** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Community Engagement, Internship (with credit transfer)
Apply systems thinking and sustainability theory to real world cases.
Partner with organizers transforming communities and restoring ecosystems.
In this program, students learn why and how environmental burdens are inequitably distributed, and explore the work of communities organizing for radical, lasting change. At the heart of the program lies a fundamental question: "How can we restore ecosystems, environmental health, and good quality of life for all?" The Environmental Justice program equips learners with tools to appreciate the histories that birthed this moment, and skills to create a liberatory future.
Through this program, you will partner with organizers and educators passionate about environmental justice. Program time is split between classrooms, field sites, an internship, and a permaculture farm in Wisconsin. Students work to intervene in systems of injustice and ecological destruction, building thriving communities through regenerative practices. Each student completes an internship for academic credit. Past internship sites include the Friends of the Mississippi River, MN350, the Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy, and Carver County Environmental Services. Students leave prepared for leadership at the intersection of environmental and climate justice, with a profound understanding of the work being done locally and globally in those fields. Read more about Environmental Justice on HECUA's website.
HECUA programs are highly experiential, interdisciplinary and integrated. We go beyond the classroom. By combining theory and praxis, you will apply classroom knowledge to real-world work in an internship with a local organization that is working to advance movements for justice and equity. Students and faculty are seen as co-teachers and co-learners. Through HECUA, you will gain hands-on experience, develop new skills, make connections, build your resume, and develop your own capacity to make change.
Why Study Away in the Twin Cities?
There are many reasons to consider study away in the Twin Cities. Here are just a few of HECUA’s top reasons, why you should consider this location as a great space to go beyond the classroom. Click here to read more.
This program changed the direction I want to take with my life. I feel more plugged into Minneapolis, and the environmental justice movement in ways that I have not through other classes. - Claire, University of Minnesota. Click here to read about more student experiences.
Courses & Credits
HECUA programs are highly experiential, interdisciplinary and integrated. All courses are taken as an integrated whole and provide a semester’s worth of credit (i.e. 16 credits or the equivalent at your institution). HECUA’s courses provide upper level credits, and nearly all students obtain significant major or minor credits for participating in this program.
Environmental and Climate Justice (4 credits)
Ecology and Socio-ecological Systems Change (4 credits)
Field Research Methods and Investigation (4 credits)
Internship (4 credits)
Check the HECUA website here, for the current fees. These fees include include tuition, nearly all reading materials, some field visits (including meals while traveling), and tickets to events and opportunities associated with the program.
Health and Safety
HECUA has been vigilantly and constantly monitoring the evolving conditions of COVID-19, including tracking updates from the Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, the US Department of State and other credible sources. Click here to view HECUA's most recent COVID-19 updates.
No prior experience required
Think this program is just for environmental studies students? Think again! This program integrates natural and social sciences within a social justice framework and no course prerequisites are required.
This program is open to any undergraduate students currently enrolled in a US college or university who have completed their first year of college and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, although any applicant with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.5 will receive additional review. Prospective students are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any other eligibility questions.
HECUA offers multiple scholarships to students each term. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) students, first-generation students, and students from low-income backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Visit our website to learn more.
HECUA. Gustavus belongs to the HECUA Consortium, so we are a part of the organization that offers this program. Any eligible Gustavus student is welcome to participate in this program.
Application process. Gustavus students will first apply for Gustavus approval through this website. Once approved by Gustavus to participate, you will then complete an online HECUA application as well. Note that Gustavus has a nonrefundable application fee of $70 (required for all Gustavus study away applicants), and that HECUA has a separate nonrefundable application fee of $50.
Advising at Gustavus. If you would like to speak with a Gustavus program advisor, please see our Advising page for more information.