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Undergraduate Program

Minor and Clusters


The Sustainability minor is intentionally interdisciplinary and includes core classes from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The minor allows for three additional electives chosen from the sciences or social sciences (at least one science elective is required). The goal of the minor is to provide a curriculum that encourages students to learn to communicate and to solve problems of societal relevance that straddle disciplinary boundaries in sustainability and global change.

Beginning in Fall 2016, and moving forward, the Sustainability minor satisfies either the Social Science (SS) or Natural Science (NS) requirement of the Rochester Curriculum if at least three courses are taken from the respective division. 

Program Management and Advising

Students who want to declare a minor in sustainability or who want to discuss questions about a minor in sustainability should contact the program advisor, Professor Karen Berger (Earth and Environmental Sciences) at

The Steering Committee for the sustainability minor was comprised of faculty from Anthropology, Chemical Engineering, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Philosophy, and Political Science Departments.


Some classes require prerequisites (noted below). AP equivalents or instructor approval is also acceptable.

Core (3 courses):

Required: EES 103: Introduction to Environmental Science

Choose two from the following list:
If more than two classes are taken, then the additional classes can be counted as an elective for the minor.

  • PHL 230: Environmental Justice (H) or HIS 300W: History of Nature (S) [prior to fall 2013 HIS 371]
  • ECO 238: Environmental Economics (S)
  • PSC 247: Green Markets (S) or PSC 246: Environmental Law and Policy (S)
  • ANT 224: Anthropology of Development (S) or ANT 223: Nature, Landscape and Environment (S) [valid through Fall 2012]

Electives (3 courses):

At least one elective must be in science or engineering. Other sustainability-related courses, such as those taken abroad or offered on an occasional basis, may be eligible for inclusion in the minor. Contact Professor Berger for approval.

  • ANT 219: Interdisciplinary Topics in Sustainability (S)
  • BIO 104: Ecosystem Conservation and Human Society (N) or BIO 263: Ecology (N)
  • CHE 150: Green Energy (N)
  • CHE 260: Solar Cells (N)
  • CHE 264: Biofuels (N)
  • CHM 286: Energy: Science, Technology and Society (N)
  • EES 105: Introduction to Climate Change (N)
  • EES 211: Geohazards and their Mitigation: Living on an Active Planet (N)
  • EES 212: Climate Change for an Oceanography Perspective (N)
  • EES 213: Hydrology and Water Resources (N)
  • EES 215: Environmental and Applied Geophysics (N)
  • EES 119/219: Energy and Society (N)
  • EES 265: Paleoclimate (N)
  • EES 320: Sustainable Systems (N)
  • CAS 245/ENG 245: Literature and the Modern Environmental Imagination (H)
  • CAS 250/ENG 250: Food Justice, Urban Farming, Social Practice (H)
  • CAS 267/ENG 267: Media Space: From Film to Smart Phones (H)
  • CAS 268/ENG 267: Food, Media, Literature (H)
  • PSC 121/EES 121: Sustainable Food Systems (S)
  • PSC 239: International Environmental Law (S)
  • PSC 243: Environmental Politics (S)



There are three sustainability clusters, one in the humanities, one in the social sciences, and one in the natural sciences and engineering academic division. 

Science and Sustainability (N1SUS001)

This cluster introduces students to the natural world and the impact humans have on it. It also discusses the basic ideas of energy availability and use, and introduces students to the social/philosophical background of sustainability.

Society and Sustainability (S1SUS001) 

This cluster introduces students to current thinking about sustainability policies and their consequences. Courses look at the intellectual/philosophical background of sustainability and important policies and their consequences for society. This cluster is intended especially for students in the natural sciences and engineering.

Sustainability and the Humanities (H1SUS001) 

This cluster introduces students to ways of understanding environmental values, histories, and relationships from a humanities perspective. By engaging environmental issues with an emphasis on interpretation, imagination, and culture, students will learn to think critically about the conceptual frameworks that shape how ecological problems and solutions are articulated.