Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Environmental Studies

Rock Creek Campus, Building 7, room 202 | 971-722-7255 | Faculty


Class of students listening to instructor in marsh

Why choose Environmental Studies at PCC?

Are you interested in environmental issues and sustainability?? Environmental studies is a “problem solving” discipline, addressing such topics as climate change, endangered species, environmental justice, pollution, and ecosystem services. Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary field, incorporating social sciences, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and geology to understand the interactions between humans and the natural world.

Coursework for majors gives students real, hands-on experience with environmental field work and analysis using local resources such as the Rock Creek Environmental Studies Center (RCESC). The RCESC includes 110 acres of habitat, including upland Douglas-fir forest, ash-forested wetland, Oregon white oak woodland, emergent wetlands, a pond, and access to Rock Creek. These courses introduce students to local environmental professionals, introduce environmental law and policy, and provide opportunities to monitor and restore local ecosystems.

Degrees and certificates

Degrees and certificates by number of terms to complete
Award Length Financial aid eligible Currently accepting students?
University transfer 2 years at PCC + 2 years at university

What will you learn?

Students planning to major in Environmental Studies should begin with required core courses: ESR 150: Orientation to Environmental Studies and ESR 200: Introduction to Environmental Systems.

Other courses for majors include:

  • ESR 201: Science and policy
  • ESR 202: Applied problem-solving
  • ESR 204: Environmental restoration

Courses for non-majors include environmental topics such as:

  • ESR 140 and 141: Sustainability
  • ESR 171: Biological perspectives
  • ESR 172: Chemical perspectives
  • ESR 173: Geological perspectives

Want to deepen your knowledge? Consider the Sustainability focus award.

What will you do?

A background in Environmental Studies provides the knowledge and skills to help inform critical decisions about earth’s ecosystems and the communities they support. Environmental Studies is important to a broad array of disciplines, from architecture to law to public health. Recent estimates show a growing demand in governmental, commercial, and industrial employment for professionals whose qualifications include environmental analytical skills.

Interested in learning more about what you can do with a degree in environmental science or environmental studies? Check out this PSU website: What can I do with a degree in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science?

Degree options for PCC students

PCC doesn’t offer a degree in this subject, but all ESR classes will transfer to a four-year school. If you plan to transfer to a university and major in environmental sciences or environmental studies, you can complete your first two years of required coursework at PCC. The PCC Environmental Studies program has been designed to align with the Environmental Science and Management program at Portland State University. Students have also successfully transferred to other programs in Oregon such as Oregon State University and Pacific University.

Next steps

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