Sustainability Related Degree Programs & Courses

Group of students in forest taking notes on walking tour

The Sustainability Education program helps students connect with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities’ many opportunities to integrate sustainability into your education.

    Undergraduate Majors

    The University of Minnesota offers several undergraduate majors that address issues of sustainability and can stand freely or be paired with the sustainability studies minor.

    Architecture B.S./B.D.A.

    School of Architecture
    College of Design
    Architects develop a constructive synthesis between the individual and community, between private interests and the common good, and among the natural, social and technological. This requires a comprehensive education with a thorough understanding of the social, economic and ecological forces that shape our built environment.

    Bachelor of Individualized Studies/Individually Designed Interdepartmental Major

    Individualized Degree Programs
    College of Liberal Arts
    The Bachelor of Individualized Studies and the Individually Designed Interdepartmental Major are programs of individualized study for students who want to tailor an educational program to their own specific interests and goals. The BIS is a degree program in which students combine three areas of concentration rather than choose a single major. One of these concentrations may be from outside CLA, and the concentrations may be unrelated to one another. An IDIM enables students to focus on a unifying theme by combining courses from three or more departments within CLA.

    Biology, Society & the Environment B.A.

    College of Liberal Arts
    An interdisciplinary major, the Biology, Society & Environment program consists of an in-depth examination of the relevance of biology to social and environmental issues. Combining coursework in ethics, social sciences and the humanities in addition to biology, the BSE program is great for students looking to incorporate some of the underlying principles of sustainability into a variety of fields, including scientific research, health care, government, business and the environment.

    Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering B.B.E.

    Department of Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering
    College of Science and Engineering/College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences
    Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering provides a scientific and engineering background for students aspiring to help improve the environment by developing solutions to environmental issues through harnessing the molecular building blocks of natural resources for sustainable use. The major features an Environmental & Ecological Engineering concentration that complements the principles of sustainability emphasized by the minor.

    Civil Engineering B.C.E.

    Department of Civil, Environmental and Geoengineering
    College of Science and Engineering
    Civil engineers play a crucial role in developing and maintaining modern infrastructural systems. These systems, including roads, skyscrapers, dams, water supply systems and pollution control, will be an integral part of a sustainable future.

    Ecology, Evolution & Behavior B.S.

    Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
    College of Biological Sciences
    An ecological perspective examines the growth and maintenance of populations and their interactions within communities, examining the relationships between organisms and the physical events in their ecosystems. A perspective of behavioral biology studies environmental adaptations, behavioral mechanisms and the evolution of social systems. The aim of the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior is to integrate these perspectives in pursuit of an understanding capable of addressing many of the biological and environmental challenges facing society today.

    Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management B.S.

    Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management
    College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences
    The Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management major features concentrations in Conservation Resource Management; Corporate Environmental Management; Environmental Education & Communication; Environmental Science; and Policy, Planning, Law & Society. Each of these concentrations gives students the ability to approach environmental issues from multiple perspectives relevant to sustainability.

    Fisheries & Wildlife B.S.

    Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology
    College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences
    The Fisheries & Wildlife B.S. curriculum offers the broad background in biological and environmental sciences needed for many careers in natural resource and environmental fields. Graduates are prepared to research, plan and implement the management, protection and enhancement of fisheries and aquatic resources, wildlife resources and biological diversity. Areas of specialization in this major include conservation biology, fisheries and wildlife.

    Food Systems B.S.

    College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences
    Food is a major pillar of sustainability as it has enormous influence over human, economic and environmental health. Students in the Food Systems major design their own focus or choose one of three tracks: Organic and Local Food Production; Agroecology; or Consumers and Markets. Graduates from this program may go on to work in corporate supply chains, specialty enterprises, research, community development or policy analysis.

    Forest and Natural Resource Management B.S.

    Department of Forest Resources
    College of Food, Agriculture & Natural Resource Sciences
    The Forest and Natural Resource Management curriculum educates students in a wide range of natural resource and environmental management topics from forest ecology to park management to urban vegetation. Students may specialize in one of three tracks: Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation, Park and Protected Area Management, or Urban and Community Forestry.

    Geography B.A./B.S.

    Department of Geography
    College of Liberal Arts
    The Geography major offers four main areas of study, including a track in Environmental Systems. This track examines the natural environments and resources that sustain human life and activity, from local to global patterns of climate, soils, vegetation and surface land form, and ways of analyzing and predicting both human-caused and naturally occurring environmental change.

    Global Studies B.A.

    Institute for Global Studies
    College of Liberal Arts
    The Global Studies major is an interdepartmental program ideal for students interested in working with public, private and non-profit organizations dealing with social issues in an international context. The major features a thematic concentration in Environment & Sustainable Development which meshes well with the Sustainability Studies Minor.

    Inter-College Program B.S. or B.A.

    Individualized Degree Programs

    College of Continuing and Professional Studies

    The Inter-College Program allows students to self-design a cross-collegiate Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree.  Students work closely with their advisor to develop a program specific to their individual interests and goals.  In ICP, students plan a two-area, three-area or thematic program using majors, minors or other select programs across two or more colleges.

    Landscape Design and Planning B.E.D.

    Department of Landscape Architecture
    College of Design
    Landscape architecture focuses on issues of land use, quality of life, and environmental health for an ever-increasing human population. In dealing with these issues, landscape architects integrate the design, planning and management of the landscape to create meaningful outdoor environments that sustain ecological function while fulfilling human aspirations for community development, public health and safety.

    Plant Science

    Department of Horticultural Science
    College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences
    Plant Science students develop their own focuses based on personal and professional interests, such as sustainable plant health, plant breeding, floriculture, turf grass science or agroecology. Graduates of this program may go on to pursue careers in food production, pest and weed control, biotechnology, landscape restoration and many other fields.

    Political Science B.A.

    Department of Political Science
    College of Liberal Arts
    Political science majors study an array of topics including the exercise of power and influence; sources of conflicts and resolutions; the relationships among politics, the economy and culture; the adoption and implementation of public policy; and the development of political systems. These topics are studied at all levels from local to global, and provide an understanding that is key to achieving sustainable solutions.

    Sustainable Systems Management B.S.

    Department of Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering
    College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences
    Sustainable systems management (SSM) is a comprehensive systems approach to advancing solutions for processes and products, commercial and industrial businesses, buildings, and energy systems that promote sustainability. Gain the knowledge and skills to integrate the goals of economic growth and development in global markets with protecting public health and the environment.

    Urban Studies B.A./B.S.

    Urban Studies Program
    College of Liberal Arts
    The Urban Studies program examines the conceptual and analytical frameworks and specialized skills needed for professions in urban change or development in public agencies, non-profits, or private business. This program also provides a foundation for continued study in urban planning, law, social welfare, public affairs, or the social and environmental sciences. Sustainability Studies students may be interested in a concentration in Urban Infrastructure and the Environment.

    Graduate Programs

    The University of Minnesota’s colleges and professional schools provide a wide range of options for advanced degrees for students who desire to incorporate sustainability into their careers.  In addition, IonE offers co-curricular programs and opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to develop skills they can use to prepare to work collaboratively across disciplines.

    The following graduate degree programs include sustainability as a required learning outcome.

    Architecture MS: Sustainable Design

    Master of Architecture | College of Design

    Biostatistics – School of Public Health – University of Minnesota

    Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Management, Masters and PhD

    Conservation Sciences, Masters and PhD

    Environmental Health Sciences, MS, MPH and PhD

    Geography, M.A. and Ph.D.

    Global Public Health, Graduate Minor

    Global Health Certificate

    Health Equity Graduate Minor

    Landscape Architecture Master Degree Programs

    Master of Human Rights | Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs

    Ecological Restoration Graduate Minor | College of Design

    Master of Development Practice | Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs

    Master of Heritage Studies & Public History | College of Design

    Maternal & Child Health MPH

    Natural Resources Science and Management, MS and PhD

    Plant Pathology, MS and PhD

    Population Studies Minor

    Public Affairs, Ph.D. (Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Sub Plan)

    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Affairs

    Public Health Masters Degrees in Administration, Informatics, Nutrition, Practice, & Core Concepts

    Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy, Master of Science | Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs

    Supply Chain Management M S | Carlson School of Management

    Sustainable Agriculture Systems Minor

    Master of Urban and Regional Planning | Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs

    Water Resource Science, MS and Ph.D.

    If you would like to see a graduate program added to this list, please contact us at sustainu@umn.edu

    Sustainability Courses

    Use this Course List to search for a sustainability-focused or -inclusive course on the Twin Cities campus. This list includes courses offered in the past three years. Revised 08/22.

    The Environmental Justice Course List includes 1000 to 5000 level courses categorized as introducing, being related to, or focusing on environmental justice.  Revised 03/21.

    Contact sustainu@umn.edu if you know of a sustainability course that is not listed.