Sustainability Studies

Sustainability Studies Minor Requirements

(20-21 credits)

Foundation Courses 114
Introduction to Sustainability Studies
Introduction to Environmental Sciences
Environmental Ethics
Introduction to Global Supply Chain Mgt.
Disciplinary Explorations 23-4
Select one of the following:
Technology and Science in America
Honors Seminar: The Environment: a Conflict of Interest
General Ecology
Literature and the Environment
Food Writing
Grant Proposals, Fundraising and Development
Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Weather and Climate Change
American Environmental History
Global Politics
Environmental Politics
Comparative Environmental Policy
Geopolitics of Energy
Population Study
Power and Politics
Social Policy
Experiential Learning 33
Independent Study: Research and Creative Expression
Internship in Sustainability
Total Credits20-21

PHL 202 or PHL 360 may be substituted with permission of the chair.


Or other special topics courses as reviewed by a quorum of the GEMS faculty.


Students must earn 3 credits total from SUS 490, SUS 491, or a combination of these two courses.  SUS 491 may only be taken twice.

Courses and Descriptions

SUS 100 Introduction to Sustainability Studies 4 Credits

Sustainability is an idea that will shape the lives of all in the 21st century. Students will explore how we arrived at our current precarious environmental situation and investigate cutting-edge methods that support human development and protect the natural ecosystems on which we will depend. By exploring principles of sustainability (whole-systems approaches, resource limitations, stewardship) through many different lenses, students will appreciate the interdisciplinarity of the sustainability enterprise. This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Disciplinary Perspectives element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

Corequisite(s): SUS 100L.

SUS 100L Intro to Sustainability Lab 0 Credits

For students concurrently taking SUS 100. Field trips, visiting speakers, and films to complement topics covered in the introductory course. One three-hour laboratory per week.

Corequisite(s): SUS 100.

ENV 100 Introduction to Environmental Sciences 4 Credits

Examines how ecosystems function, with emphasis on the interactions between biological organisms and their physical environment, and the chemical processes that govern these interactions. The impact of human populations on natural ecosystems is investigated in detail using case studies from history and current events. The laboratory provides for hands-on experiences and/or short field trips to local sites for a better understanding of many of the concepts discussed. Weekday and weekend field trips may be required. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. CLAS general education areas addressed: DP, SP, GP.

Corequisite(s): ENV 100L.

ENV 100L Introduction to Environmental Sciences Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): ENV 100.

GSC 115 Introduction to Global Supply Chain Mgt. 3 Credits

This course introduces students to components of global supply chains and issues of managing the global supply chain. It is designed as a survey course to give first or second year business students a general view of supply chain management at both domestic and international levels, as well as familiarize them with basic concepts and major challenges of supply chain management. Delivery of course material will include lectures and guest speakers from industry, and in-class logistics mini cases.

PHL 215 Environmental Ethics 3 Credits

A comprehensive introduction to environmental ethics that examines the major theoretical approaches, including anthropocentric (human-centered), zoocentric or sentientist (animal-centered), and biocentric or ecocentric (nature-centered) value systems, as well as the most important critiques of these ethical approaches. We will examine and analyze several classical ethical theories that are particularly relevant to a study of contemporary environmental controversies. We will also address specific issues such as biodiversity and wilderness preservation; human use of animals as food, entertainment, and research subjects; environmental racism and toxic dumping; sustainable development, population and consumption. Students will analyze and discuss the ethical dimensions of several contemporary environmental controversies. This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Disciplinary Perspectives element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

SUS 490 Independent Study: Research and Creative Expression 1-4 Credits

Immerses the student in applying sustainability principles in a field setting. Students are expected to assess the outcomes of their projects and communicate their results verbally and in writing to interested audiences.

SUS 491 Internship in Sustainability 1-4 Credits

A supervised work/service experience in an approved organization where students gain understanding and experience with applying sustainability principles. Placements may be in private, public, educational, non-profit or governmental organizations. Students are expected to include measurement and documentation of the environmental, social, and economic impact of their work. A minimum of 50 hours of work is required for one credit. At least 150 hours are required to earn 3 credits.