Environmental Justice

Equity and justice play an integral role in environmental affairs, yet remain elusive in our legal, economic, and ecological systems. When we recognize the interconnectedness of social and biophysical factors, we expand our potential to advance both sustainability and human rights.

At SEAS, Environmental Justice students and researchers examine how and why inequalities arise and are maintained around the world. We tackle global issues like climate vulnerability and adaptation; environmental workforce dynamics; environmental health; energy transitions; agricultural change; food security; forest governance; hazard exposure; community revitalization; conservation and access to natural areas; as well as conflict mediation, management of non-governmental organizations, advocacy campaigns, public opinion, and more.

Our Environmental Justice faculty is at the forefront the field’s teaching, research, scholarship, and activism. SEAS was the first school in the U.S. to launch an Environmental Justice program that offered undergraduate and graduate degree specializations, and our campus is now home to one of the largest clusters of the field’s faculty and students nationwide.


As an Environmental Justice student in SEAS, you will develop a broad understanding of the historical and contemporary factors that shape environmental policymaking and the emergence of environmental justice movements around the world, including the mechanisms that give rise to class, gender, racial, and other types of disparities. You also will investigate the causes and consequences of inequitable distributions of environmental benefits and hazards.

This program is truly interdisciplinary, blending coursework from U-M’s schools of Public Health, Public Policy, and Urban Planning, and encouraging electives in law, sociology, and political science. Topics of study include pollution, exposure to hazardous waste, poverty, urban affairs, spatial analyses, climate change, biodiversity conservation, common-pool resources, food security, social movement dynamics, water policy, public health, overconsumption, conscientious consumerism, institutional design, and business and environment.

Course Sampling

Certificate Program

The University of Michigan has a long-standing commitment to the academic study of Environmental Justice. It is the site of the first environmental justice curriculum of any university in the nation. The objectives of the Environmental Justice Certificate are to provide fundamental skills and knowledge; methods and applications of Environmental Justice to enhance the education of students from a wide range of relevant disciplines at the University of Michigan. Click here to learn more about the EJ certificate program.


As an Environmental Justice graduate, you can leverage your knowledge and skills to pursue a career in education, research, policy development and management, consulting, grant writing, advocacy, journalism, and more. View a list of featured EJ employers here.