Career Pathways

How can the minor be combined with other majors, and what career opportunities are there?

The minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies can be combined with almost any undergraduate major at Vanderbilt, and there are many possible career pathways.  We give some examples below. Salary information can be found on web sites such as

Law and policy. One prominent pathway is to pursue a career in environmental law and policy. Jobs include working in law firms, in government and regulatory positions, in elected offices, and on the staff of elected officials. Vanderbilt’s Law School has a strong group of environmental law and policy faculty, and there are events every semester that are open to undergraduates. If you contact Prof. Hess, he’ll add you to the list of undergraduates to get notifications for events. Pre-law students pursue a wide range of majors, often in social sciences such as economics, political science, public policy, and sociology. A major in a humanities field such as English and history can also provide a good background of analytical skills that are helpful for law school.

Business and management. Another prominent pathway is to work in environmental management in the private sector.  Many businesses, even if they are not in the green sector, have environmental management offices and sustainability initiatives. There are also green businesses, which need people in all areas of the enterprise, from marketing and personnel to finance and strategy. Green businesses are particularly prominent in the renewable energy, energy efficiency, food, recycling, transportation, and finance industries. Students often join Net Impact. LINK HERE:  Students pursuing a career in business and management frequently study economics, but majors in earth and environmental sciences, engineering, and leadership have also served to launch careers in the private sector.

Health. Another pathway is to work at the interface of environment and health. This career can go in the direction of the natural sciences, such as the study of toxicology, or toward public health careers such as an MPH degree. Majors in biology, chemistry, MHS, sociology (with a medical sociology concentration), and mathematics or statistics are a good basis for this career pathway.

Advocacy and education. Students interested in advocacy may end up in the nonprofit sector working for an environmental organization, or they may work in secondary or college education. Students pursuing environmental advocacy would do well to gain some technical skills in areas such as statistics, computer science, or GIS, and Vanderbilt has resources in all of these areas. Obviously, the Peabody School has great resources for students interested in an education career.