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.

At least 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, fieldwork, an internship (paid or unpaid), or community service. Successful completion of SUST 1001 Introduction to Sustainability and formal approval by the director are prerequisites for registering for SUST 3097 Culminating Experience in Sustainability. In addition to attending periodic class meetings (~ one each month), submitting reflective writing assignments, and completing career preparations with GW's Career Services,  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. Some study abroad programs and some research or service courses at GW can be used to fulfill this 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.  ​

Track A — Environment and Earth Systems

One course from Track A must be selected as part of the minor program. For their 3-credit elective, students are encouraged to select a course, from any track, that reflects their particular interest in sustainability.

Note: The list of courses in the track does not include special topics courses, which also may count toward the minor with the approval of 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
BISC 1005The Biology of Nutrition and Health
BISC 1006The Ecology and Evolution of Organisms
BISC 1007Food, Nutrition, and Service
BISC 1008Understanding Organisms through Service Learning
BISC 1115
BISC 1125
Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
and Introduction to Cells and Molecules Laboratory
BISC 1116
BISC 1126
Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
and Introduction to Organisms Laboratory
BISC 2305Plant Biology
BISC 2334WIntegrative Biology of Fishes
BISC 2450Organic Evolution
BISC 2454General Ecology
BISC 3459Field Biology
BISC 3460Conservation Biology
BISC 3461Plant-Animal Interactions
BISC 3565Plant Ecology and Evolution
CHEM 1003Contemporary Science for Nonscience Majors
CHEM 1004Contemporary Science for Nonscience Majors
CHEM 2085Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 3140Geochemistry
GEOG 1002Introduction to Physical Geography
GEOG 2108Weather and Climate
GEOG 2110
GEOG 2134Energy Resources
GEOG 2136Water Resources
GEOG 2137Environmental Hazards
GEOL 1001Physical Geology
GEOL 1002Historical Geology
GEOL 1005Environmental Geology
GEOL 2106Oceanography
GEOL 2159Geobotanical Ecology of the Central Appalachians
GEOL 3131Global Climate Change
GEOL 3138Hydrogeology
GEOL 3191Geology of Energy Resources
HONR 1033Honors Seminar: Scientific Reasoning and Discovery
School of Engineering and Applied Science
CE 1010Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering
CE 1020Introduction to a Sustainable World
CE 2510Environmental Sustainability
CE 3140Sustainability in Engineering Materials
CE 3520Environmental Engineering I: Water Resources and Water Quality
CE 3521Environmental Engineering Laboratory
CE 3730Sustainable Urban Planning Dynamics
CE 4410Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering
CE 4411Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory
CE 4530Environmental Engineering II: Water Supply and Pollution Control
CE 4620Hydrology and Hydraulic Design
School of Public Health and Health Services
PUBH 3132Health and Environment
PUBH 3150Sustainable Energy and Environmental Health

*For the elective, students are encouraged to select a course, from any track, that reflects their particular interest in sustainability.

Track B — Society and Sustainability

One course from Track B must be selected as part of the minor program. For their 3-credit elective, students are encouraged to select a course, from any track, that reflects their particular interest in sustainability.

Note: The list of courses in the track does not include special topics courses, which also may count toward the minor with the approval of 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
AMST 2440The American City
AMST 2521American Architecture II
AMST 3810Planning Cities
ANTH 2502Anthropology of Science and Technology: Twenty-First-Century Brave New Worlds
ANTH 3407Conservation in a Changing World: Human and Animal Behavior
ANTH 3501Anthropology of Development
ANTH 3502Cultural Ecology
ANTH 3504Illness, Healing, and Culture
ANTH 3513Anthropology of Human Rights
ANTH 3701Native Peoples - North America
ANTH 3803Old World Prehistory: First Farmers to First Cities
ANTH 3804Origins of the State and Urban Society
ECON 2136Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
GEOG 1003Society and Environment
GEOG 2127Population Geography
GEOG 2133People, Land, and Food
GEOG 2140Cities and Societies
GEOG 2141Cities in the Developing World
GEOG 3143Urban Sustainability
GEOG 3810Planning Cities
HIST 3324U.S. Urban History
PHIL 2124Philosophies of Disability
PHIL 2124WPhilosophies of Disability
PHIL 2132Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 2133Philosophy and Nonviolence
PHIL 2134Philosophy of Human Rights
PHIL 2281Philosophy of the Environment
PHIL 3251Philosophy of Biology
PSC 2337Development Politics
PSC 2367Human Rights
PSC 2439International Political Economy
SOC 2105Social Problems in American Society
SOC 2169Urban Sociology
SOC 2170Class and Inequality in American Society
TRDA 2195Global Dance History
School of Public Health and Health Services
EXNS 1114Community Nutrition
EXNS 1118Sport and Nutrition
EXNS 2114Nutrition Sciences I
EXNS 2115Nutrition Sciences II
EXNS 2119Introduction to Nutrition Science
HLWL 1108Weight and Society
HLWL 1110Issues in Alternative Medicine
HLWL 1112Issues in Women's Health
HLWL 1114Personal Health and Wellness
HLWL 1116Lifestyle Nutrition
HLWL 1117Lifetime Fitness
PUBH 2114Environment, Health, and Development
PUBH 3133Global Health and Development

Track C — Policy, Organization, and Leadership

One course from Track C must be selected as part of the minor program. For their 3-credit elective, students are encouraged to select a course, from any track, that reflects their particular interest in sustainability.

Note: The list of courses in the track does not include special topics courses, which also may count toward the minor with the approval of 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
ECON 3161Public Finance: Expenditure Programs
GEOG 3132Environmental Quality and Management
GEOG 3193Environmental Law and Policy
HSSJ 1100Introduction to Human Services and Social Justice
HSSJ 2200Principles of Ethical Leadership
IA 3350Basic Sustainability Design Strategies
ORSC 2116Leading Change
ORSC 2123Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
PHIL 2135Ethics in Business and the Professions
PHIL 2136Contemporary Issues in Ethics
PPPA 2701Sustainability and Environmental Policy
PSC 2212State and Urban Policy Problems
PSC 2220Public Opinion
PSC 2220Public Opinion
PSC 2229Media and Politics
PSC 2442International Organizations
PSC 2444Public International Law
School of Business
MGT 3305Human Capital Sustainability
School of Engineering and Applied Science
CSCI 4532Information Policy
EMSE 3740WSystems Thinking and Policy Modeling
EMSE 3855WCritical Infrastructure Systems
EMSE 4410Engineering Economic Analysis
School of Public Health and Health Services
EXNS 2122Food Systems in Public Health
HLWL 1104Outdoor and Environmental Education
PUBH 1101Introduction to Public Health and Health Services
PUBH 3135WHealth Policy
PUBH 3136Health Law
PUBH 3151Current Issues in Bioethics
Sustainability Collaborative
SUST 2002The Sustainable City
SUST 3002Climate Change and Policy
SUST 3003The Sustainable Plate