BS Degree in Sustainability {23-24}

B.S. Degree in Sustainability

The Bachelor of Science in Sustainability is an excellent degree to prepare for emerging jobs in the green economy while striving to make the world a better place for future generations. MSUM’s sustainability program is one of only a few universities in the country to focus on the entire spectrum of socio-environmental sustainability. The focus on sustainability within our societies crosses multiple disciplines with the shared goal of preserving and promoting a healthy planet; adding a second major or minor is encouraged and can often be achieved within 120 total credits. There are suggested tracks available through advising to pursue sustainability applications within environmental science, operations management, business, public policy, construction management, energy science and geographic information systems. The Sustainability program is designed to give students an understanding of the need for long- term sustainable practices in our lifestyles and economy. As more and more companies adopt practices to decrease operating costs while also reducing their impact on the environment, they hire sustainability coordinators to manage these tasks. The future outlook for these positions looks bright as companies seek to maintain strong commitments to the environment and employ strategies to increase their economic competitiveness. Green jobs involve all aspects of employment in renewable energy or sustainability efforts. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, green jobs are either: Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources; jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. The number of industries that offer green employment opportunities are diverse and job titles do not always contain "sustainability". Green jobs offer wages that run approximately 13% higher than the average job in the US, with green energy jobs running 20% higher (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017). To receive the B.S. Degree in Sustainability, the student must meet the minimum university requirements and specific requirements for the program. Completion of 120 credits is required for this degree which includes the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Explore the concept of sustainability within the context of socio-environmental systems.
  • Evaluate how humans impact the surface of the earth and the biosphere, and the consequential effects on ecosystem services.
  • Examine the relationships between civilization, society and energy use and look at possible steps to a sustainable energy and environmental future.
  • Identify issues faced by developing countries in the conflict between rapid economic development and the threat of environmental degradation.
  • Describe how class, gender, race, ethnicity, nation status and other identities intersect with relationships within environmental justice and activism.
  • Examine the motivations behind humans' decisions to modify ecosystems throughout the world, and the effects that environmental change has had on the peoples and ecosystems throughout human history.
  • Interpret any environmental issue within a systems thinking framework.
  • Articulate the ethical responsibilities humans have for the non-human world and for future human generations. 
  • Recognize and apply sustainable ideas and practices to potential career opportunities.

Program Delivery Mode
Land plus: face-to-face where some online courses may be available or required

Core Requirements ( 19 credits )

SUST 200 Nature of Sustainability (3)
ENGL 407 Big City, Big Impact (3)
PSCI 378 Energy and Environment (3)
SUST 421 Systems Thinking (3)
SUST 432 Environmental Dilemmas (3)
SUST 469 Internship (3)
SUST 492 Seminar: Sustainability Capstone (1)

Designated Writing Intensive Course for Major
SUST 432 Environmental Dilemmas (3)

Related Requirements ( 3 credits )

Must take a 3 credit college algebra course or above.

Restricted Electives ( 10 credits )

Take one course from the list of courses below:

GEOS 109/GEOS 109L Processes and History of a Dynamic Planet (4)
GEOS 110/GEOS 110L Water, Land, and People: An Introduction to Physical Geography (4)
BIOL 115/115L Organismal Biology with Lab (4) 

Take two courses from the list of global and human diversity electives: 

GEOS 111 Cultures and Regions (3) 
HIST 374 Plagues and People (3)
HIST 379 Environmental History (3)
NURS 485 Global Health Perspectives (3)
WS 330 Gender, Justice and the Environment (3) 

Electives ( 18 credits )

Take 18 credits of at least 6 additional elective courses, 3 of which are upper level courses (300-level or above). These credits are in addition to any courses taken as part of the core and restricted electives. 

Upper Level Electives (listed below): 

ANTH 307 Ecological Anthropology (LASC 10) (3)
ANTH 308 Migration and Human Adaptation (3)
ANTH 311 American Indians and the Environment (LASC 10) (3)
ANTH 317 Collapse (LASC 10) (3)
ANTH 325 Reading Landscape: Ways of Seeing (3)
ART 345 Art of Social and Environmental Justice (3)
BIOL 305 General Botany (4)
BIOL 308 Pacific Northwest Ecology (LASC 10) (3)
BIOL 326 Minnesota Plant Identification (4)
BIOL 335 Tropical Conservation Biology (LASC 10) (3)
BIOL 345 Principles of Ecology (4)
BIOL 346 An Ecological Perspective (LASC 10) (3)
BIOL 370 Exploring Biology (LASC 10) (3)
BIOL 372 Aquatic Biology (4)
CHEM 304 The Environment and You (LASC 10) (3)
CM 327 Sustainability and the Built Environment (LASC 10) (3)
ECON 305/WS 305 The Economics of Poverty, Discrimination and Inequality (3)
ENGL 435 Nature Writing/Ecocriticism (LASC 10) (3)
GEOS 305 Oceanography (LASC 10) (3)
GEOS 307 Introduction to GIS (3)
GEOS 320 Economic Geography (3)
GEOS 321 Sustainable Transportation (3)
GEOS 325 Reading Landscapes: Ways of Seeing (3)
GEOS 330 Elementary Meteorology (LASC 10) (3)
GEOS 335 Environmental Geography and Conservation (LASC 10) (3)
GEOS 340 Economic and Environmental Geology (3)
GEOS 370 Structural Geology and Mapping (3)
GEOS 407 Spatial Analysis (4)
GEOS 415 Reading Geochemical Fingerprints (3)
HIST 373 Monsoon Asia: People and the Environment (LASC 10) (3)
HIST 374 Plagues and Peoples: Disease and the Environment (LASC 10) (3)
HIST 379 Environmental History (LASC 10) (3)
POL 341 Public Policy (3)
POL 345 Environmental Politics (LASC 10) (3)
POL 352 Political Problems in Developing Countries (3)
PSY 324 Environmental Psychology (LASC 10) (3)
SOC 319 Society and the Environment (LASC 10) (3)
SOC 325 Social Movements (3)
NURS 485 Global Health Perspectives (3)
WS 310 Dominant - Subordinate Group Relations (3)
WS 312 Rhetorics of Resistance: Feminist Responses from the Humanities (3)
WS 330 Gender, Justice and the Environment (LASC 10) (3)

Lower Level Electives (listed below):

BIOL 115/115L Organismal Biology with Lab (4)
BIOL 248 Introduction to Public Health (3)
CHEM 102 Environmental Chemistry (3)
GEOS 109/GEOS 109L Processes and History of a Dynamic Planet & Intro Geology Lab (4)
GEOS 110/GEOS 110L Water, Land, and People: Introduction to Physical Geography with Lab (4)
GEOS 111 Cultures and Regions (3)
GEOS 205 Thinking Spatially (3)
GEOS 207 GPS Field Techniques (3)
GEOS 209L Problems in Introductory Geology (2)
GEOS 210 Cartography (3)
HIST 276 The World of Food (3)
POL 120 American National Government and Politics (3)
POL 160 International Relations (3)
POL 265 International Protection of Human Rights (3)