SDSU students at climate change protest

Program Information

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 across many areas on campus. Housed in the College of Arts and Letters, the Sustainability Major builds on faculty from a wide-range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

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.

Major

The sustainability major is an impacted program. To be admitted to the sustainability major, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete preparation for the major (see below);
  • Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units;
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

To complete the major, students must fulfill the degree requirements for the major described in the catalog in effect at the time they are accepted into the premajor at SDSU (assuming continuous enrollment).

A total of 15-16 units is needed to inlcude:

Three courses from (9 units):

  • SUSTN 100 - Environmental Sciences (same as ENV S 100 - Environmental Sciences) (3 units)
  • ECON 102 - Principles of Economics (3 units)
  • GEOG 101 - Earth’s Physical Environment (3 units) or GEOG 103 - Weather and Climate (3 units)

One course from (3-4 units):

  • ECON 201 - Statistical Methods (3 units)
  • LING 270 - Elementary Statistics for Language Studies (3 units)
  • PHIL 120 - Introduction to Logic (3 units)
  • POL S 201 - Elementary Statistics for Political Science (3 units)
  • PSY 280 - Statistical Methods in Psychology (4 units)
  • SOC 201 - Elementary Social Statistics (3 units)
  • STAT 119 - Elementary Statistics for Business or STAT 250 - Statistical Principles and Practices (3 units)

One course from (3 units):

  • GEOG 170 - Sustainable Places and Practices (3 units)
  • PSFA 100 - Sustainable Self-Development (3 units)

A minimum of 33 upper division units to include:

  • Three units from SUSTN 495 - Internship in Sustainability (1-3 units)

12 units of Integrative Core Courses selected from:

  • SUSTN 332 - Environmental Ethics (same as PHIL 332 - Environmental Ethics) (3 units)
  • SUSTN 353 - Sustainability and Culture (same as ANTH 353 - Sustainability and Culture) (3 units)
  • BIOL 315 - Ecology and Human Impacts on the Environment (3 units) or GEOG 370 - Conservation Science and Policy (3 units). But not both. 
  • HIST 441 - Unnatural Disasters: History of Current Environmental Problems (3 units) or SUSTN 334 - Politics of the Environment (same as POL S 334 - Politics of the Environment) (3 units). But not both.

18 units selected from:

18 units selected from three of the following fields, at least three units of which must be 500 level courses.

Field A - Human-Nature Interface (3-12 units)

  • ANTH 355 - Exploring Primate Behavior (3 units)
  • ANTH 402 - Dynamics of Biocultural Diversity (3 units) 
  • ANTH 510 - Environmental and Ecological Anthropology (3 units) 
  • C LT 570 - Ecocriticism (3 units)
  • ECON 455 - Environmental Economics (3 units)
  • ENGL 305 - Literature and Environment (3 units)
  • ENGL 491 - Contemporary Topics in Literature (with relevant content) (3 units)
  • GEOG 342 - Food, Place, and Culture (3 units)
  • GEOG 348 - Environment and Development (3 units)
  • HIST 441 - Unnatural Disasters: History of Current Environmental Problems (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • HIST 584 - Topics in Environmental History (3 units)
  • ISCOR 310 - Our Global Future: Values for Survival (3 units)
  • PHIL 496 - Experimental Topics (with relevant content) (1-4 units)
  • REL S 376 - Nature, Spirituality, Ecology (D)  (3 units)
  • RWS 360 - Rhetoric of Sustainability (3 units)
  • SUSTN 334 - Politics of the Environment (same as POL S 334 - Politics of the Environment) (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • WMNST 580 - Women, Development, and the Global Economy (3 units)
  • WMNST 582 - Feminist Science and Activism (3 units)

Field B - Applied and Regional Studies (3-12 units)

  • ANTH 532 - Anthropology of Development and Conservation (3 units)
  • ASIAN 320 - Asian Environmental Issues (3 units)
  • ENV E 320 - Designing Solutions for Environmental Problems (3 units)
  • GEOG 340 - Geography of Food (3 units)
  • GEOG 341 - Feeding the World (3 units)
  • GEOG 354 - Geography of Cities (3 units)
  • GEOG 426 - Regional Field Studies (3 units)
  • GEOG 440 - Food Justice (same as POL S 440 - Food Justice) (3 units)
  • GEOG 554 - World Cities: Comparative Approaches to Urbanization (3 units)
  • GEOG 572 - Land Use Analysis (3 units)
  • GEOG 575 - Geography of Recreational Land Use (3 units)
  • LATAM 545 - The Latin American City (3 units)
  • OCEAN 320 - Oceans of Change (3 units)
  • POL S 564 - Political Ecology of Latin America (3 units)
  • RTM 305 - Wilderness and the Leisure Experience (3 units)
  • RTM 470 - Global Sustainable Tourism Management (3 units)
  • RTM 477 - Sustainable Tourism Planning (3 units)
  • RTM 487 - Environmental and Cultural Interpretation (3 units)
  • SOC 350 - Population and Contemporary Issues (3 units)
  • WMNST 580 - Women, Development, and the Global Economy (3 units)

Field C - Scientific and Analytical Thinking (3-12 units)

  • BIOL 315 - Ecology and Human Impacts on the Environment (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • BIOL 324 - Life in the Sea (3 units)
  • BIOL 327 - Conservation of Wildlife (3 units)
  • BIOL 354 - Ecology and the Environment (3 units)
  • BIOL 517 - Marine Ecology (3 units)
  • BIOL 540 - Conservation Ecology (3 units)
  • BIOL 544 - Terrestrial Ecosystems and Climate Change (same as ENV S 544 - Terrestrial Ecosystems and Climate Change) (3 units)
  • ECON 455 - Environmental Economics (3 units)
  • ECON 456 - Economics of Natural Resources (3 units)
  • GEOG 370 - Conservation Science and Policy (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • GEOG 375 - Environmental Hydrology (3 units)
  • GEOG 401 - Geomorphology (3 units)
  • GEOG 409 - Global Climate Change (3 units)
  • GEOG 440 - Food Justice (same as POL S 440 - Food Justice) (3 units)
  • GEOG 454 - Sustainable Cities (3 units)
  • GEOG 506 - Landscape Ecology (3 units)
  • GEOG 507 - Geography of Natural Vegetation (3 units)
  • GEOG 512 - World on Fire (3 units)
  • GEOG 554 - World Cities: Comparative Approaches to Urbanization (3 units)
  • GEOG 570 - Environmental Conservation Practice (3 units)
  • GEOG 572 - Land Use Analysis (3 units)
  • GEOG 573 - Population and the Environment (3 units)
  • GEOG 574 - Water Resources (3 units)
  • GEOG 578 - Practical Hydrologic Modeling (3 units)
  • GEOL 305 - Water and the Environment (3 units)
  • P H 304 - Environment and Public Health (3 units)
  • P H 362 - International Health (3 units)

Note: Core courses not selected for the core may be used to satisfy the field distributions as indicated.

All sustainability majors are required to complete an international experience. Please see our International Experience for more information.

Please see the SDSU catalog for other requirements needed for graduation.

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.

Download the Curriculum Matrix

 

Please use the Sustainability major checklist to track your completion of the courses required.


Minor

The minor in sustainability consists of 15 units to include:

Three units from:

  • SUSTN 100 - Environmental Sciences (same as ENV S 100 - Environmental Sciences) (3 units)
  • GEOG 101 - Earth’s Physical Environment (3 units)
  • GEOG 370 - Conservation Science and Policy (3 units)
  • BIOL 315 - Ecology and Human Impacts on the Environment (3 units)

Three units from:

  • SUSTN 353 - Sustainability and Culture (same as ANTH 353 - Sustainability and Culture) (3 units)
  • SUSTN 332 - Environmental Ethics (same as PHIL 332 - Environmental Ethics) (3 units)
  • SUSTN 334 - Politics of the Environment (same as POL S 334 - Politics of the Environment) (3 units)
  • HIST 441 - Unnatural Disasters: History of Current Environmental Problems (3 units)

Nine additional units selected from:

Field A - Human-Nature Interface (3-12 units)

  • ANTH 355 - Exploring Primate Behavior (3 units)
  • ANTH 402 - Dynamics of Biocultural Diversity (3 units) 
  • ANTH 510 - Environmental and Ecological Anthropology (3 units) 
  • C LT 570 - Ecocriticism (3 units)
  • ECON 455 - Environmental Economics (3 units)
  • ENGL 305 - Literature and Environment (3 units)
  • ENGL 491 - Contemporary Topics in Literature (with relevant content) (3 units)
  • GEOG 342 - Food, Place, and Culture (3 units)
  • GEOG 348 - Environment and Development (3 units)
  • HIST 441 - Unnatural Disasters: History of Current Environmental Problems (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • HIST 584 - Topics in Environmental History (3 units)
  • ISCOR 310 - Our Global Future: Values for Survival (3 units)
  • PHIL 496 - Experimental Topics (with relevant content) (1-4 units)
  • REL S 376 - Nature, Spirituality, Ecology (D)  (3 units)
  • RWS 360 - Rhetoric of Sustainability (3 units)
  • SUSTN 334 - Politics of the Environment (same as POL S 334 - Politics of the Environment) (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • WMNST 580 - Women, Development, and the Global Economy (3 units)
  • WMNST 582 - Feminist Science and Activism (3 units)

Field B - Applied and Regional Studies (3-12 units)

  • ANTH 532 - Anthropology of Development and Conservation (3 units)
  • ASIAN 320 - Asian Environmental Issues (3 units)
  • ENV E 320 - Designing Solutions for Environmental Problems (3 units)
  • GEOG 340 - Geography of Food (3 units)
  • GEOG 341 - Feeding the World (3 units)
  • GEOG 354 - Geography of Cities (3 units)
  • GEOG 426 - Regional Field Studies (3 units)
  • GEOG 440 - Food Justice (same as POL S 440 - Food Justice) (3 units)
  • GEOG 554 - World Cities: Comparative Approaches to Urbanization (3 units)
  • GEOG 572 - Land Use Analysis (3 units)
  • GEOG 575 - Geography of Recreational Land Use (3 units)
  • LATAM 545 - The Latin American City (3 units)
  • OCEAN 320 - Oceans of Change (3 units)
  • POL S 564 - Political Ecology of Latin America (3 units)
  • RTM 305 - Wilderness and the Leisure Experience (3 units)
  • RTM 470 - Global Sustainable Tourism Management (3 units)
  • RTM 477 - Sustainable Tourism Planning (3 units)
  • RTM 487 - Environmental and Cultural Interpretation (3 units)
  • SOC 350 - Population and Contemporary Issues (3 units)
  • WMNST 580 - Women, Development, and the Global Economy (3 units)

Field C - Scientific and Analytical Thinking (3-12 units)

  • BIOL 315 - Ecology and Human Impacts on the Environment (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • BIOL 324 - Life in the Sea (3 units)
  • BIOL 327 - Conservation of Wildlife (3 units)
  • BIOL 354 - Ecology and the Environment (3 units)
  • BIOL 517 - Marine Ecology (3 units)
  • BIOL 540 - Conservation Ecology (3 units)
  • BIOL 544 - Terrestrial Ecosystems and Climate Change (same as ENV S 544 - Terrestrial Ecosystems and Climate Change) (3 units)
  • ECON 455 - Environmental Economics (3 units)
  • ECON 456 - Economics of Natural Resources (3 units)
  • GEOG 370 - Conservation Science and Policy (if not applied to the core) (3 units)
  • GEOG 375 - Environmental Hydrology (3 units)
  • GEOG 401 - Geomorphology (3 units)
  • GEOG 409 - Global Climate Change (3 units)
  • GEOG 440 - Food Justice (same as POL S 440 - Food Justice) (3 units)
  • GEOG 454 - Sustainable Cities (3 units)
  • GEOG 506 - Landscape Ecology (3 units)
  • GEOG 507 - Geography of Natural Vegetation (3 units)
  • GEOG 512 - World on Fire (3 units)
  • GEOG 554 - World Cities: Comparative Approaches to Urbanization (3 units)
  • GEOG 570 - Environmental Conservation Practice (3 units)
  • GEOG 572 - Land Use Analysis (3 units)
  • GEOG 573 - Population and the Environment (3 units)
  • GEOG 574 - Water Resources (3 units)
  • GEOG 578 - Practical Hydrologic Modeling (3 units)
  • GEOL 305 - Water and the Environment (3 units)
  • P H 304 - Environment and Public Health (3 units)
  • P H 362 - International Health (3 units)

Please use the Sustainability minor checklist to track your completion of the courses required.


Advising

Dr. David Carruthers
Office: NH 117
Email: [email protected]

Office Hours (Fall 2022): Tues. 2-3pm on Zoom and Wed. 2-3pm in person, NH 117

Important Links:  Fall 2022 Course List |  Major Academic Plan |  General Catalog |  Class Schedule