Sustainability Minor

Global climate change and environmental destruction offer both new challenges and opportunities as governments, businesses, and the public look for solutions.  The students and faculty of colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to help understand and respond to these complicated issues and to lead the way in the creation of a sustainable future.

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The focus on sustainability, generally characterized as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” requires the integration of natural scientific understanding of the threat of environmental degradation, with social and behavioral scientific understanding of the social, economic, cultural and political factors driving the human contributions to the problem, as well as to its solution.  It also draws upon the historical perspective, ethical sensibility, and creative imagination of the arts and humanities to help understand what led us to this point and to map out alternative futures.

The Minor in Sustainability Studies provides an interdisciplinary framework within which students can study the foundations of sustainability, and learn how to apply this knowledge to the development and implementation of sustainable values, practices, technologies, and strategies in our homes, on campus, in the workplace, and in our communities.  It emphasizes interconnections between environment, economy and society, and builds a community of faculty and students committed to tackling the complex socio-environmental problems confronting our communities and the world.  In addition to classroom study, experiential, project-based and service learning will be encouraged.  The Minor in Sustainability Studies is designed to complement any major area of study.

Requirements: 15 hours of credit, at least 9 of which must be taken at the 200-level or above.  In some cases, special topics courses, internships, independent studies, or other courses not listed below may qualify to count toward the minor based on the approval of the Director of the Minor in Sustainability Studies. Download a Sustainability Minor Advising Form for more information about the minor and its requirements.

Core Course            3 credits
SUST-S 201 Foundations of Sustainability

Electives                  9 credits  
Choose one course from each of the areas below, plus one additional course from either area. Only one course may be taken per discipline.  No more than 6 credits at the 100-level.
* Indicates General Education requirement

Scientific Foundations of Sustainability
BIOL-L 101 Introduction to Biological Sciences 1 (5 cr.)
*BIOL-N 390 The Natural World, VT: Environmental Biology (Biology majors can substitute BIOL-L 473 Ecology and BIOL-L 474 Field and Laboratory Ecology
*CHEM –N190 The Natural World, VT: Chemistry and Our Environment
ECET 499 Electric Vehicle Design and Fabrication (Purdue College of Technology)
GEOL-G 111 Physical Geology
*GEOL-G 190 The Evolving Earth, VT: Geology of the National Parks
GEOL-G 210 Oceanography
GEOL-G 219 Meteorology
GEOL-G 451 Principles of Hydrogeology
*PHYS-N 190 The Natural World, VT: Energy in the 21st Century

Social, Cultural, and Economic Foundations of Sustainability
*BUS-J 404 Business and Society
FINA-A 190 Art, Aesthetics, and Creativity, VT: Exploring the City
*FINA-A 399 Art, Aesthetics, and Creativity, VT: The Modern City
GEOG-G 107 Physical Systems of the Environment
GEOG-G 315 Environmental Geography
GEOG-G 320 Population Geography
*HPER-N 220 Nutrition for Health
*HIST-T 190 Literary and Intellectual Traditions, VT: History of the United States Environmental Movements
LSTU-L 390 Topics in Labor Studies, VT: Jobs and the Environment
LSTU-L 390 Topics in Labor Studies, VT:Labor and Global Warming (web)    
NURS-K 301 Complementary Health Therapies
NURS-K 401 Integrative Health
PHIL-P 383 Topics in Philosophy, VT: Philosophical Topics in Evolution
*PHIL-T 390 Literary and Intellectual Traditions, VT: Environmental Philosophy
POLS-Y 115 Environment and People
*SOC-B 399 Sustainable Communities
SOC-S 306 Urban Society
SOC-S 410 or INTL-I 490 International Inequalities and Global Issues
SUST-S 360 Topics in Sustainability Studies
SUST-S 361 Sustainability Abroad
*SUST-B 399 Human Behavior and Social Institutions, VT Just Food: Sustainable Food Systems
SUST-S 411 Sustainability, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
SUST-S 460 Strategies for Transformative Leadership and Community Engagement
SUST-S 495 Directed Readings in Sustainability
SUST-S 496 Research in Sustainability
*WGS-T 390 Literary and Intellectual Traditions, VT: Women and Sustainability

Capstone (Choose one of the following)      3 credits

SUST S-490 Sustainability Practicum
SUST S-491 Internship in Sustainability

Learn what you can do with a minor in Sustainability Studies HERE

Watch one of our students final presenation project, EatingLocal, by graphic design major Stacey VanDenDriessche on Vimeo.