This year, UofL became the first university in Kentucky to offer a sustainability degree program and it’s not just about “going green.”
Major in Sustainability
In Fall 2017, UofL launched a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability program! It is the first undergraduate degree housed in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs.
The B.A. in Sustainability is an interdisciplinary degree program within the College of Arts and Sciences that examines interrelated environmental, political, economic, and social issues and problems facing our society at local, regional, and global scales. The goal of the degree is to prepare students to engage with these issues on multiple levels in the workplace and in their community so that collaborative solutions can be found. The curriculum is designed to educate, train and prepare students for future careers in sustainability‐related endeavors that include: the environment, energy, climate change, public policy, transportation, and urban and regional planning. This degree will also serve as a well‐rounded base to allow students to pursue graduate training in affiliated fields of study.
B.A. in Sustainability graduates will be able to successfully work in government, private, and non‐profit sectors. In the future, program graduates will be creators, developers, implementers of thoughtful policies that ensure sustainable economies and environmental quality in the state of Kentucky, the nation, and the world.
Students graduating with the B.A. in Sustainability will be able to:
- Understand, conceptualize and analyze sustainability problems and issues in a holistic way;
- Develop a deeper understanding of the basic concepts in sustainability, and the disciplines that can assist with real‐world problem solving;
- Evaluate the role of social institutions and the political, legal, and cultural frameworks for sustainability;
- Acquire methods and techniques to explore and analyze issues that cross disciplinary boundaries;
- Understand ethical perspectives for issues related to sustainability;
- Obtain practical experience through a required sustainability‐related internship;
- Develop skills that will facilitate creative, innovative, and workable solutions to sustainability problems.
Students choose one of the following specialization tracks (concentrations) for further training and focus, or construct their own (with approval from the director):
1. Sustainable Societal and Urban Systems (SUS)
2. Policy and Governance in Sustainability (PGS)
3. Sustainable Societies (SS)
Full details about UofL’s new B.A. in Sustainability here.
Masters in Sustainability
Since Fall 2015, UofL has offered graduate students from all backgrounds a unique opportunity to study the full range of issues in sustainability through a new Masters in Sustainability degree program housed in the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. The official degree designation is a Master of (Arts or Sciences) in Interdisciplinary Studies: Concentration in Sustainability. The Sustainability Council crafted this new program with the participation of the following departments and university units: College of Arts and Sciences (Departments of Anthropology, Biology, Communication, Fine Arts, Geography and Geosciences, History, Sociology, Urban and Public Affairs), Brandeis School of Law, Public Health and Information Sciences, and Speed School of Engineering. The goal is to prepare students to address complex regional, state, national and global challenges posed by the intersection of human exponential growth and increasingly limited resources that support society.
The academic objectives of the program include:
- to promote student understanding of sustainability principles and how they connect social, environmental, and economic issues.
- to promote student ability to explain how natural, economic and social systems interact to further or impede sustainable societies.
- to provide relevant analytical tools so students can evaluate how local to global policies interact across spatial and temporal scales to affect built, natural and social environments.
- to develop interdisciplinary thinking and skills in students in the field of sustainability such that they can identify emerging areas of need and formulate research questions that bridge at least two disciplines across the built, natural and social environments.
- to train students to conduct research or engage in creative activities on sustainability through use of appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods.
- to train students so that they can work in groups and demonstrate skills for consensus building on sustainability issues among stakeholders.
All students in this program are required to complete 33 credit hours of courses and must produce a thesis or portfolio (determined by student’s committee). All students are required to take SUST 600 Introduction to Sustainability, and at least one course from each of three Core Areas: 1. Built Environment, 2. Natural Environment, and 3. Social Environment.
Full details and application here.