sustainability major

program information

After a three-year effort several SDSU student groups successfully installed campus-wide bike lanes

The sustainability major replaces the Social Science - Environmental Studies major with a new stand-alone program. Housed in the College of Arts and Letters it builds on faculty from a wide-range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

To address some of the most critical environmental and social challenges of our time no single academic discipline or perspective is adequate. For this reason, the SDSU sustainability major is an interdisciplinary program that involves coursework taught by faculty across campus. The central focus of the degree is the interface of human and natural systems. The curriculum emphasizes the study of cultural, historic, social, economic, and political values and forces that shape resource use and constrain responses to sustainable development.

Students gain an understanding of sociopolitical, historical, philosophical, moral, and scientific aspects of environmental problems and have the flexibility to concentrate their studies in one or more of these areas. Emphasis is placed on strong writing, research, and quantitative skills and broad liberal arts perspective.

Current and previous calendar year major requirements can be found on the Requirements Checklists page.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a B.A. in sustainability will gain a general understanding of sustainability issues from diverse perspectives and be able to:

  • examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens;
  • communicate the concept of sustainability both orally and in writing;
  • demonstrate the ability to understand, evaluate, and explain an environmental problem;
  • critically analyze a controversial environmental issue;
  • clearly differentiate between scientific statements and value judgments;
  • distinguish between sustainable and unsustainable human activities through comparison and taking into account how the earth’s systems and human systems interact;
  • assess a sustainable solution in its social, economic, and environmental dimensions;
  • describe the major physical and sociopolitical processes regulating the management of water (or open space, marine life, or wildlife);
  • formulate policy that could be applied to a regional or local environmental problem
  • describe how cultural histories guide interactions between humans and nature by means of their representations of humans in nature.
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