Earth, Society, & Environmental Sustainability

What Is It?:

Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (ESES) offers a unique, multidisciplinary program in which students will learn about the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social systems of the world; the implications of our actions on the environment; factors that determine the sustainability of human institutions, organizations, cultures, and technologies; finding solutions through innovative approaches; and expanding future options by practicing environmental stewardship. Following the classical definition of sustainability, the aim is to develop citizens, businesses, and societies that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

For more information, please visit the School of Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainabilty


  • Science of the Earth System: a rigorous scientific program in the geophysical and ecological sciences focused on the complexity and interactions of natural systems.
  • Society and the Environment: a balanced cross-disciplinary social science/humanities education, emphasizing the political, socio-cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of sustainability. 

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • ATMOS 100—Introduction to Meteorology
  • ATMS 120—Severe & Hazardous Weather
  • ATMS 140—Climate & Global Change
  • GEOG 102—Weather & Climate
  • GEOG 103—Earth’s Physical Systems
  • GEOL 100—Planet Earth
  • GEOL 107—Physical Geology

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

Possible Career Opportunities:


  • Congressional Lobbyist
  • Environmental advocacy groups
  • Non-government organizations


  • K-12 teaching and education
  • State and federal programs for environmental literacy


  • Corporate activities and investments
  • Environmental practices
  • Social practices and impacts

Work at a local (i.e. Urban Planning) or state agency (i.e. Department of Natural Resources)

  • Gathering and processing data
  • Monitoring environmental conditions
  • Performing outreach tasks in education

Work for a federal agency (i.e. EPA, NASA, USDA)

  • Foreign diplomacy through the state department
  • Gathering and processing data
  • Monitoring environmental conditions
  • Performing outreach tasks in education
  • Report to policy makers

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Agricultural Broker
  • Agricultural Chemical Sales Representative
  • Agricultural Consultant
  • Agricultural Economist
  • Environmental Communications Expert
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Environmental Legislative Liaison
  • Environmental Manager
  • Environmental Planner
  • Environmental Policy Analyst
  • Environmental Researcher
  • Environmental Specialist
  • Farm Appraiser
  • Farm Realtor
  • Landscaping Consultant
  • Nursery Owner
  • Quality Control Specialist

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSOrelated to this major, such as:
    • Students for Enviromental Concerns: educates and informs students and community members about environmental issues and works towards positive environmental change on a national, statewide, and local level
    • Eco Illini Supermileage Vehicle Team: designs and fabricates a highly fuel efficient car to compete annually in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas Competition

Related Skills:

  • Analyze data
  • Communication
  • Data collection
  • Plan investigations
  • Teamwork
  • Understand and interpret information including quantitative data

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability.  These organizations include Ecological Society of America, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and National Council for Science and the Environment.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability, visit Undergraduate Programs.