Sustainability Studies Minor

Sustainability Studies Minor

The Sustainability Studies Minor provides University of Maryland students the opportunity to explore pressing environmental topics such as global food systems, renewable energy, emerging environmental threats, ecological design thinking, and much more.

Whether you’re studying Animal Sciences or Applied Agriculture, Environmental Science and Policy or Plant Science or Landscape Architecture, AGNR students are the world’s future environmental leaders, ensuring that the University of Maryland maintains its mission as a land grant university to preserve the natural resources of our planet.

The minor can be paired with any major and since its creation in 2012, has remained one of the university’s most popular and globally relevant minors.

The Sustainability Studies Minor is an all-campus minor sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the School of Public Policy.

What is Sustainability?

In 1987, the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations defined sustainable development as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As sustainability professionals, we work to enact effective change within our disciplines and organizations to align with this development mindset. Our curriculum explores the many ways human activity supports or conflicts with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as how we can more broadly embrace the triple bottom line of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.

Why should I consider completing the minor?

The minor complements any major on campus and provides both intellectual breadth and depth in a challenging new area of inquiry that is gaining a high level of interest in businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. A minor in Sustainability Studies and a major in any discipline will provide excellent thinking and problem-solving skills for you as a citizen, employee, or graduate student. 

Please note that students wishing to declare the minor must do so one full academic year in advance of graduation. For example, students graduating in Fall 2022 must declare the minor no later than the drop/add period in Spring 2022.

What's Required

  • 15 credits of course work
  • At least 9 of those credits must be upper level (300 or 400 level)
  • A limit of 6 credits may double-count for your major or any other academic program (e.g. a citation); no coursework can overlap between minors. Up to three credits may be an approved internship, research, or study abroad experience.
  • Students take (a) one common required course, AGNR/PLCY 301, Sustainability;
  • (b) one approved course (minimum of 3 credits) from each of three thematic areas, Science and Technology, Policy and Institutions, and Social and Human Dimensions; and,
  • (c) 3 credits comprised of an additional approved course, an internship, or an approved study abroad experience

How do we approach teaching/learning?

Courses for the Sustainability Studies Minor provide students an opportunity to learn from world-class faculty in multiple disciplines. Having the opportunity to take courses from a wide variety of subject areas gives students the ability to consolidate learning by synthesizing ideas from many perspectives as well as applying their knowledge to real-world problems. Students examine the complexities and conflicts in meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations. Students will enhance their ability to critically think and advance solutions to issues that impact the environment, economy, and social equity.

How will your experiences in this minor prepare you for the next steps after graduation?

Sustainability Studies Minor students are strongly encouraged to gain career-related experience. Not only does the minor focus on thematic area courses like Science and Technology, Policy and Institutions, and Social and Human Dimensions but students also see the full picture of sustainability by choosing elective courses such as the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, science writing, and sustainability analytics. Experiential learning is an important part of the minor, there are several approved study aboard courses, providing a unique way to get hands-on experience and the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of sustainability and what it means to different people and cultures around the world. 

Sustainability Studies Minor Resources and How to Apply

For advising questions, please contact

For general questions about the minor, please contact: 

Joanna Goger, Senior Lecturer
Environmental Science and Policy Program
Co-Director, Sustainability Studies Minor