North Central College - Naperville, IL

Environmental Studies

Why choose environmental studies at North Central College?

You won’t just learn about going green—you’ll live green. This major’s rich curriculum includes biology, business, history, literature and philosophy coursework and plenty of opportunities to participate in North Central’s own sustainability efforts. Whether you want to save the planet or save money by conserving resources, environmental studies will enhance virtually any major and prepare you for a career in a government agency, private corporation, nonprofit organization or academic institution.

You can also:

  • Conduct field research at some of our partner institutions, including Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, or Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS.
  • Gain valuable hands-on experience through internships, study abroad opportunities and participation in the College’s sustainability efforts.


North Central College has moved forward on yet another major renewable energy project, becoming a leader in solar photovoltaic arrays among small colleges.
North Central joins Billion Dollar Green Challenge as part of its ongoing efforts to create an environmentally sustainable campus for the future of the school.
Four North Central College biology majors were part of an ongoing research project, studying marine ecosystems and conservation projects in the Bahamas.



  • Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL
  • Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
  • Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Naperville
  • Park Service, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks
  • The Shedd Aquarium, Chicago


  • Biologist/ecologist
  • Urban and regional planner
  • Sustainability coordinator
  • Teacher/environmental educator
  • Environmental lawyer
Biology, Environmental Studies minor

Kate followed her instincts when she chose North Central. “It fit all my criteria. It was a small school where I could pursue my many academic interests and run on a competitive cross country team.

She combined her major in biology with a minor in environmental studies and plans to study ecology or conservation genetics in graduate school.

“The humanities and social science classes I took for my minor gave me a broader outlook on environmental issues, which will help my career as a scientist to communicate with people involved in conservation policy.”

Among her favorite experiences was a course on desert ecology. Taken during D-Term, it included hiking through Arizona canyons and other...

Environmental Studies minor

When Stephanie Chennell came to North Central, she found that learning does not stop in the classroom.

“You can pursue your interests through campus organizations such as Green Scene,” Stephanie says. “In class, you learn all about the environment and what you can do to better the future, but Green Scene gives you the opportunity to put those thoughts into action.”

As a sophomore, Stephanie studied environmental issues at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

“Studying abroad opens your eyes in a way that can’t happen in a classroom and provides you an opportunity to get to know yourself on a completely different level,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie graduated from North Central in June...

Environmental Studies major

Jackie started out in business, but her focus shifted to the environment after taking a class that examined the relationship between the two subjects.

Armed with a new passion, she worked with her North Central advisor to develop an independent major in environmental studies. Before long, she was scheduling classes that aligned with her career goals, working a part-time job with the College’s sustainability coordinator and interning with SCARCE, a local nonprofit organization that supports environmental education.

“Life is all about finding a balance, and North Central offers a great balance between classroom learning and real-world experience,” Jackie says.

Jackie is president of...

Environmental Studies minor

With an environmental studies minor, Heidi was able to merge her philosophy major with her passion for nature.

“This was exactly the overlap I wanted,” she says. “The environmental studies minor requires many interesting humanities courses, such as environmental ethics and modern environmental issues.”

Heidi was awarded a Campus Ecology Fellowship through the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). She gained practical skills for the workforce—organizing projects, attending leadership workshops and discovering career opportunities. She says that the connections she formed at NWF will be vital after graduation.

“I now have a lasting relationship with a prominent environmental organization. The...

Environmental Studies minor

During her paid summer internship, Andrea measured the water quality of aquatic systems at the Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield, IL). She enjoyed supplementing the first-hand experience she gained during her North Central course work and field trips. “Because environmental issues are becoming more and more pressing, this is a valuable degree both professionally and personally,” she says. “It's not an established major yet, so students who want to declare it as a major design it themselves. They can focus on science, literature, history, policy, global studies—almost any discipline. I'm focusing on social issues.” What are Andrea’s plans for the future? The possibilities are endless. “Environmental studies can lead to...