Career Guidance


Environment and sustainability

Because of their broad background, graduates from Western Michigan University's environmental studies program may work in the commercial, private, government, educational and industrial sectors. Recent environmental studies graduates have entered the fields of:

  • Students working in a riverEnvironmental advocacy

  • Environmental-compliance management
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Higher education
  • K-12 education
  • Regional planning
  • Solid-waste management

Graduates may also qualify for many other fields. For instance, with the combination of an environmental studies major and a strong background in the natural sciences, a student can prepare for a career as a conservation/restoration biologist or naturalist. Becoming an environmental lobbyist, writer or government planner are just a few of the numerous options available.

Careers in the environment and sustainability

Graduate study

Full professional competence in many environmental fields requires study beyond the undergraduate level. The environmental studies program serves well as preparation for further study in natural resources management, environmental justice, conservation/restoration ecology, advocacy, law, urban planning and much more.

Sustainable brewing

In advanced courses, students will benefit from WMU faculty expertise in science and sustainability. Through a truly interdisciplinary curriculum built on partnerships and collaboration, students will graduate with a solid foundation in science and with problem solving skills that can be applied to a range of employment opportunities in the brewing industry, in supporting industries or in other food-related enterprises.

Internships and volunteer opportunities

Environment and sustainability

The Student Conservation Association, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1957, provides opportunities for high school and college students and others to undertake meaningful and educational volunteer service in national parks and monuments and public lands throughout the United States. Each year the SCA links nearly 3,000 volunteers from around the nation with public agencies needing help with research, maintenance and public education. The SCA is a great place to look for internship and research experiences for ENVS majors and minors. Most SCA volunteer programs are available only in the summer.

The National Council for Science and the Environment is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the scientific basis for environmental decision-making by bridging the gap between science and policy to catalyze solutions. Students may apply for internships through the environmental internship clearinghouse portal maintained by the NCSE as part of their Campus to Careers program.

Green Corps, a nonprofit organization founded in 1992, provides training and experience to young people interested in environmental advocacy, grassroots organizing and public policy. Green Corps graduates aspire to be among the leaders of the next generation to create a greener and more sustainable future for our communities and world. Interested individuals may apply to Green Corps' Field School for Environmental Organizing which offers paid positions as interns and trainees in environmental advocacy campaigns throughout the United States.

Sustainable brewing

The sustainable brewing program incorporates hands-on service learning in several ways to allow you to learn outside of the classroom, which can help shape your career plan, build your resume, expand your professional network and increase your chances of securing a job after graduation. An internship in the KVCC certificate program is followed by a capstone course at Western Michigan University where students work on an independent project to help solve a real-world issue facing breweries today.

Bells Production Rotational Development Program

Bells Brewery has established a new position for graduates of sustainable brewing to give valuable on-the-job experiences across multiple areas of production. The 2018 program consisted of a series of four three-month-long rotations in quality, packaging, brewing and brewing innovation with an overarching focus in safety and sustainability. Forthcoming program information is TBD.