Environmental Studies

If you like hands-on learning, Dordt’s environmental studies major is for you.

As an environmental studies major, you’ll put your classroom knowledge into action by visiting wildlife refuges, touring wind farms, helping to care for our 20-acre prairie, and conducting research with your professors.

Dordt’s environmental studies program will challenge you to obey God’s call to be stewards of his world in both your life and your work. The earth is the Lord’s—he knows it intimately, lovingly sustains it, and delights in the praise that his creation offers; Dordt’s program is founded on this truth.



Program Options

Past students designed a restoration plan for a tall grass prairie on campus and current students learn from and help manage our 20-acre prairie. The Wilderness Club, a student-led organization, provides opportunities to enjoy the creation and live as Christian environmental stewards.

You'll do directed research to apply your knowledge and skills in a concrete project, participate in an internship, or enroll in an off-campus class. In the capstone Restoration Ecology and Applied Stewardship course, you'll put what you've learned into practice in a project that addresses an environmental challenge or opportunity.

Environmental science emphasis includes:

  • Foundational environmental studies, biology, and chemistry courses to lay the scientific groundwork for further study.
  • Wildlife Ecology and Stewardship, Avian Biology and Conservation, Meteorology, and Geology courses.
  • Economics of Natural Resources and social science courses to understand the context of environmental issues.

Natural resources emphasis includes:

  • Foundational environmental studies, biology, and chemistry courses in preparation for further study.
  • Restoration Ecology, Flora of North America, Wildlife Ecology and Stewardship, Avian Biology and Conservation courses.
  • Natural resources-related internship where you will gain real-world experiences.

Policy and management emphasis includes:

  • Foundational environmental studies, biology, and chemistry courses in preparation for further study.
  • Environment-related communication, organizational management, and law courses.
  • Contemporary Political Ideologies, Economic Development in Low Income Countries, and Advanced Public Address courses.


Classroom learning is supplemented by field trips, discussions, lectures, and conference attendance. You will visit national wildlife refuges, windfarms, fossil beds, and more, including Palisades State Park in South Dakota, Niobrara Valley Preserve in Nebraska, and local prairie reserves and riparian forests along the Big and Little Sioux rivers.

Off-campus opportunitiesAs an environmental studies major, you are encouraged to spend a semester studying off-campus. Many students attend the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies during the summer, where they join students and instructors from other Christian colleges in hands-on study of forests, streams, marine organisms, and other parts of God's world. Au Sable offers course and field work in Michigan, Washington, and South India. 

Other opportunities include:

  • Latin American Studies Program in Costa Rica
  • Chicago Semester Program
  • American Studies Program in Washington, D.C.
  • Creation Care Studies Program in Belize and New Zealand

The environmental studies department and the career services office also maintain files on summer internship opportunities.


You'll have access to:

  • One lab in the Science and Technology Center dedicated to environmental studies.
  • A variety of biology, chemistry, and agriculture laboratories.
  • A wide-array of apparatus and equipment for field and laboratory work.
  • Computers in the environmental studies laboratory with specialized software, including a geographic information system.
  • The Agriculture Stewardship Center, which offers opportunities for class work and research.

Learn More

Check out our program strengths and get to know our facilities.

Dr. Robert De Haan

Dr. Robert De Haan
Professor of Environmental Studies
Department Chair

SB 2622
(712) 722-6220

Dr. Jeff Ploegstra

Dr. Jeff Ploegstra
Associate Professor of Biology

SB 2621
(712) 722-6280

Dr. Kevin Timmer

Dr. Kevin Timmer
Professor of Engineering

SB 2606
(712) 722-6290