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Structure and Requirements

The Minor in Sustainability requires two core courses and at least four elective courses. The core courses include IDS 206: an introductory team-taught course, and IDS 391: a Capstone Seminar.

All courses must be graded.

  1. Twenty hours are required, including IDS 206 (3 credits) and IDS 391 (3 credits). Up to two classes (8 credits) can be transfer or study abroad.
  2. Students must take at least one approved course in each of the three divisions of the university (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities) and can count no more than two from their major.
  3. A capstone exercise will deepen student engagement with the issues and perspectives through research, internship, campus project, or other practicum experience. Capstone experiences can be supervised by any appropriate faculty member or study abroad faculty member and may be carried out in a course or non-course experience. Registration in the capstone seminar will provide a community of fellow minors, the final paper will have at least 3,500 words.
  4. A rotating Steering Committee will provide guidance and supervision throughout the student's progress through the Minor.

Capstone Deadlines: Students wishing to take the Capstone Seminar must have an initial meeting with their advisor no later than September 30th, the Fall before they plan to take the Capstone. A first draft proposal for their project is due October 15th.


  • Why would I minor in Sustainability?

    It's not just a buzzword! Training in sustainability helps you discern between "greenwashing" and substantive efforts to remediate inequities in business practices, evaluate energy production and consumption, assess the role of human capital, and understand the human impact in the natural world.

  • How will the Sustainability Minor assist my career options?

    We now live in the Anthropocene, an era defined by human impact. Sustainability is a rapidly growing specialty that has applications in many careers: clean energy, technology, education, management, political science, business and more. The interdisciplinary structure of the Sustainability Minor helps you to develop tools to think critically and creatively about the complex issues facing today's world. Your Capstone project and your portfolio are designed for your personal and professional development, and to help you stand out in a competitive environment.

  • What if I want to study abroad?

    CIPA offers many opportunities to engage in sustainability-related coursework around the world. From immersion learning to field projects, these international options can be an Individualized course of study in sustainability.

  • Why is the minor interdisciplinary?

    The challenges and solutions surrounding issues of sustainability are complex and require multiple perspectives to be best understood. There is no single department at a university that can encompass all of the disciplines related to sustainability. Students are empowered to engage with interconnected issues utilizing the strengths and methodologies of multiple departments. The natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities all bring valuable perspectives to identifying and evaluating sustainability-related issues.

  • How do I choose courses?

    There are two core courses for the minor: Foundations (IDS 206) and a Capstone (IDS 391). The remainder of your coursework can be selected from an extensive list of classes approved to satisfy the minor including many CIPA options, Students may also petition to have a course accepted for the minor if they can demonstrate a relevant learning outcome. The minor requires 20 credit hours of sustainability-related coursework.

  • Will I have the opportunity to do independent research?

    YES! There are many ways to pursue specialized areas of interest that relate to sustainability. Students may use their Capstone course to build on research projects, internships, independent study that originated elsewhere or choose to apply a sustainability perspective to coursework in a class that they've petitioned to be approved for the minor.