Sustainability Minor


The minor in Sustainability focuses on the central principles of sustainable development: the environment, the human social system, and the economic system. Using a systems lens, students in this minor learn about the ethical, practical, and innovative approaches to balance the need for human consumption and development with environmental and social equity. Studying principles of sustainability involves an interdisciplinary skill set (see the learning goals to the lower right). Careers in sustainability are vast and include (but are not limited to): environmental protection, engineering and design, business management and planning, human dimensions of resource use, etc.

After completing the Sustainability Minor program, students will gain competency in the following areas: 1. Foundations, 2. Areas of Inquiry, and 3. Practicum.

Wondering how to fit this to your major?: How to incorporate this minor into your specific major...

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Foundations (9cr):

A. Introduction to sustainability (11:374:299) 3 cr.

B. Sustainability Decision Tools (11:373:202) 3 cr.

C. Controversies in Sustainability (11:216:320) 3 cr.

Areas of Inquiry (Systems, Governance, Socio-Economics)-9cr

One course from each area of inquiry (total of 9 credits) must be successfully completed by all students.

(note: If the student is majoring in the area of inquiry, and if all courses in the list meet requirements of the major, the student must select instead a second course in another area of inquiry. Also, no more than 3 credits may be taken at the 100 level).

A. Resource Management Systems

1. Earth Systems (01:450:101) *
2. Transforming the Global Environment (01:450:102) *
3. Environment and Society (aka Conservation and Use of Natural Resources) (01:450:211) *
4. The Global Climate System (01:450:213) *
5. Conservation (01:450:214) *
6. Introduction to Climate Science (11:670:102) 
7. Sea Change: The Rise and Fall of Sea Level and the Jersey Shore (01:460:110)*
8. Earth and Life Through Time (01:460:212) *
9. Introduction to Agriculture and Food Systems (11:020:210)
10. Principles and Practices of Small-Scale Organic Farming (11:020:321)
11. Sustainability: Tackling Food Waste (11:020:337)
12. Indoor Cultivation of High Value Crops (11:020:340 4CR)
13. Principles of Natural Resource Management
(Open to DEENR students only) (11:216:217)
14. Conservation Techniques (11:216:315)
15. Conservation Ecology (11:216:317) *
16. Global Change and Ecology (11:216:451)
17. Freshwater Ecology (11:216:335 4CR)
18. Wetland Ecology (11:216:421)
19. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (11:216:464)
20. Urban Ecology (11:216:487)
21. Restoration Ecology (11:216:488)
22. Agriculture, entomology, and pest management (11:370:350)
23. Energy and Society (11:375:175)
24. Biological Principles of Environmental Sciences (11:375:201)
25. Energy, Technology and Environment (11:375:322)
26. Soils and Water (11:375:360)
27. Environmental Fate & Transport (11:375:423)
28. Intro to Environmental Health (11:375:103)
29. Water and Wastewater Treatment (11:375:302)
30. Elements of Solid Waste Management and Treatment (11:375:307)
31. Principles of Air Pollution (11:375:421)
32. Foods: From Field to Table (11:400:107) *
33. Environmental Design Analysis (11:550:230) *
34. Landscape Management and Maintenance (11:550:238)
35. Sustainable Landscape Technologies (11:550:442)
36. Open Space Planning and Management (11:573:413)
37. Watershed Management (11:573:444)
38. Fishery Science (11:628:309)
39. Aquaculture (11:628:317)
41. Ocean Ecology (11:628:462)
42. Introduction to Bioenergy Technologies (11:776:112)
43. Ecological sustainability (11:216:306)
44.Pesticide Impacts on Humans and the Environment (11:015:439)

B. Governance

1. Climate Change and Society (01:450:370) *
2. Environmental Science Literacy (11:375:197) *
3. Current Issues in Food sciences and Food law (11:400:314)
4. Environmental Issues in the United States (11:573:202) *
5. Fundamentals of Environmental Planning (11:573:231)
6. Ecological Design and Stewardship (11:573:445)
7. Water and Society (11:374:115) *
8. Politics of Environmental Issues (11:374:279) *
9. US Environmental policy (11:374:313)
10. Natural resource policy (11:374:314)
11. International environmental policy (11:374:315)
12. Environmental Law and Policy 1: Nature, Law and Society (11:374:460)
13. International Environmental Law (11:374:462)
14. Environmental and Land Use Law (10:970:463)
15. Industrial Ecology (34:970:571)
16. Sustainability, jobs and justice (37:575:240)

C. Economics and Social Systems

1. Culture and the Environment (01:070:302)
2. Human Geography: Space, Place and Location (01:450:103) *
3. Environment, Society, and Social Justice(01:450:211) *
4. Economic Geography (01:450:309)
5. Culture and Political Ecology (01:450:360)
6. Climate Change and Society (01:450:370)
7. Building and Maintaining a Habitable Planet (01:460:203) *
8. Global Poverty (10:762:230)
10. Global Health Perspectives (10:832:240)
11. International Public Health (aka Global Public Health) (10:832:440)
12.Introduction to agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship (aka special topics in agriculture and food systems) (11:020:255)
13. Community Food Justice and Advocacy (11:020:333)
14. Sustainable Agriculture (11:020:436)
15. Feeding America's Cities (11:020:455)
16. Economics, People and the Environment (11:373:101) *
17. Energy, Economics and Policy (11:373:335)
18. Land Economics (11:373:361)
19. Natural Resources Economics (11:373:362) *
20. Environmental Economics (11:373:363)
21. Food, Health and Safety Policy (11:373:371)
22. Population, Resources and the Environment (11:374:269)
23. Sustainable Food: Politics, Policy and Ethics (11:374:289)
24. Communities and Environmental Change (11:374:335)
25. Segregation and Health (11:374:424)
26. Social and Cultural Aspects of Environmental Design (11:550:301) *
27. Work, Society, and the Quality of Life (37:575:110)
28. Labor and the Global Economy (37:575:363)
29. Theater for Social Development: Art, Creating Change (07:965:302)

Practicum (3 cr)

Practicum in Sustainability (11:374:399) 3 cr.

Learning Goals and Skills:

Foundations (3 Courses)

  • Define sustainability and defend word choice with evidence (from the literature, experience, and social conversation). [Explain how it relates to your life and your values. Be sure to address issues of social justice, the environment, and the economy]
  • Describe how the following dynamics guide sustainable thinking:
    1. Pressures that undermine sustainability and the consequences of these pressures on individuals and society.
    2. Relationships among economies, societies, and environments.

Associated skills:

  • Calculate life-cycle analyses and ecological footprints, conduct full-cost accounting and evaluate the potential for social value metrics.
  • Explain principles of environmental and natural resource management, and describe distinctions among renewable, replicable and replaceable (and irreplaceable) resources
  • Monitor and evaluate policies, projects and processes in terms of economic and organizational effectiveness, equity, cultural fit and environmental impact
  • Analyze issues and use basic policy analysis

Areas of Inquiry (3 Courses)

  • Analyze and apply to particular problems or issues social-ecological systems thinking on multiple spatial and temporal scales, and in between social, ecological and biophysical systems and explain [past] or predict [future] the outcomes for intergenerational human welfare and ecosystem health using ideas from the following areas of inquiry.

In these courses students will develop and demonstrate the following skills:

  • Work with organizational concepts, including the relationship of organizational structure and scale to the issues being addressed
  • se alternatives analysis, including benefit: cost analysis and comparisons
  • Engage in marketing synthesis, analysis, and strategy
  • Assess economic and non-economic values of 'ecosystem services'
  • Identify and engage with stakeholders in a given environmental or public health issue and assess/analyze/explain the community [relations and] dynamics involved
  • Practice sustainability standard setting and evaluation
  • Identify regulatory and other governance strategies that hamper or implement sustainability
  • develop and critically evaluate the 'business case for sustainability'

Practicum: (1 Course)

  • Identify a problem relating to sustainability, identify stakeholders, develop objectives and plan; collect, analyze and interpret data, report findings, and marshal resources. As part of this, students must (through the practicum and other relevant courses) develop the professional skills to be an effective leader for the achievement of sustainability

In this course, students will develop and demonstrate the following skills:

  • identify the appropriate tools for different economic and environmental scales
  • describe how different stakeholders define the 'problem' and how they can collaborate to address it
  • integrate personal experiences and current practices and policies across multiple scales.
  • identify implications for environmental justice and understand what values are at stake.
  • engage with stakeholders in process of analysis and action (to the degree they welcome such interaction)
  • project and personnel management, & proposal development, including budgets
  • written and oral communications appropriate to diverse audiences with distributed points of power.
  • leadership, teamwork, facilitation, conflict management
  • individual career development plans
* indicates courses in the SEBS core