Aug 20, 2018  
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019

Sustainability Studies


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The Sustainability Studies bachelor’s program, offered by the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS), is designed for environmentally conscious students who seek an education that blends social and natural sciences, humanities, and technology. 

Sustainability means ensuring the well-being and quality of life of present and future generations on Earth. The Sustainability Studies degree prepares students to use techniques and insights from the social sciences and humanities to pursue a healthy environment, economic prosperity, and social justice. The program prepares students for sustainability-oriented careers in non-profit organizations, public agencies, industry, manufacturing, retail, utilities, consulting, and research.

Sustainability Studies students complete a sequence of 10 courses (40 credits), including career development and a capstone research project. They also pursue a 16-credit Complementary Area of Study (CAS), which can include a minor in another department. Students learn about the history of environmental thought and law, current environmental controversies, and sustainable pathways and design. Courses examine how culture, politics, industry, and everyday ways of living impact the environment and human health.
 
The program is designed to facilitate dual majors with programs such as biology, chemistry, engineering, economics, or a wide array of other choices. Speak to an adviser in HASS Student Services for details about the curriculum for specific dual majors.

Outcomes of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete the Sustainability Studies program will demonstrate the ability to:

  • analyze the social, political, and economic dynamics of environmental problems and sustainable systems.
  • conduct research using methods from the social sciences and humanities to pursue sustainability, which will prepare students for graduate and professional studies.
  • collaborate with diverse stakeholders in order to formulate policy and design interventions that address sustainability issues, with attention to ethics, justice, and local cultural understandings.
  • identify job niches, business opportunities, research needs, and skills necessary to navigate the evolving sustainable careers landscape.

 

First Year


Fall


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Science Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
     

Spring


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Science Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
     

Second Year


Fall


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Science Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • SUST Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • Science Option  Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • CAS Course Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Third Year


The Arch Summer Semester


For students who have applied for and been granted an exception, The Arch Summer courses would be taken during the fall semester. For listing of the exception process go to: http://info.rpi.edu/arch/students/#ExceptionProcess

  • SUST Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • SUST Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall OR Spring


  • SUST Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • CAS Course Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fourth Year


Fall


  • CAS Course Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • CAS Course Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Footnotes


  1. The Complementary Area of Study (CAS) 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. [Formerly Technical Option]
  2. All Rensselaer students must complete a 24-credit “Science Core.” This includes at least 2 mathematics courses (8 credits), such as MATH 1010, MATH 1020, MATH 1500, MATH 1520, MATH 1620, or others with approval of adviser (MATH 1500 or MATH 1010 will count, but not both. The same rules applies: MATH 1020 or MATH 1520 or MATH 1620) Sustainability Studies majors must complete the Science Core with one biology course (e.g. BIOL 1010) and one of the following approved sequences: CHEM 1100 and CHEM 1200; ERTH 1030 and ERTH 1040; or 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.
  3. This course may be substituted with IHSS 1110 Nature/Society or another environmentally-focused first-year HASS course, subject to approval by the student’s adviser.
  4. Sustainability Studies Advanced Options include STSS 4260, STSS 4270, STSS 4280, STSS/STHH 4310, STSS 4330, STSH 4340, STSS 4350, STSS 4370, STSS 4500, STSH 4510, and STSS/STSH 4720.

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