Sustainability is one of the nine core values of The George Washington University. GW holds a gold ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), in part, due to the hundreds of sustainability-related courses offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Unlike other universities where sustainability may be housed in a single school, the GW vision seeks to be genuinely trans-disciplinary, encompassing related courses from all of GW’s colleges and schools and most departments and programs. This organization of the curriculum encourages students to experiment with interdisciplinary methods and approaches.

Visit the Sustainability Program website for additional information.

Lead sustainability faculty: L. Benton-Short, K. Merrigan, R.Orttung, L. Paddock, D. Rain, M. Svoboda

In addition there are over 300 faculty involved in teaching sustainability related courses. Courses with sustainability content can be found by using the course attribute SUST in course search. 

The GW Sustainability Collaborative offers interdisciplinary team-taught courses on subjects related to sustainability. In addition there are over 350 courses at GW with sustainability related content. The “SUST” attribute has been applied to related courses from all of GW’s colleges and schools and most departments and programs. These courses can be found by searching for the course attribute “SUST.” 

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000s to 4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

SUST 1001. Introduction to Sustainability. 3 Credits.

The concept of sustainability is both broad and specific as it is applied to areas ranging from social systems to law, engineering, public health, and natural systems. The course considers goals, principles, and practical applications, with a multidisciplinary perspective on major environmental and social issues growing out of these concerns.

SUST 2002. The Sustainable City. 3 Credits.

This course explores the connection between cities and sustainability. We consider sustainability from a variety of theoretical and practical perspectives and examine some of the most pressing and critical issues that must be addressed in order to create a sustainable city.

SUST 3002. Climate Change and Policy. 3 Credits.

Climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective. Mitigation, adaptation, and intervention from the perspectives of public policy, economics, psychology, and public health. Climate modeling, green infrastructure, carbon capture and storage, climate justice, and international and multilateral environmental agreements. Recommended background: SUST 1001.

SUST 3003. The Sustainable Plate. 3 Credits.

How dietary choices affect not just health, but the environment and those involved in the production of food as well; interdisciplinary perspective on the impact of food on the future of the environment, the economy, and society.

SUST 3096. Research in Sustainability. 1-3 Credits.

Directed research with a GW faculty member. The faculty member directing the research assigns work, such as papers and assigned reading, as appropriate.

SUST 3097. Culminating Experience in Sustainability. 1-3 Credits.

A paid or unpaid internship, fieldwork, directed research, or community service with an organization engaged in two or more of the three major goals of sustainability: economic development, social equality, or environmental protection. Students complete a series of reflection essays, career preparations, and other assignments throughout the semester. Some study abroad programs and some research or service courses at GW can be used to fulfill the outside work requirement for SUST 3097, but students may still be asked to register for 1 credit of SUST 3097 to complete the reflective essays, career preparations, and/or outreach assignments. These special arrangements must be approved in advance by the director of the minor. ​ Prerequisite: SUST 1001.