Jul 18, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025

Sustainability Studies B.S.


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The Sustainability Studies bachelor’s program (SUST), 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). 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


Spring


Second Year


Fall


Spring


Third Year


Please note: The third year of the program varies depending upon which semester the student chooses to take away following The Arch Summer Semester classes. Please note the following differences in curriculum:

  • If students are going to be away during the Fall semester of their junior year, they should take the listed courses for each term and any courses under the Fall Away Track for year three of their program.
     
  • If students are going to be away during the Spring semester of their junior year, they should take the listed courses for each term and any courses under the Spring Away Track for year three of their program.

The Arch Summer Semester*


*For more information on the ARCH process, please click here: The Arch 

  • SUST Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4  4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall OR Spring


 

  • CAS CourseCredit Hours: 4  1
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall or Spring


Fourth Year


Fall


  • Credit Hours: 4
  • CAS CourseCredit Hours: 4  1
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • SUST Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4

Spring


Footnotes


  1. The Complementary Area of Study (CAS) is four sustainability-related courses, usually from a single department, two of which must be at the 4000-level. Dual majors automatically satisfy this requirement.
  2. All Rensselaer students must complete the 24-credit Science Core. This includes at least 2 mathematics courses (8 credits), such as MATH 1010 , MATH 1020 , MATH 1500 , MATH 1520 , or others. Sustainability Studies majors are required to 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 advisor. Dual majors should follow the Science Core requirements of their other major.
  3. This course may be substituted with INQR 1110   or other environmentally-focused HASS Inquiry course.
  4. Sustainability Studies Advanced Options include STSO 4260 , STSO 4280 , STSO 4320 , STSO 4330 , STSO 4340  , STSO 4350 STSO 4360 STSO 4500 ,STSO 4600  . 

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