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 karen.berger@rochester.edu

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.

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.



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.