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Environment and Sustainability Minor

The Environment and Sustainability minor introduces students to the world of environmental studies by encouraging them to explore environmental problem-solving from multiple disciplinary perspectives (e.g. economics, political science, sociology, ethics, psychology, and architecture). Only by familiarizing ourselves with the perspectives and tools of disciplines such as these can we hope to meaningfully address the serious environmental problems facing us at the local, national and global levels.


The Environment and Sustainability minor requires a minimum of 15 credit hours.

All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the following courses.

ECON 225: Introduction to Environmental Economics
3 credit hours

Economic principles are used to analyze contemporary environmental issues. The impacts of population and economic growth on natural resource depletion are explored.

PHIL 320: Environmental Ethics
3 credit hours

This course seeks to develop a better understanding of both the factual and ethical dimensions of our current and possible future environments. Explores several contemporary approaches in environmental ethics (including deep ecology, ecofeminism, animal rights, market efficiencies, the loss of biodiversity and responses from deontological, utilitarian and virtue ethics, etc.) and representative theoretical problems (e.g., Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” vs. natural rights views, ecological holism vs. moral atomism, market efficiency vs. moral obligations, etc.). Using a case-study approach, students then learn to apply different ethical frameworks to several ethical choices occasioned by human interaction with the natural order.

PSYC 333: Psychology of Sustainability
3 credit hours

An investigation of the connection between human behavior and environmental issues. Topics will include psychological perspectives on the issues of conservation, ecopsychology, cognition and motivation as they relate to interactions with the natural environment.

Choose two (6 hrs.): 

ARCH 154: Why Cities Matter
3 credit hours

Soon, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Yet rarely do we pause to consider the meaning and significance of these places as complex products of human ingenuity. This course is designed to help non-majors understand cities both as three-dimensional artifacts and as settings for social and cultural innovation. Special emphasis will be placed on how cities and urban experiences have been interpreted in art, literature, and film.

ENGL 375: Land and Literature
3 credit hours

This course traces the roots of contemporary thinking about the land in literature both ancient and modern. We will read a series of texts from the Bible, classical Greek culture, early modern England, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Students should develop a sophisticated, wide-ranging understanding of how contemporary American culture has imagined (and treated) the natural world.

PLSC 323: Issues in Environmental Policy
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 163, ECON 225, and PHIL 320 or declared Political Science major or minor. This course explores how societies solve environmental problems. By applying policy analysis tools to real-world case studies, students learn how policy outcomes represent a tension between the questions, what is the best thing to do and what can actually be achieved?

SOCI 306: Social Movements
3 credit hours

An examination of historical and contemporary collective protest movements that seek change in or preservation of the social and political structure of society. Course will survey theory and research on social change featuring case studies that include the United States labor movement, civil rights, feminism, gay/lesbian rights, environmentalism, animal rights and the new right conservatism movement.