Sustainability Double Degree

We prepare students to incorporate sustainability into varied disciplinary and career pathways and to become agents of positive change in their professions and their communities.

Sustainability has many definitions.  In the broadest sense, a sustainable society is one that leaves to its children the possibility of being as well off as their parents. Because everything we do has an impact on the environment and on other people, present and future, achieving sustainability means thinking in the long term about how to manage the earth's ecosystems, climate, and resources so that all people can live healthy, productive lives. It is the most fundamental challenge that we face as a society.

Integrating sustainability into our actions involves understanding the coupled natural-human system in which we live, including how the institutions that we develop as a society encourage people to behave in sustainable or non-sustainable ways.  Sustainability also involves envisioning how an action taken by one person might ripple through this system, and what ways in which we might take action to guarantee that those effects are positive rather than negative.

The mission of the Sustainability Double Degree program is to provide all OSU students foundational understanding of coupled human-natural systems, critical thinking, and evidence-based analysis so that they can be agents of positive change supporting planetary health, social justice, and economic equity in any disciplinary or career path they choose.

The solutions to the biggest challenges we face as a society all involve the intricate relationships between human and natural systems – these include climate change, biodiversity loss, disappearing forest and animal resources, and pollution.  These issues are intimately intertwined with poverty, equity, social justice, and national security.  Facing these challenges requires marshalling knowledge across all disciplines, integrating the fundamental concepts of sustainability – systems, strategic, and anticipatory thinking – into every field, and integrating the wisdom of multiple perspectives to support the development of sustainable solutions.

Students who graduate with the double degree will be able to integrate knowledge from their major with concepts and practices of sustainability. They will communicate effectively with multiple audiences, work collaboratively with multiple and conflicting interests, and apply content-level knowledge of economic, business, scientific, and sociological principles of sustainability to an ongoing practice of sustainable thinking and action.

Students may obtain a Bachelor of Science, Sustainability after completing 32 credits of required and elective courses and a practicum, such as an internship or research project.

Students may earn a Sustainability Minor after completing 27 credits of required and elective courses.

The Sustainability program is an educational partner of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. This allows our students a pathway to certification as Sustainability Excellence Associates.

Sustainability Double Degree & Minor Learning Outcomes:

After successful completion of the Sustainability Double Degree and Minor requirements, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the structure and interdependence of social and ecological systems.
  2. Interpret data critically and demonstrate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of data as a decision support tool. 
  3. Design and evaluate responses to conditions that compromise sustainability by employing systems thinking. Envision future scenarios in which natural environments and human communities are healthy and resilient.
  4. Describe the use of sustainability assessment tools and the measurement of sustainability outcomes across all dimensions of sustainability.
  5. Communicate clearly and effectively with diverse groups using oral, written, and other modalities. Demonstrate the ability to discuss complex sustainability concepts and problems with people from a variety of disciplines, cultures, and perspectives.