Course Requirements / Courses

Students take 6 courses from throughout the curriculum: 2 theory/representation courses, 2 sustainability in practice courses, 1 course focused at the community level, and 1 course focused on sustainable solutions related to specific problems or issues.

Sustainability: Theory and Representation (2 courses) – These courses primarily focus on theory including basic science and social science, Sustainability Studiesthe representation of nature and sustainability, and environmental ethics and history. They provide the framework and context for further work in Sustainability Studies. Students take 2 courses listed below, one must be in the Sciences (BIO, CHM, ESC), and one must be from the Humanities or Social Sciences (ATH, ECN, ENG, HST, PHL, SOC).

ATH 230 – Native American Ecology
ATH 310 – Human Ecology
ESC 111 – Topics in Environmental Science
ESC 113 – Environmental Science I
BIO 111 – Concepts of Biology: Crisis Earth
BIO 260 – Field Botany and Plant Ecology
BIO 270 – Ecology
CHM 101 – Chemistry of the Environment
ECN 245, 246 – Environmental Economics
ECN 249, 250 – Economics of natural resources and sustainability
ENG 260 – Literature and the Environment
ENG 338, 339 – City, frontier, & empire in American Literature
ENG 357 – Native American Literature
HST 341, 342 – Environmental History of the US
HST 384 - Trees & Disease: Latin American Environmental History
PHL 246 – Environmental Philosophy
SOC 340 – Sociology of Development
SOC 370 – Sociology of Food

Sustainability in Practice (2 courses) – These courses have an applied focus, and offer a substantial research or service-learning component related to sustainabilitySustainability Studies and the environment. Although these courses may also cover theoretical aspects, they are differentiated from the above group by providing both hands-on experiences and more focus on the application of theory and basic science. Students take two courses listed below from two different departments or programs.

ARS 213 - Drawing From Nature
BIO 262 - Cultural and Economic Botany
BIO 268 – Freshwater Ecology
BIO 275-279 – Field Investigations in Biology
BIO 465 – Conservation Biology
COM 336, 337 – Environmental Communication
PSC 216, 217 – Environmental Politics and Policy Making
PHY 180 – Energy and the Environment
SOC 320 – Environmental Sociology
SUS 960 – Internship

Sustainable Communities (1 course) – These courses examine sustainability at the community level. They focus on analysis and problem solving by examining a variety of issues confronted by a particular community, and offer opportunities to work with members of that community to understand and solve problems at the human-environment interface.

SUS 350 – Environmental and Cultural Conservation in Costa Rica
SUS 355 – Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Bangladesh
SUS 365 – Local Sustainability

Sustainable Solutions (1 course) – Either through a seminar course or independent research, students focus on a particular issue such as energy, food, or sustainable design and work towards the development of practical solutions. The focus here is on a specific problem and solutions that might be applied to it on local, national, and global scales. Students are offer opportunities for synthesis and application and actively involve studentsSustainability Studies in the scientific methods of hypothesis development and testing, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and dissemination of results.

SUS 405 – Sustainable Solutions
SUS 970 – Research

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SUS 350. Environmental and Cultural Conservation in Costa Rica
Students explore solutions to the delicate problem of environmental and cultural conservation in developing countries with a focus on Costa Rica.Sustainability Studies During the spring semester, students develop projects and prepare for the two-week study/research/travel experience to Costa Rica at the end of May. This preparation includes study of the area’s ecological diversity; political, cultural and social issues; research skills; and relevant Spanish vocabulary and conversation skills. In Costa Rica, students explore a variety of habitats, live in and interact with members of a small town, and conduct both community service and independent research projects. Research projects focus on the ecology, sociology, culture, sustainability, and public health of the region. One of the objectives of the program is to remove the blinders of specific discipline-based learning and of our own culture to show that if we are to develop sustainable solutions.

SUS 355. Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Bangladesh
This team-taught course examines the impact of climate change on economic, social and political development by focusing on the nation of Bangladesh. In addition to introducing students to the science and politics of climate change, the course also examines the specific environmental, economic and social challenges confronting Bangladesh’s political development since its independence; investigates the environmental and social consequences of state-sponsored development strategies, especially recent market-based “neo-liberal” policies; and evaluates new “sustainable development” strategies that are emerging as a response to the challenges posed by climate change.

SUS 365. Local Sustainability
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing sustainability at the local level either in the Muhlenberg community or communities in the Lehigh Valley, and will explore human-environment issues within the context of the relationship among individuals and institutions. Through readings, presentations, and the development of individual research projects, students will assess current sustainability efforts and develop recommendations for future efforts. Research projects may include surveying community members about perceptions and attitudes towards sustainability and environmental issues, assessing current sustainability efforts, and interviewing local experts, members of organizations and politicians. Priorities for research will be determined in collaboration with the community, and results and recommendations will be shared.
Prerequisite: Any single course in the Sustainability Studies Minor

SUS 405. Sustainable Solutions
An interdisciplinary approach to developing and assessing sustainable solutions to meet the needs of human society and the environment on local, regional, and global scales. Each offering of this course will focus on a particular issue such as food, energy, green design, or waste production. Students will read the trade and primary literature as it relates to each specific theme, and then through project-based learning will design and test potential solutions that might help achieve sustainability. Students will study the issues and focus on design, data collection, and dissemination related to solving the problem being analyzed.
Prerequisite: Any two courses in the Sustainability Studies Minor

SUS 960. Sustainability Studies Internship
Internships arranged with local, national, and international public or private organizations in the areas of development, environment, and sustainability in practice.

SUS 970. Sustainability Studies Research
Faculty mentored student research focusing on sustainable problem solving emphasizing design, data collection, and dissemination.