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Sustainability Minor

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Sustainability is often defined as "meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The minor in sustainability at Iowa State University is available to any ISU student who wants to further learn about sustainability issues affecting humans today and in the future.

The interdisciplinary minor in sustainability exposes students to ideas and issues related to a sustainable, balanced and ethical future for the planet and its inhabitants. The minor is at the interplay between environmental, social and economic factors in improving the quality of human life within the capacity of supporting ecosystems.

The minor will help students understand the dynamics of biological population growth and decline in the natural world, predator-prey models, over-exploitation of natural resources, energy balances, and much more. Students also will learn how human behavior affects the natural world and the ability of earth to sustain life.

In addition, students in the minor will understand how the decisions they make as consumers, workers, resource owners, citizens and policymakers affect human welfare in this and future generations. Students also will be able to articulate why some environmental, social and economic profiles are sustainable and others are not.

The minor will provide students knowledge sufficient to apply sustainable practices in their personal and professional lives.

The colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Design, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences sponsor the minor in sustainability.

Requirements for the minor in sustainability

The minor in sustainability may be earned by completing a total of 15 credits including two required courses and nine elective credits from an approved list. Of the nine elective credits, at least six credits must be at the 300 level or higher.

Required courses:

T SC 220Global Sustainability3
ANTHR 230Globalization and the Human Condition3

Emphasis Electives:

AGRON 120Introduction to Renewable Resources3
AGRON 342World Food Issues: Past and Present3
AGRON 450Issues in Sustainable Agriculture3
ANTHR 336Global Development3
ARCH 245Building Science and Technology I3
ARTIS 360Sustainable Design and Fabrication of Furniture3
ARTIS 362X Artist and Designers’ Role in Sustainable Development3
BIOL 355Plants and People3
BIOL 471Introductory Conservation Biology3
BIOL 484Ecosystem Ecology3
C R P 201Making the Metropolis3
C R P 293Environmental Planning3
C R P 417Urban Revitalization3
C R P 425Growth Management3
C R P 429Planning in Developing Countries3
C R P 445Transportation Policy and Planning3
C R P 484Sustainable Communities3
C R P 491Environmental Law and Planning3
ECON 380Environmental and Resource Economics3
ECON 385Economic Development3
ENGL 355Literature and the Environment3
ENSCI 381Environmental Systems I: Introduction to Environmental Systems3-4
ENSCI 382Environmental Systems II: Analysis of Environmental Systems3
ENV S 324Energy and the Environment3
ENV S 334Environmental Ethics3
GEOL 160Water Resources of the World3
GLOBE 301Resource Systems of Industrialized Nations3
GLOBE 302Resource Systems of Developing Nations3
GLOBE 402Responses to Global Resource System Challenges3
L A 302Ecological Design at the Regional Scale6
M E 433Alternative Energy3
NREM 120Introduction to Renewable Resources3
NREM 452Ecosystem Management3
NREM 471Agroforestry Systems; Local and Global Perspectives3
SOC 345Population and Society3
SOC 382Environmental Sociology3
SOC 411Social Change in Developing Countries3
T SC 341Technology: International, Social, and Human Issues3
T SC 343Philosophy of Technology3