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Pathways to Success

The Sustainability Studies Major provides students with a broad education in sustainability related scholarship and practice, with Core Courses in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, and an extensive range of Cluster Courses in scores of different departments, schools and colleges encompassing diverse professions and academic orientations.


With all these choices for majors, narrowing your options and planning your program of study can be challenging.


First, it is important to recognize that they are many different pathways to success. Sustainability Studies majors engage in a wide variety of careers after graduation, including the non-profit sector; international organizations and development; education; the business world, both local and corporate; municipal, state and federal government agencies; politics and diplomacy; and further studies in graduate school and professional education, including environmental law.  Depending on your career aspirations, different Core Courses and Cluster Courses within the Sustainability Studies program will provide the knowledge and skill sets you require.


Regardless of your career aspirations, your will benefit from developing your communication skills, critical thinking and systems thinking skills, and collaborative problem-solving (teamwork) skills.  And all students benefit from a liberal arts education, addressing sustainability issues from diverse perspectives in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.  These skill sets and liberal arts perspectives are provided in the five Core Courses each student is required to take.


Beyond that, consider your specific career aspirations and the different skill sets they demand.  A student pursuing a career in international development, for instance, may want to take more Cluster B courses (e.g. International Environmental Relations; Non-governmental Organizations; and International Development Policy).  A student seeking a career in conservation may want to take more courses in Cluster D (e.g. Introduction to Ecology; Biodiversity Conservation; Wildlife Ecology and Management).  Students who intend to work in the fields of agriculture or forestry might take more courses in Cluster C (e.g. Organic and Sustainable Crop Production; Urban Forestry; Global Forests).  And a student interested in government or politics may want to take more courses in Cluster A and Cluster B (e.g. Environment and Society; Environmental Ethics and Politics; Environment and Cultural Behavior).


In turn, it is highly recommended that you engage in experiential education before you graduate.  While every major will have an internship during his or her senior year in the capstone course, Sustainability in Action, it is highly beneficial to gain experience early and often.  Consider doing an internship, a study abroad, or some other form of experiential education during your sophomore and junior years, as well as over summer breaks.  The pursuit of sustainability demands lifelong learning.  Most of that will happen experientially after you graduate.  But you can and should get a good start at hands-on education while you are in college.


So, explore Career Opportunities to get a sense of the knowledge foundations and skill sets that different careers demand.  Then browse the wide variety of Core Courses and Cluster Courses available to you.  It is worth the effort to search for and examine the syllabi of tje courses you are considering, to better inform your choices.  The Director of Sustainability Studiesis always available to discuss your options, and your opportunities.