshwater Science and Sustainability (major)
  •  Sustainable Brewing (major)
And we support an additional interdisciplinary minor
  •  Climate Change Studies minor


The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IES) curriculum emphasizes multidisciplinary, integrative, and transformative approaches to environmental knowledge, literacy, and sustainability. Our students will acquire essential disciplinary knowledge about environmental issues in the following realms: 

1) environmental humanities, which explore cultural forces that affect resource use and social systems 

2) natural sciences, which provides students with hands-on field and lab experience and connecting concepts of ecosystem studies to a changing climate

3) social sciences, which examine social, economic, and political systems that determine human-ecological interactions

Our students will be able to evaluate and analyze environmental evidence in the field, laboratory, and classroom, synthesize existing tools, techniques, and knowledge, and effectively communicate their ideas and understanding in various forms

Our students will be bold, curious, and creative environmental citizens and stewards who seek just and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems

Our curriculum is designed to create a wide and deep understanding of resiliency, adaptability, and sustainability, and promote them as personal qualities that our graduates will apply in their future professional roles in one of many environmentally-related careers


  •  We were among the first Environmental Studies programs in the country, having started in 1972
  •  All of our programs and courses are highly interdisciplinary and integrate knowledge and perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and sciences
  •  Our Environmental and Sustainability Studies major is a required dual major. Students pair knowledge of environment and sustainability with a wide diversity of other disciplines (over 35 majors, including programs in almost every College at WMU)
  •  Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty pursue research and creative activities in diverse fields, including biology, chemistry, comparative religion, environmental history, geosciences, poetry and creative writing, and political science
  •  Many of our faculty and students are actively engaged in working towards a sustainable future, on campus, and in our broader community