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UNC Earth and Environmental Network

The UNC Earth and Environmental Network (UNCEEN) is a collaborative effort between Environmental related programs at the University of Northern Colorado. These programs provide education, training, engagement, professional development, outreach, and community building for those interested in different aspects of our understanding and interaction with the physical and biological world.

Students in our Earth and Environmental Network programs are united by their passion for the environment. Christopher Uhl, a biology professor at Penn State who brought Sustainability to the forefront of Higher Education concerns, described his work as making the invisible visible1. Each of our programs develop student understanding and scholarship for our environment and resource use, from the structure and processes of our natural world in Biology or Earth Sciences majors, to how humans use and impact the world today in Environmental Studies,  Economics, or Geography majors, to our historic use of resources in Anthropology. 

geology course

Our Mission 

Our mission is to help students connect with and understand the range of environmental programs at UNC. To that end, we've launched a series of social media and networking pages. We encourage students to join and spread the word among environmental colleagues. We'll be posting jobs, internships, workshops, events, and information that we think you may find interesting. We also encourage you to ask questions and provide feedback to each other as you navigate your academic and professional careers.


1 Uhl, Christopher. "Process and practice: creating the sustainable university." Sustainability on campus: Stories and strategies for change (2004): 29-47

How do I find the right major for me?

At UNC, there are several academic tracks to prepare students for environmental careers, because there are many disciplines involved in the science, policy, management, and evaluation of our understanding and use of natural resources.

We have two pathways to finding the right program for you, based on your priorities or passions. Once you narrow your focus, compare the coursework of those programs and chat with faculty if you are seeking more information. 

Option 1: Place your priorities

Many of our programs combine aspects of different fields, as shown by this diagram. Perhaps placing your priorities inside this Venn diagram will help you choose the correct academic path; that is, the path that will lead you to your dream career.

For example, if you are interested in research regarding human impacts and environmental systems, biology or earth sciences focus on scientific knowledge and geography or environmental studies investigates the interaction of humans and environmental systems.

However, if you are interested in being a part of policy decisions, conflict resolution, or communications, the Environmental Studies major, Scientific Communication minor, or Parks & Recreation Program may be a better fit.

priorities in environmental work

Option 2: Follow your passion

Many students tell us that their decisions are driven by their passion for the Earth and the Environment. Complete the sentence "I love the earth and..." with the options below to find your path:

I want to contribute to our understanding of our natural world...

with a focus on living things like plants, animals, ecosystems and evolution.

with a focus on earth systems like air, water, climate and geology.

and have a strong interest in finding practical solutions to society’s most pressing challenges.

I want to contribute to our understanding of society and decision making...

with a focus on markets, ownership, use, and exchange of scarce resources.

with a focus on integrating policy, economics, human behavior and environmental systems.

I want to help educate and share my passion for the environment with others...

Check out our programs with secondary education emphases:

I love cultural ecology, digging in the dirt, investigating prehistory and the ancient environment...

with a focus on understanding paleoecology, human prehistory, cultural ecology, and the collapse of civilizations.

  • Check out an anthropology major with an emphasis on how modern cultures interact with the environment, the archaeology of ancient civilizations, or reconstructing the environment of human ancestors in the Department of Anthropology

Our Programs

There are ten major areas of study at UNC that fall under the Earth and Environmental network in multiple colleges across our campus. For more information about the network, contact Dr. Romulo in the Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability or Dr. Sharon Bywater-Reyes in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

  • B.A. in Anthropology

    The mission of the Department of Anthropology is to offer a comprehensive and coherent undergraduate program in which students gain theoretical and methodological understanding of anthropology's many sub-fields, including cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, medical and applied anthropology. Anthropology offers a unique understanding of cultural processes and cultural contact, both past and present.  Anthropology students learn to understand human behavior and how and why it changes over time. This understanding is put to good use in community and civic engagement projects, both locally and abroad. Students of anthropology develop thinking and research skills that dovetail with all academic and professional fields. Students with bachelor's degrees in anthropology find employment in international development, museums, social services, public health, ethno-tourism, historic preservation, cultural resource management, and many other areas in the public and private sectors.

    More about Anthropology

  • B.S. in Biological Sciences: Ecology & Evolution Emphasis

    The School of Biological Sciences’ Ecology and Evolution emphasis trains students for careers in biological consulting, resource management, plant biology, animal biology and more. This program features core courses that span biological disciplines, plus flexible supporting coursework from related fields. It emphasizes research skills, scientific understanding, and critical thinking. Eco/Evo graduates go on to careers in wildlife, forestry, federal agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, biological consulting firms, zoos and aquariums. Students will be well prepared for graduate study in basic and applied science fields.  

    More about Ecology and Evolution Emphasis

  • B.S. in Earth Sciences: Environmental Science Emphasis

    For those interested in environmental science careers, the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department offers a BS in Earth Science with an emphasis in Environmental Science. This program offers a strong physical science foundation with flexibility to build additional expertise in any branch of environmental coursework across. Environmental majors go on to work in fields including water resource management, land management, environmental monitoring and remediation, or restoration. Graduates work in environmental consulting, municipal and state environmental compliance, land management, and environmental education. Students will be well prepared for physical science-based graduate programs.

    More about the Environmental Science Emphasis

  • B.S. in Earth Sciences: Geology Emphasis

    For those interested in environmental science careers, the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department offers a BS in Earth Science with an emphasis in Geology. This program offers a strong physical science foundation with course options in earth materials, resource extraction, and environmental safety. Geology majors go on to work in fields including resource extraction and management as well as site remediation and environmental monitoring. Graduates work in environmental consulting, municipal and state environmental compliance, land management, and earth science education. Students will be well prepared for physical science-based graduate programs.

    More about the Geology Emphasis

  • B.S. in Earth Sciences: Meteorology Emphasis

    For those interested in environmental science careers, the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department offers a BS in Earth Science with an emphasis in meteorology. This program offers a strong physical science foundation with course options in meteorology and hydrologic predictions. Meteorology majors go on to work in fields including weather forecasting and government and environmental monitoring. Graduates work for monitoring networks, government agencies, and private firms. Students will be well prepared for physical science-based graduate programs.

    More about the Meteorology Emphasis

  • B.S. in Earth Sciences: Secondary Education Emphasis

    For those interested in environmental science careers, the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department offers a BS in Earth Science with an emphasis in Secondary Education. Graduates of this program are prepared to teach earth science in grades 7-12 and will have satisfied all the requirements to receive Secondary Science/Earth Science Licensure from the Colorado Department of Education. Secondary Education is an excellent major for students planning careers in education.

    More about the Secondary Education Emphasis

  • B.A. in Economics: Environmental Economics Emphasis

    For those interested in linkages between social, economic, and environmental systems, the degree in Economics with an Environmental Economics emphasis from the Economics Department at UNC offers a means to master economic fundamentals, explore how economic decisions affect the environment, and assess ways in which environmental quality and natural resource characteristics influence the economy, human health, and social well-being. The program provides a strong foundation in economic concepts and analysis, plus a wide array of upper-level electives addressing topics such as water, energy, pollution, natural resources, agriculture, and the relation between markets, capitalism, and sustainability. This degree provides excellent training for students interested in employment in the private (e.g., consulting), public (e.g., federal, state and local government), and nonprofit (e.g., research or advocacy) sectors. Current UNC faculty in environmental economics have experience working in all three of these sectors in addition to academia. Recent UNC alumni in environmental economics have gone on to pursue graduate training at institutions such as Colorado State University and the University of Denver.

    More about Environmental Economics

  • B.A. in Environmental and Sustainability Studies

    For those interested in the intersection between science, policy, and sustainability, the Environmental and Sustainability Studies major in the Department of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability at UNC offers an interdisciplinary BA focusing on human impacts and interactions with the environment. Course topics include the social, political, economic, and physical aspects of environmental management and sustainability. ENST majors may go on to work in government or nonprofit sectors addressing environmental and sustainability policy or restoration. Graduates from this program also work as sustainability coordinators in schools, breweries, cities, and businesses. Students will be well prepared for policy-based or social science graduate programs.

    More about Environmental & Sustainability Studies

  • B.A. in Geography

    Geographers analyze environmental issues using the concepts of social and natural sciences and the technologies of geographic information science (GIS). UNC’s Geography program includes three major emphasis areas: Global and Area Studies, GIS, and Secondary Education. Core courses in each enable students to appreciate and analyze the complex social and natural processes affecting the environment. The Global and Area Studies emphasis explores environmental concerns in different local and global settings, often through direct field study. Students with a GIS emphasis receive more intensive training in geospatial data analysis, including remote sensing and web mapping. Geography majors can also choose the Secondary Teaching emphasis, leading to licensure to teach social studies in grades 7-12. There are also minors in both Geography and GIS. Geography graduates work in dozens of fields, including urban and regional planning, resource management, transport and utility planning, parks and tourism, market analysis, and teaching. GIS skills are in high demand, used in an ever-growing array of industries as geospatial data becomes widespread. Graduates with a Geography B.A. are well equipped for graduate work in planning, geography, GIS, and other social and natural sciences.

     More about Geography 

  • B.S. in Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality: Parks & Recreation Concentration

    UNC’s undergraduate Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality program develops well-educated citizens who provide healthy leisure and recreation experiences at the state, regional and national levels in order to improve quality of life, provide leadership and service to communities, and contribute to the advancement of the profession. A major in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality leads to employment with agencies in the public, private, and non-profit sector with individuals of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Starting salaries are comparable to those of teachers yet vary with the nature of the setting and economic demands. The major is designed to assist the student in acquiring practical skills and employment connections and networks.

    More about Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality


Career Readiness

This network is a way for students to connect with and understand our environmental programs at UNC. To that end, we've launched a series of social media and networking pages and encourage you to join and add your environmental major and minor colleagues. We'll be posting jobs, internships, workshops, events, and information that we think you may find interesting. We also encourage you to ask questions and provide feedback to each other as you navigate your academic and professional careers.   

If you are a current student or alumni, the Career Service's staff can assist you with...

Lauryn research Wrens (a type of bird) in the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Maybe You're One of Us

Here, you're an individual with your own unique mix of interests — and our differences are what we have in common.

  • #birds
  • #teaching
  • #womeninstem

Learn about Lauryn and meet more UNC Bears.