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environmental ethics

School of Humanities and Global Studies Philosophy: Environmental Ethics Degree



Environmental ethics explores questions concerning the values, beliefs and attitudes that influence how people relate to the environment.  We train students to navigate diverse perspectives skillfully, to reflect on the ethics of these perspectives, and to communicate clearly and persuasively about environmental issues. Graduates with this major find employment in the nonprofit sector working for environmental advocacy, conservation, sustainable food systems, alternative energy, and environmental education.

Environmental Ethics at UWSP has a proud history, as one of the oldest such programs in the nation. The first course in Environmental Ethics offered anywhere was offered here at UW-Stevens Point, in 1971.  The enormity of environmental concerns and the need for an ethical response to those issues has resulted in the rapid spread of the environmental ethics concept.

Why Study Environmental Ethics at UW-Stevens Point?

Our students benefit from deep knowledge in the field of environmental ethics. Our program is the oldest in the UW system. Students may pursue a bachelor’s of science or bachelor’s of arts major in Philosophy with an Emphasis in Environmental Ethics. They can find employment in the nonprofit sector working for environmental advocacy, conservation, sustainable food systems, alternative energy, and environmental education.

Alumni Voices

Philosophy helped them carve a path to fulfilling careers. UWSP Department of Philosophy alum from 1994- 2019 share their graduate stories!

Scholarships in Philosophy

The Philosophy Department has scholarships to currently enrolled students. Students are notified of available scholarships in class and via email at the beginning of the spring semester. In April, and after scholarships have been awarded, students, parents, family members, and faculty come together to honor awardees at our Annual Department Awards Ceremony.

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Students in Philosophy with Environmental Ethics take a core of Philosophy classes in critical thinking, ethics, and the history of Philosophy, along with focused classes in Environmental Ethics and a senior seminar. A selection of interdisciplinary courses from Natural Resources and other disciplines also are included in the electives for this major. Most of the classes in the major are small and discussion-focused, stressing independent thinking and active learning.  

Students with a major in Philosophy with an emphasis in Environmental Ethics train in the skills employers are looking for including critical thinking, advanced writing and research, and clear argumentation.

Students with outstanding original work have the opportunity to present their research at the College of Letters and Science Undergraduate Research Symposium, held each spring. Internships and creative experiential learning opportunities give majors hands on experience in professional settings. 


Philosophy students are active in many student organizations, including the Student Government Association, and are frequently included in the ranks of the Chancellor’s Albertson Student Leadership Award winners.

The Philosophy Club of UWSP is a student organization dedicated to promoting and maintaining a mature and professional environment for students interested in the field of philosophy and philosophical discussion. Regular activities include student facilitated conversations about controversial and topical issues. Faculty also attend some meetings to share some of their own work with students. The club welcomes all students. For further information, please contact the faculty advisor to the Philosophy Club, Jason Zinser.

Phi Sigma Tau is the international honor society for the study of philosophy. The purpose of Phi Sigma Tau is to cultivate interest in philosophy among students and to celebrate high achievement in the study of philosophy. Phi Sigma Tau publishes a journal, Dialogue, for student contributions in all areas of contemporary philosophical research. For further information, please contact the faculty advisor to Phi Sigma Tau, Jason Zinser.

More opportunities can be found on the Stevens Point Involvement Network (SPIN).

“Specializing in environmental ethics particularly excited me. Since most of the developments in this specialty have occurred since the 20th Century, the coursework couldn’t have felt more current (or more relevant, considering the environmental challenges our generation is facing). Plus, Professor Diehm’s enthusiasm for the subject is so infectious. He really has a knack for breaking down and explaining complex philosophical concepts.”
Michael Dooer2017 Major – Philosophy with Environmental Ethics


UW-Stevens Point philosophy faculty ensure students read carefully, think critically, communicate effectively and participate meaningfully in environments characterized by cultural, religious and philosophical diversity.
Chris Diehm

Chris Diehm

  • Professor
  • Department Chair in Philosophy
  • Environmental Ethics Program Coordinator
  • Environmental Studies Program Co-Coordinator

Jason Zinser

  • Associate Professor

Luke Whitmore

  • Professor