Program Description

The Social Sciences interest group is designed for students who want to study the social science aspects of the environment and natural resources. Natural resource planning, policy, business, economics, and applied management issues provide the context for social science research. Students are expected to identify and develop an understanding of relevant social science disciplines such as sociology, planning, political science, law, economics, business, and anthropology. Study areas may include community forestry and rural development, land use planning, natural resource policy and law, public administration and decision making, social, business, and economic impact assessment, environmental externalities, and recreation management.

Social Sciences graduates are employed in both the public and private sectors. Employers include universities, federal and state land management agencies, state and local planning and environmental management departments, legislative bodies, consulting groups, business, institutional investors, advocacy groups, domestic and international non-government organizations, and professional associations. Typical positions include planner, policy analyst, researcher, and teacher.

Course work is flexible to cover the diversity of interests within the interest group.

Highlighted Research

  • •  Cooperative management of subsistence use of natural resources
  • •  Financial, environmental, and social responsibility sustainability performance assessment
  • •  Governance institutions for forests and natural resources
  • •  Growth management
  • •  Valuation of environmental externalities
  • •  Managing forest land on the urban/forest interface
  • •  Recreation visitor use patterns and impacts
  • •  Northwest forest policy issues, including resource sustainability, harvest regulation, log exports, and the international impacts of U.S. management and policy
  • •  Sustainable business and stakeholder relationships
  • •  Organizational behavior
  • •  Politics of land use and forest practice regulation
  • •  Process of assessing environmental impacts
  • •  Collaborative watershed planning and management
  • •  Environmental economics
  • •  Public participation in administrative processes
  • •  Sustainability theory development
  • •  Social and economic aspects of landscape management
  • •  Sustainable development of resource-producing communities
  • •  Urban forest benefits

For current funded grants in this interest group, click here.

FacultyAreas of Interest
Stanley Asah Human dimensions of natural resource management; Human environment systems analyses; Environmental social psychology
Greg Bratman Impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function, mood, and emotion regulation; accounting for mental health in ecosystem service assessments; nature and health
Dan Brown GIS, remote sensing, spatial modeling; land-use and land-cover dynamics; linking landscape patterns with ecological and social processes
Indroneil Ganguly Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of bio-based products, Forest products marketing; Forest economics
Peter Kahn Ecopsychology; Human Dimensions of Interacting with Nature and Technological Systems; Interaction Pattern Design for Urban Sustainability
College of the Environment profile
Phillip Levin Interdisciplinary conservation science, ecosystem-based natural resource management, marine and coastal conservation biology, marine ecology
Dorothy Paun Triple bottom line sustainability performance assessment (financial, environmental, and corporate social responsibility)
Sergey Rabotyagov Environmental economics
Clare Ryan Environmental policy; Urban ecology and management; Conflict management
Kent Wheiler Sustainable forestry; wood products production, distribution and use; international markets and trade

Affiliated Research Staff and Faculty
Chris Lauver
Kathy Wolf

For further information:

Interest Group Coordinator: Dr. Sergey Rabotyagov
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Box 352100
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-2100
email; FAX 206-685-0790; Phone 206-685-3159