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From the Director

Welcome to Vanderbilt’s Climate and Environmental Studies Program! We are home to a unique, new, innovative major in climate studies and a minor in environmental and sustainability studies.

The climate studies major goes beyond a traditional science focus found at many universities to provide an integrated approach that includes perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, with options to take courses in other Vanderbilt schools as well. We believe that climate change is one of the defining crises of our time, and solutions in any field—research, business, the government, and nonprofits—require teams of people who can work and communicate across different areas of expertise. We provide you with knowledge and experience to do that, and we have also designed the major to be flexible so that you can develop an area of disciplinary expertise as well.

Our undergraduate alumni have followed diverse career paths. Not all go into environmental or “green” jobs, but often they bring this knowledge and expertise into organizations that have sustainability and climate adaptation initiatives. Careers include environmental work in communication, law, business, nonprofits, the arts, and research.  Please take a look at some of our alumni stories.

As with our major and minor, our faculty represent a wide range of disciplines and include courses and options in other Vanderbilt schools. Vanderbilt has a strong interdisciplinary culture in the environmental area, with a history of successful cross-school collaborations. These collaborations also provide opportunities for research experiences for undergraduates in the program and for community engagement in projects both in the Nashville area and throughout the world.

I invite you to learn more about our interdisciplinary, unique, and innovative program. Please contact us if you have any questions.


David J. Hess
Program Director
Professor of Sociology