Sustainability

The Sustainability program features a bachelor of science (B.S.) and a minor for students to focus on environmental, economic, and social sustainability to prepare for the growing job market in this dynamic and valuable multi-disciplinary career area.

An overarching goal of sustainability science is to help society and its economy meet the needs of today's generation in ethical and environmentally responsible ways without jeopardizing the needs and health of future generations or our planet's ecosystems. Essentially, sustainability scientists are responsible for helping businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and others develop and implement ways to be better stewards of our natural (minerals, rocks, soils, water, air) and living resources (forests, oceans, reefs, crops, microorganisms, etc.), while facilitating enhancement of our collective human resources (cultures, languages, diversity, etc.) and economies by solving challenges on a planet with a growing population. 

The major provides an opportunity to become a broadly-trained environmental scientist with expertise in Sustainability and proficiency in GIS and other geotechnologies.  Our successful graduates have strong written communication skills and a well-developed portfolio that includes real-world work experiences.  Students in the major will complete core coursework in Geography, Geology, and Biology (focus on the environment), develop a solid understanding of allied sciences including Psychology and Sociology (focus on ethics), and gain experience in Economics and Business (focus on economics). Students are also encouraged to earn a GIS certificate or minor in the Geography-Earth Science Department and/or to take a minor in a related field. 

All students will complete an internship and are encouraged to take advantage of other high-impact learning activities to complement their coursework. These include service-learning experiences, student research projects, and other field-based and hands on learning made available through the Center for Land Use and Sustainability (CLUS), the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, the Campus Community Farm, student clubs and organizations including the Geography-Earth Science Organization (GESO), Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) Honor Society, Students for Environmental Action and Sustainability (SEAS).

What are the career prospects? 

The need for sustainability scientists is projected to grow continuously. In Pennsylvania alone, over 30,000 jobs in sustainability fields are projected by 2026. Around the U.S. and the globe there will be a demand for well-trained workers who have a wealth of disciplinary knowledge in sustainability and the diverse set of qualitative and quantitative skills centered in the Geosciences.  Our major and minor programs will prepare graduates to enter this emerging and growing field and become leaders in this industry.