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):


  • EESC 103: Introduction to Environmental Science (N)

Choose two from the following list.  If more than two are taken, they may be counted as electives.

  • PHIL 230: Environmental Justice (H) OR HIST 300W: History of Nature (S) OR PHIL 135: Environmental Ethics (H)
  • ANTH 224: Anthropology of Development (S) OR ANTH 226: Culture and Consumption (S)
  • ECON 238: Environmental Economics (S) [note: this course has two ECO pre-requisites]
  • GSWS 213 Politics of Nature (S)
  • PSCI 247: Green Markets (S) OR PSCI 246:  Environmental Law and Policy (S) OR PSCI 243: Environmental Politics (S)

ELECTIVES (3 courses): Choose three from the following list.   At least one elective must be in science or engineering (N).  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.


  • EHUM 240: Environmental Apocalypse and the Anthropocene
  • EHUM 245: Race, Colonialism and Nature (formerly Environmental Literature)
  • EHUM 248: Food Justice, Urban Farming, Social Practice
  • EHUM 268: Decolonizing Food (formerly Food, Media, and Literature)

Social Sciences

  • ANTH 243: Energy and Power
  • HIST 226: Exploration, Science, and Adventure
  • HIST 263: Global History of Food
  • INTR 205: Global Sustainable Development
  • PHLT 232: Environmental Health Policy
  • PHLT 238: Environmental Health and Justice in the Rochester Community
  • PSCI 235: The Political Economy of US Food
  • PSCI 239: International Environmental Law

Natural Sciences 

  • BIOL 104K: Ecosystem Conservation and Human Society OR BIO 263: Ecology
  • CHE 150: Green Energy
  • CHE 260: Solar Cells
  • CHE 264: Biofuels
  • CHEM 286: Energy: Science, Technology and Society
  • EESC 105: Introduction to Climate Change
  • EESC 212: Climate Change from and Oceanography Perspective
  • EESC 213: Hydrology and Water Resources
  • EESC 119/219: Energy and Society
  • EESC 265: Paleoclimate
  • EESC 310: Science and Sustainability
  • EESC 320: Sustainable Systems 


There are two sustainability clusters, one in the social sciences, and one in the natural sciences and engineering academic division. There is also a humanities cluster called Sustainability and the Environmental Humanities (H1EHU001). Please go to the Environmental Humanities website for additional information about H1EHU001.

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.