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  Dec 11, 2017
 
 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2013-2014 [Archived Catalog]

Sustainability Studies


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The STS Sustainability Studies degree prepares students to use techniques and insights from the social sciences and humanities to address environmental problems. Students learn the history of the environmental thought and law, about current environmental controversies, and about sustainable pathways and design. Threats to human health in different locations are put in ecological and global context, drawing out how culture, politics, industry, and every-day ways of living impact the environment and human well-being.

Rensselaer’s STS Sustainability Studies degree has significant social science and humanities depth. The degree requires 40 social science and humanities credit hours (10 courses), including four communication-intensive courses. During the senior year, students move through a capstone sequence that includes a methods and research design course, and a senior thesis. Rigorous and creative teaching of social science methods is a signature aspect of the program. The degree also requires a four-course “technical option” in which students develop sustainability-oriented expertise in another department. Alternatively, students can pursue a dual degree, pairing the STS Sustainability Studies degree with a degree in physics, mechanical engineering, economics, or a wide array of other choices.

First Year


Fall


  • STSX-1xxx - Sustainability Debates Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 1 below)
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Science Option Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 4 below)

Spring


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Science Option Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 4 below)

Second Year


Fall


  •  HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Biology Elective Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 6 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • STSX-4xxx Sustainability Studies Option Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 5 below)
  • Science Elective Credit Hours 4
  • Technical Option I Credit Hours 4
         (See footnote 7 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours 4

Third Year


Fall


  • STSX-4xxx Sustainability Studies Option Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 5 below)
  • STSX-4xxx Sustainability Studies Option Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 5 below)
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Technical Option II Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 7 below)

Spring


  • STSS-4xxx Sustainability Studies Careers Seminar Credit Hours: 4
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Technical Option III Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 7 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fourth Year


Fall


  • STSX-4xxx Sustainability Studies Capstone Methods Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 8 below)
  • STSXx-4xxx Sustainability Studies Option Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 5 below)
  • Technical Option IV Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 7 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • STSX-4xxx Sustainability Studies Capstone Thesis Credit Hours: 4
         (See footnote 9 below)
  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Footnotes


  1. This course may be substituted with IHSS 19xx Nature/Society, IHSS 19xx, Environment and Politics, or other appropriate first-year seminar as approved by the advisor or the STS Sustainability Studies Working Group.
  2. MATH 1010 may be substituted. Dual majors should follow the math requirements of their other major.
  3. MATH 1020 or MATH 1520 may be substituted; other MATH or MATP courses may be substituted with approval of adviser.
  4. Science Options I and II including the following approved sequences:  CHEM 1100 and CHEM 1200; ERTH 1030 and ERTH 1040; and PHYS 1100 and PHYS 1200.  Other sequences may be substituted with approval of adviser. Dual majors should follow the Science core requirements of their other major.
  5. Sustainability Studies Options include all STSH/S 43xx, STSH/S 45xx, and selected other 4000-level STSH or STSS courses. At least one of these courses must be designated communication intensive. Dual majors should work with their adviser to select these courses in a way that ensures coherence, and ensures that the HASS humanities and social sciences distribution requirements are met.
  6. Students may elect BIOL 1010, but any BIOL course will satisfy the requirement. Dual majors should follow the Science core requirements of their other major, which may override this BIOL requirement.
  7. The Technical Option sequence is equivalent to a minor outside of STS:  four sustainability-related courses, usually from a single department, two of which must be at the 4000 level. Students are encouraged to earn an official minor with this sequence. Dual majors automatically satisfy this requirement.
  8. May be met through an approved list of existing courses containing a substantial methods component.
  9. May be met by the existing course, STSS 4980 Senior Project. A dedicated course for the Sustainability Studies major will be developed upon sufficient enrollment.

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