Nancy Langston

Nancy Langston


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  • Distinguished Professor of Environmental History, Social Sciences
  • Affiliated Professor, CFRES
  • Ph.D., University of Washington
  • M.Phil, Oxford University
  • B.A., Dartmouth College


I am an environmental historian who explores the connections between waste, water, climate change, and wildlife in northern watersheds. Author of 5 books, 52 peer-reviewed articles, and public-facing journalism, I have been Principle Investigator on over $1.2 million in external funding.  I served as President of the ASEH and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental History.

Recent awards include: 

  • the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Environmental History;
  • the Distinguished Service Award;
  • Mellon Foundation award in environmental humanities;
  • Fulbright Research Scholar Award (Canada);
  • American Council of Learned Society sabbatical award;
  • American Philosophical Society sabbatical.

I spent 17 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies and the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology. I started at MTU in 2013. During 2012-2013, I was the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science, in residence in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies at Umeå University. 

Learn more about my current research at

To contact me, email is best:


I am particularly interested in students who wish to focus on environmental history and Great Lakes wildlife policy. 

Potential graduate students, please read!

1. The Statement of Purpose  is a research statement. Your goal is to provide a brief history of your past research experience and the future research you intend to complete. The research statement is the primary way that the search committee determines if your interests and past experience make you a good fit for the EEP program.

  •  Start by articulating the broader field that you are working within and the larger environmental policy questions that you are interested in answering.
  • Then move on to articulate your specific environmental policy interest. Give us a specific example of a research question in environmental policy that you want to work on.
  • Discuss how you want to approach that research question. What tools, experiences, and skills have you already developed? What additional tools do you want to develop?
  • Then tell us why this particular environmental policy program is ideal for your chosen research. Be specific! Tell us what courses you want to take and why, and tell us who you want to work with and why.

2. The Personal Statement allows you the opportunity to explain your career goals and experiences.

  • Start by describing your specific career goals in environmental policy.
  • Then tell us how this specific graduate degree will help to achieve those career goals.
  • Describe the work, education, research, or personal experiences that have prepared you for graduate study. Give specific examples.
  • Explain any discrepancies in your record, such as low grades or standardized exam scores.

Areas of Interest

  • Toxics, forested watersheds, and northern lakes
  • Environmental history
  • Watershed change and water quality
  • Mining history