Program in the Environment

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All academic programs at UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. The Program in the Environment (PitE) is a collaborative effort overseen by LSA and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE). Its mission is to develop environmentally informed citizens and leaders through an undergraduate program that balances rigorous environmental studies in many disciplines, hones practical problem-solving skills, and fosters intellectual risk taking.

As a PitE concentrator, you will take courses in the natural and social sciences and the humanities, and gain an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental problems as well as specific social and natural science skills with which to solve them.

Related fields include Ecology, Geology, Biology, Law, Economics, Business, Urban Planning, Public Policy, Public Health, Psychology, Engineering, History, American Culture, Communications, Anthropology, and Museum Studies.


Technical / Research Skills

Developing questions for research
Creating hypotheses
Designing experiments
Modeling and projecting
Determining correct sample sizes
Collecting data
Determining statistical significance
Using A.R.C. / G.I.S.
Examining and quantifying data
Conducting statistical analysis
Correcting for error
Drawing valid, tested conclusions

Analytical / Problem-Solving Skills

Reading critically
Synthesizing information/concepts
Understanding socio / political / economic factors
Understanding demographics
Analyzing risks and cost-benefits
Dealing with error
Understanding correlations between factors

Project Development / Team Skills

Identifying a project
Identifying stakeholders/constituencies
Breaking big projects into smaller pieces
Understanding group dynamics
Understanding cultural differences
Being sensitive to different viewpoints and temperaments
Effective listening

Communication Skills

Justifying a position
Writing proposals and research reports
Designing effective visual aides
Explaining complex information to different audiences
Speaking clearly and persuasively
Understanding how to affect environmental change


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. PitE students participate in the Honors Symposium, the PitE Club, and environmental organizations on campus. Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment or volunteering in the community. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


PitE concentrators develop both general and technical skills applicable to a wide range of careers. For example, rigorous analytical skills will be equally useful whether working as a research scientist, an urban planner, or a watershed management specialist. Many PitE concentrators go on to graduate or professional school. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by PitE graduates.

Technical / Research Skills

Forester open book icongreen leaf icon
Park ranger green leaf icon
Horticultural specialist green leaf icon
Botanist open book icongreen leaf icon
Toxicologist open book icon
Climate change specialist green leaf icon
Occupational safety analyst
Lab assistant / research assistant / research scientist
GIS technician
Field scientist
Legislative staff assistant
Policy researcher

Analytical / Problem-Solving Skills

Environmental consultant green leaf icon
Architectural project assistant
Geologist open book icon
Anthropologist open book icon
Biologist open book icon
Epidemiologist open book icon
Physician open book icon
Veterinarian open book icon
Compliance officer green leaf icon
Corporate social responsibility officer green leaf icon
Sustainable development manager green leaf icon
Environmental economist open book icongreen leaf icon
Environmental lawyer open book icongreen leaf icon

Project Development / Team Skills

Environmental engineer open book icon
Non-profit director green leaf icon
Non-profit fundraiser green leaf icon
Recycling management coordinator green leaf icon
Curator open book icon
Event planner green leaf icon
Eco tour guide green leaf icon
Farmers’ market manager green leaf icon
Product purchasing manager green leaf icon
Landscape architect open book icon
Urban planner open book icongreen leaf icon

Communication Skills

K-12 teacher
College professor open book icon
Community organizer
Politician, federal, state, and local government
Journalist / environmental writer
Public relations manager
Nature center outreach coordinator

open book icon = Further Study Required
green leaf icon = Green Jobs

For more career information, see O*Net at


Prerequisites include introductory courses in biology, economics, math, geology, and the environment.  In addition, 32 credit hours in the core curriculum are required, including courses in ecology, statistics, natural science and social science. Finally, each concentrator will choose a three-course specialization, which can range from Water or Terrestrial Ecology, to Environmental Policy or Economics. Students are encouraged to design their own specialization.

To enhance the theory and concepts learned in the classroom with a real-world experience, practical experience is required of all concentrators — taking a residential field course at UM biological station, an internship with environmental focus, or study abroad. We also offer a 17-credit minor, open to LSA and non-LSA students alike.

Program in the Environment (PitE)
1120 Undergraduate Science Building
204 Washtenaw Ave.

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


For more on internships and career information for PitE students, see:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan