Minor in Sustainability

GW offers an 18-credit undergraduate minor in sustainability that grounds students in the key concepts, principles, and issues of this transdisciplinary field. Unlike other universities, where sustainability is housed in a single college or school, at GW sustainability is a university-wide collaborative, overseen by the Provost, that involves faculty from all colleges and schools and that thereby immerses students in interdisciplinary methods and approaches. The minor integrates classroom instruction and community-based learning and research in a way that prepares students to incorporate sustainability’s triple-bottom line—environment, economy, and equity—into their personal and professional plans for the future.  

3 credits of the minor are completed by taking the required overview course  SUST 1001 Introduction to Sustainability. Taught by a faculty team representing five different colleges and schools at GW, the course is offered each fall and spring semester.

12 credits of the minor are completed by selecting courses offered in the three different tracks representing the very different disciplinary perspectives and skills that come together in sustainability. Each track includes a selection of courses from GW’s nine schools and colleges.

  • Track A — Environment/Earth Systems

Courses in the physical, natural, and applied sciences that consider the interdependence of physical and natural systems, including the human body.

  • Track B — Society and Sustainability

Courses in social sciences and humanities that consider how human relationships and forms of organization have shaped—and are shaped by—the ecosystems on which they depend.

  • Track C — Policy, Organization, and Leadership

Courses on methods and practices—from a spectrum of disciplines—that provide students with the practical knowledge and skills needed to effect change.

Students are required to take at least one course in each track. The remaining 3 credits  are taken as an elective course; students are encouraged to select a course—from any track—that reflects their particular interest in sustainability (e.g., climate change, development, energy, food, urban studies, water).

Each semester, many GW departments and programs offer special topics courses that may qualify for one of the minor’s three tracks. These courses, which are not included in the lists provided here, can be found on the website for the minor. Students should verify the status of special topics courses before incorporating them into their plans for completing the minor.

In addition, courses taken in study abroad programs, if pre-approved by the director of the minor, can be used to fulfill these track requirements.

3 credits in experiential learning are required as a culminating experience for the minor. Students might fulfill this requirement, in their junior or senior years, through directed research, an internship, or community service. Successful completion of SUST 1001 Introduction to Sustainability and formal approval by the director are prerequisites for registering for SUST 3096 Research in Sustainability, SUST 3097 Culminating Experience in Sustainability, or SUST 3098 Community Service in SUST. In addition to attending monthly class meetings and submitting reflective writing assignments, students are expected to perform at least 60 hours of service or work over the course of the semester at a minimum of 5 hours per week for at least 12 weeks.

Track A — Environment and Earth Systems

Note: This list does not include special topics courses, which also may count toward the minor with approval by the Program Director.  This course list may change throughout the year as new courses are offered. Please check the sustainability minor website for current course offerings. 

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • CE 1010 Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CE 1020 Introduction to a Sustainable World
  • CE 2510 Environmental Sustainability
  • CE 3520 Environmental Engineering I: Water Resources and Water Quality
  • CE 3521 Environmental Engineering Laboratory
  • CE 3730 Sustainable Urban Planning Dynamics
  • CE 4410 Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering
  • CE 4411 Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory
  • CE 4530 Environmental Engineering II: Water Supply and Pollution Control
  • MAE 4149 Thermal Systems Design

School of Public Health And Health Services

Track B — Society and Sustainability

Note: This list does not include special topics courses, which also may count toward the minor with approval by the Program Director.  This course list may change throughout the year as new courses are offered. Please check the sustainability minor website for current course offerings. 

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

School of Public Health And Health Services

Track C — Policy, Organization, and Leadership

Note: This list does not include special topics courses, which also may count toward the minor with approval by the Program Director.  This course list may change throughout the year as new courses are offered. Please check the sustainability minor website for current course offerings. 

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

School of Public Health And Health Services

Sustainability Collaborative