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Structure and Requirements

With the interdisciplinary Sustainability Minor, students develop understandings of global social, economic, and environmental challenges through coursework in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanitiesStudents pursuing a Sustainability Minor will need to fulfill the following requirements. 

  1. Complete courses totaling at least twenty hours with no more than two transfer or study abroad courses (8 credits). All courses must be graded.
  2. All Sustainability Minor students must take either SUST 201: "Foundations of Sustainability," an introductory team-taught course, or PHYS 125: "The Science of Climate Change;" and SUST 391: a capstone seminar. 
  3. Students must take at least one approved course in each of the three divisions of the University (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities) and can count no more than two from their major.
  4. A capstone exercise will deepen student engagement with the issues and perspectives through research, an internship, a campus project, or another practicum experience. Capstone experiences can be supervised by any appropriate faculty member or study abroad faculty member and may be carried out in a course or through an applied extracurricular experience. When students take the capstone seminar, they will join a community of students in the Minor and receive advising to complete the final paper of at least 3,500 words in length.
  5. A rotating Steering Committee will provide guidance and supervision throughout the student's progress through the Minor.

Capstone Deadlines: Students wishing to take the Capstone Seminar in Spring must have an initial meeting with their advisor no later than September 30th the Fall before they plan to take the capstone seminar. A first draft proposal for their project is due October 15th.


  • I am interested in the Minor. How do I contact the program team?

    Please reach out to the general Sustainability Minor email - - to introduce yourself. We look forward to meeting you!
  • Why would I minor in Sustainability?

    It's not just a buzzword! Training in sustainability helps you discern between "greenwashing" and substantive efforts to remediate inequities in business practices, evaluate energy production and consumption, assess the role of human capital, and understand the human impact in the natural world.

  • How will the Sustainability Minor assist my career options?

    We now live in the Anthropocene, an era defined by human impact. Sustainability is a rapidly growing specialty that has applications in many careers: clean energy, technology, education, management, political science, business, and more. The interdisciplinary structure of the Sustainability Minor helps you to develop tools to think critically and creatively about the complex issues facing today's world. Your capstone project and your portfolio are designed for your personal and professional development, and to help you stand out for future academic and career opportunities.

  • What if I want to study abroad?

    The Office of International and Summer Programs (OISP) offers many opportunities to engage in sustainability-related coursework around the world. From immersion learning to field projects, these international options can be an individualized course of study in sustainability.

  • Why is the minor interdisciplinary?

    The challenges and solutions surrounding issues of sustainability are complex and require multiple perspectives to be best understood. There is no single department at a university that can encompass all of the disciplines related to sustainability. Students are empowered to engage with interconnected issues utilizing the strengths and methodologies of multiple departments. The natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities all bring valuable perspectives to identifying and evaluating sustainability-related issues.

  • How do I choose courses?

    There are two core course requirements for the minor:  taking either introductory course - the "Foundations of Sustainability" (SUST 201) or "The Science of Climate Change" (PHYS 125) - and a culminating capstone seminar (SUST 391). The remainder of your coursework can be selected from an extensive list of classes approved to satisfy the Minor, including many OISP options. Students may also petition to have a course accepted for the Minor if they can demonstrate a relevant learning outcome. The Minor requires 20 credit hours of sustainability-focused coursework.

  • Will I have the opportunity to do independent research?

    Yes! There are many ways to pursue specialized areas of interest that relate to sustainability. Students may use their capstone course to build on research projects, internships, or independent study that originated elsewhere or choose to apply a sustainability perspective to coursework in a class that they've petitioned to be approved for the minor.