Department of Environmental Sciences and Society

Department Chair: Evan Larson
Office: 254 Gardner Hall
Phone: 608.342.6139

Administrative Assistant: Marsha Weaver
Office: 249 Gardner Hall
Phone: 608.342.1793


Environmental science is a fundamental discipline that spans a range of academic subjects and careers, and its importance will only increase in the future as societies contend with increasingly complex issues surrounding environmental change, conservation, regulation, ethics, and resource management. The major will provide students with a scientific background in which they will learn to think critically and draw connections between the natural, social, and information sciences to engage the growing complexity of environmental issues. Through a dynamic curriculum that includes multiple experiential courses, scientific research, and opportunities to travel and study domestically and abroad, students will gain hands-on experience that will prepare them to immediately enter their preferred career field and/or pursue a graduate degree in which they are able to effectively address and solve current and future environmental problems.

If you have a passion for science and technology and see teaching in your future, the broad field science comprehensive program from the UW-Platteville Department of Environmental Sciences and Society will give you the skills you need to obtain your goals. The curriculum offers opportunities to build a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics. You’ll put theory into practice in our modern labs and gain hands-on experience with instruments that support faculty-student research activities. Plus, our nationally recognized internship and student teaching opportunities will make you a stand-out candidate to potential employers. The broad field science comprehensive major is designed to prepare students for natural sciences certification in grades 4 through 12. Students not interested in teaching should consult an academic advisor before selecting this major.


Certificate Programs

About the Department

You will study with faculty who are broadly trained in fields that include biogeography, climatology, environmental conservation, ethnography, fire ecology, GIS, paleoecology, political ecology, and social and environmental justice. Our faculty have conducted over $1.5 million in externally funded research during the past decade, most of which funded projects that supported undergraduate student research. We constantly strive to develop innovative approaches to teaching while maintaining firm foundational curricula and close mentoring partnerships with our students.

Our students explore the human and natural world through classroom, laboratory, and outdoor, hands-on experiences, as well as through individual research, internships, and attendance at professional conferences. If you like to travel, we offer multiple courses that will take you to destinations around the world. Our graduates experience high placement rates in their preferred career fields and/or graduate programs and are ideally suited to address some of the world’s most pressing problems such as global climate change, unanticipated or negative impacts of environmental and social policies, natural resource conservation and management, and sustainable development.

Our facilities are state-of-the-art and include over 2,500 square feet of dedicated undergraduate research space; newly renovated, spacious, and comfortable classrooms; access to modern technology, including a dedicated GIS lab with the latest geospatial software and databases; and a beautiful outdoor laboratory and classroom provided by our 400 acre campus grounds that encompass woodlands, streams, restored native prairie, and the geologically and ecologically unique Platte Mound (elevation ~1,500 feet).

Mission Statement

We will create a vibrant learning environment through the integration of high-impact practices in outdoor, classroom, and laboratory settings to provide an excellent comprehensive education to UW-Platteville students and inspire reflective, life-long learning and the ethical application of knowledge to enrich our students, region, state, and society. We will provide an exceptional education to our majors through individualized programs of study that incorporate project-based learning, critical reflection, transformative experiences, and a rigorous pursuit of knowledge that produces environmental and conservation leaders. We will embrace diversity and maintain a supportive departmental culture that promotes the professional development and growth of our students, staff, and faculty and helps form engaged, global citizens who work to make our world a better place.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  1. understand, define, and explain how scientific inquiry examines human and environmental systems from local to global scales;
  2. display fundamental environmental knowledge of our planet including the distribution of major physical features, natural systems, and cultural regions, their interactions, and the patterns and processes that create them;
  3. apply geographic techniques to examine spatial variation and diversity in environmental and human-built systems;
  4. collect, analyze, and effectively communicate scientific data to answer questions about the past, present, and future of the environment;
  5. articulate a thoughtful, creative, and ethical perspective to advance the sustainability of our world.

Faculty and Lecturers

Additional information about the Faculty and Lecturers below may be found in the Faculty and Academic Staff section of this catalog.

Dev, Laura

Dornak, L. Lynnette

Larson, Evan

Underwood, Christopher A.

Valiga, James