2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jan 25, 2022  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sustainability Studies, B.S.

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Program Coordinator:  Can B. Aktas, Ph.D.
Sustainability is a broad concept that has become preeminent for the twenty-first century global society. It deals with understanding and balancing the ubiquitous need for growth and well being of human societies within a global environment where natural resources become ever more limiting. Sustainability science is an emerging discipline that seeks to: a) understand the interactions of natural, social, and economic systems, the complex mechanisms that lead to the degradation of these systems, and the associated risks to human well-being and security and b) provide the vision and methodology that will lead to the restoration and harmonization of these systems.

The Degree Program

The Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability Studies provides broad interdisciplinary knowledge and skills required to solve problems related to environmental sustainability in industry, government, non-profit and personal realms. Candidates will assume analytical and leadership positions in global, regional or local organizations. The program is created for individuals who aspire to be involved in searching, finding, solving, and implementing complex solutions in environmental sustainability, integrating societal, technological and the environmental components. The program includes basics in knowledge of the planet and environment, sciences including chemistry, biology and physics, engineering and design approaches, economic principles related to management and allocation of scarce natural resources, management techniques, project-management, and environmental history. Additional topics include environmental law, sustainable development, sustainable community planning, alternative energy systems and design for environment. The use of two free electives and three sustainability electives allows students the flexibility to focus on global, regional, or local sustainability issues.

The program goal of the B.S. in Sustainability Studies is to prepare students for pursuing successful careers in a new and dynamic green job market as well as to provide a strong basis for life-long learning through professional experiences, advanced studies, and graduate degrees. This goal supports the mission of the university by combining excellence in liberal arts and professional preparation in an innovative way. What makes this program unique is a truly balanced curriculum among science, engineering and technology, business and economics, and the humanities disciplines.

The academic objectives of the program are to provide students with the following:

  • A systemic and holistic approach to problem solving founded on broad-based 
interdisciplinary knowledge capitalizing on scientific and economic principles and creative use of the latest technological advancements that foster sustainable use of the Earth’s resources.
  • Quantitative and technical skills as the foundation for recognizing the compelling pervasiveness of risk and uncertainty in human, social, and natural systems.
  • A general understanding of global sustainability issues stressing the importance of local societies as the building blocks of the greater world.
  • Interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration in facing and solving complex issues of sustainable living.
  • Highly developed individual behaviors and attitudes towards the natural and social environments based on introspection, reflection, and creativity.

Some primary roles a graduate with the B.S. in Sustainability Studies could be expected to assume would be:

  • Corporate or municipal sustainability officer
  • Environmental analyst
  • Environmental public affairs officer
  • LEED certified construction manager
  • Renewable and clean energy technology manager or consultant
  • Technical analyst for sustainability practices
  • Sustainable product purchasing agent
  • Technical manager for sustainability projects
  • Sustainability program developer, coordinator, or manager
  • Non-profit work related to developing sustainable practices and programs
  • Testing, marketing, and sales of green products
  • Carbon emissions reduction program initiation and management
  • Evaluation, selection and purchasing of “green products”
  • Renewable and clean energy technology management or consulting
  • Green home consultants
  • Public relations for businesses selling sustainable products or services
  • Creating sustainability outreach programs
  • Teaching sustainability
  • Green business entrepreneur


Required Courses


 The bachelor’s degree program in sustainability studies requires completion of 127 credits. Students will choose, with the assistance and approval of their academic adviser, the appropriate courses to fulfill the technical elective requirements of the program. Students are also expected to work with their adviser to select the University Core Curriculum courses in such a way to best support their career goals and professional development.

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