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Sustainability Minor

1118C Taliferro Hall Phone 301-405-7069 Email susminor@umd.edu

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is a term that's being used a lot, but what does it actually mean? Today, we primarily think of sustainability in terms of protecting the environment, but the definition of it is much broader. In 1987, the Brundtland Commission of the UN defined "sustainable development" as:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This initial definition was the first time the global community defined sustainability as we know it today. In 2005, the definition expanded when the World Summit on Social Development defined the three pillars (often called the three E’s) of sustainability: the Environment, the Economy, and Social Equity. This “triple bottom line” sets the standards for numerous projects and certification systems worldwide.

Meeting the triple bottom line though is far from easy. For years, gains in one of these three sectors have often seen losses in the other two. Students in the Sustainability Studies Minor will learn about historic and current conflicts, critically analyze numerous case studies, and develop solutions that build cooperation among all three sectors.

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

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 a 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 Spring 2018 must declare the minor no later than the drop/add period in Fall 2017.

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. 

Click here to explore all of the courses approved for the minor.

To enroll, first, fill out the Sustainability Minor Application and open it offline in Adobe Acrobat. Make sure you download the application FIRST and THEN fill it out. You must use Adobe to fill out the application, do not simply click the link and fill it out in Google Chrome. You must download it and open it offline in Adobe. Adobe is free to download and is on all campus computers. Once you have finished filling out the application save it as "LastName_FirstName" to your computer, fill it out, and then e-mail it to susminor@umd.edu. Please make sure you have filled it out in the correct format; we cannot accept hand written printouts, screenshots, word documents, or locked pdf files. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions.

Second, all applicants must meet with an academic advisor. In your email, please send your general availability to meet. No students will be enrolled in the minor without an initial meeting.

NOTE: AGNR/PLCY301 is offered at a different day/time each semester, to try to accommodate as many students as possible.  Please enroll in the course as soon as possible (sophomore year is okay) to minimize scheduling conflicts later in your academic career.