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Letter from the Director

Welcome to the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah.


Katharina Gerstenberger headshot

Our master’s program prepares students for careers in environmental leadership or for further training in academic and professional fields. Founded in 2005, our program enjoys a strong national and international reputation.

Our students are poised to make a difference in meeting the many challenges to our natural environment and in addressing vital issues of environmental justice and climate change. To prepare them for these tasks, our program offers a carefully-designed academic curriculum, practical training in a number of fields, and opportunities to engage with local and national thinkers and leaders.

We believe in working with and learning from others. This past year, we hosted Dr. Robin W. Kimmerer from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Dr. Erika George, Director of the Tanner Humanities Center and Professor of Law at the University of Utah; Tiffany Higgins, Annie Clark Tanner Fellow at the University of Utah and Dr. Robert Newman, Director of the National Humanities Center. In March, we awarded the third annual Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities to writer and environmental activist, Jonathan Franzen. Previous recipients of the award include Amitav Ghosh and Rebecca Solnit.

Environmental justice is one of our key concerns. We are proud to announce that our program has won a significant award from the Andrew Mellon Foundation in support of community outreach. The grant allows us to fund graduate students and to train them to build and enhance relationships with communities that are engaged in quests for social and environmental justice.  A community coordinator, also funded by the grant, guides our students in making those connections. We look forward to welcoming our first cohort of Mellon Fellows this fall.

Environmental Humanities is fundamentally interdisplinary. Our program is well connected within the University of Utah, giving students the opportunity to learn, think, and create with faculty across a range of disciplines. We also have strong connections to museums, field stations, and publishing houses to give students practical experience. Our students and alumni are engaged in a variety of projects and experiences.

We all know about the importance of place in the Environmental Humanities. Situated in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the University of Utah is located in an environment of stunning natural beauty. Our program is housed in a sandstone building in historic Fort Douglas that provides generous meeting and office space for students, staff, and faculty, as well as proximity to open space for outdoor recreation, learning and contemplation.  

I would love to hear from you and invite you to contact me.


Katharina Gerstenberger, PhD
Interim Director
Environmental Humanities Graduate Program

Last Updated: 6/3/21