The Sustainability Studies minor is an interdisciplinary program that draws from expertise across the university. The program conceptualizes “sustainability” as an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge production and action that focuses on “the health and integrity of human societies and the natural world.” Sustainability is classically defined as a stool with three legs—the social, the economic, and the environmental. The purpose of this program is to address the challenges of sustainability by balancing the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The minor equips students to broaden their thinking about the origins of sustainability problems and possible solutions to include human institutions, ethics, and cultures as well as technologies and natural sciences. In so doing, the minor aims to foster student agency with regard to research on sustainability, responsibility to both human and non-human life, and civic engagement with local sustainability projects. The minor can supplement all majors in the university. Career possibilities include positions in design, law, food industries, planning and architecture, education, building certification, renewable energy, and waste management.
Students must complete 18 credits and a capstone experience (described below) to earn a minor in sustainability studies. The program’s interdisciplinary approach encourages students to take courses from a variety of departments. The program is structured as follows:
- All students will take SUST 201 - Introduction to Sustainability Studies .
- Students must then take at least 12 credits from Category A, defined as courses in which substantial content is foundational to engagement with sustainability. These credits must be distributed across three “clusters,” each of which denotes a major aspect of sustainability. Having taken one course from each of the three clusters, students will then be able to take the remaining Category A credits from a cluster of their choosing.
- Only 3 credits may come from Category B, defined as courses in which significant content is foundational to engagement with sustainability. Because their content may vary, courses from Category B must be approved by the program director to count for the minor.
- At least 6cr must be at the 300 level or above.
- Only one course may come from the student’s major.
- With the exception of SUST courses, no course prefix may be used more than twice without written permission from the program director.
- Special topics, independent study courses, and internship courses may be applied to either Category A or Category B with the approval of the Sustainability Studies Committee.
- Students should consult with the program director to determine if there are any prerequisites for the courses. Through counseling, the program coordinator will work with individual departments to determine if students may qualify for prerequisite exemptions.
- Students will work with an advisor from the Sustainability Studies program to develop a capstone experience that synthesizes their knowledge and skills related to sustainability. This requirement may be fulfilled by one of the following options: a portfolio, conference presentation, or other scholarly activity approved by the program director.