A society grounded in the principles of sustainability achieves balance among the “Three Es”: Ecological integrity, Economic vitality, and Equity among people. The Sustainability Studies Minor (SSM) introduces students to the concepts, principles and ethical and moral issues that inform the sustainability paradigm. The SSM’s curriculum integrates classroom learning, field study, and service projects in a program that prepares students to apply the sustainability perspective to their future actions as producers, consumers, innovators and citizens... [more]
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The Earth belongs in usufruct to the living.
~ Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, September 6, 1789
- Flexible enough to suit your specific interests and educational goals.
- Builds practical skills and supports greening of the Mason campus through sustainability-related service projects.
- Prepares you to contribute to the global movement toward realizing a more healthy, just, and sustainable society.
Upon completion of the minor in Sustainability Studies a student should be able to demonstrate:
understanding of the human role: a well-grounded understanding—informed by natural s cience, social science, and humanistic perspectives—of the role humans have played in creating current environmental challenges, and that they must play in devising and implementing sustainable solutions to environmental problems;
sustainability analysis: an ability to apply the concept of sustainability in critically examining social issues related to the use of Earth’s natural resources;
ethical consideration: an ability to think critically about the diversity of ethical issues raised by human interactions with the environment, and to use these ethical insights as a foundation for responsible behavior;
- sustainability innovation: an ability to creatively and effectively apply the principles of sustainability to his or her own field of study.
To obtain a Sustainability Studies Minor requires a minimum of 16 pertinent credits. Among these, two core courses (8 credits) are required and the rest are considered electives.
Core Courses (8 credits)
- NCLC 210: Sustainable World (4 credits)
- EVPP 480: Sustainability in Action (4 credits; offered in spring semesters)
Elective Courses (8 credits minimum)
Electives for the minor (PDF) span many fields of study:
- Climate Dynamics
- Environmental Science
- Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies
With approval of participating faculty and SSM Co-Directors:
- Special projects for elective credit
- Additional courses which permit students to demonstrate learning objectives
To enroll in the Sustainability Studies Minor:
- Complete a declaration of minor form,* and draft a preliminary plan for when you expect to take SMM core and elective courses.
- Meet with an affiliated faculty member in your major field of study -- or with one of the SSM co-directors -- who will serve as your SSM advisor and review and help you to refine your course plan.
- Submit your declaration form and revised plan to either SMM co-director for their signature and subsequent delivery to the registrar's office. (Note: this plan may be revised subsequently during the Sustainable World course or in consultation with your SSM advisor.)
- Receive confirmation from either co-director that your enrollment form and plan have been accepted.
* On the form, please insert "2012" for catalog year and "SUST" for minor code.
Affiliated faculty of the Sustainability Studies Minor may provide one or more of the following services:
- Teach a core or elective course for the program
- Propose a new or existing course*
- Advise students enrolling in the Sustainability Minor
- Outreach to potential students of the program
- Participate in periodic Sustainability Studies Minor Executive Committee meetings as a member or observer
Any GMU professor or instructor may opt to affiliate with the Sustainability Studies Minor by contacting either program co-director and indicating which of these (or related) services she or he offers to provide. All affiliates will be included on our list of SSM-affiliated faculty.
* To propose a course for SSM elective credit, please submit the syllabus to the co-directors with a memo that explains how the course will help students advance toward one or more of the learning outcomes, listed above.
New Century College
Environmental Science & Policy
The Sustainability Studies Minor is co-implemented by New Century College and the College of Science's Environmental Science and Policy Department. For more information, please contact either of the program's co-directors.
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