Sustainability Minor Coursework

Learning Outcomes

May 2011

Upon completion of this minor, students will be able to:

  1. Define sustainability.
  2. Describe the interdependency of sustainability’s three pillars of equity, environment, and economy.
  3. Identify existing conditions of: a) environmental degradation, b) economic failure, and c) social inequity; and provide plausible explanations for their cause, interdependency, and reasonable ideas for their resolution.
  4. State the importance of inter-generational responsibilities to sustainability.
  5. Describe inequities generated by current economic systems and access to resources.
  6. Describe the current state of knowledge regarding global climate change, accurately depict where uncertainty exists with respect to climate change, and identify examples of social (i.e. equity), economic, and environmental impacts resulting from climate changes.
  7. Explain the role of technology and its influences on sustainability.
  8. Describe how physical processes and systems create limitations upon and influence the needs of societies. This requires a working knowledge of the laws of thermodynamics; greenhouse effect; circulation of air and ocean currents; hydrological connectivity and watersheds, solid waste streams, and energy and food production, among others.


The curriculum in the minor is structured around the three perspectives of environment, equity and economy.  Coursework must include at least one course from each of these perspectives.

Special topics courses, internships, independent studies, and other courses that are not listed in the minor may qualify for credit and will be evaluated case-by-case by the Director of the Sustainable Development Minor.

Required Courses

The following courses are required for the minor (starting fall 2018)

GES 1500: Intro to Environmental Studies and Sustainability (offered fall semester only)                        4 credits
GES 4800 Sustainability Seminar (prereq. GES 1500, junior standing; offered spring semester only)     3 credits

For those students currently in the minor - you may elect to complete the minor utilizing the pre-fall 2018 requirements or switch to the new requirements.  For students utilizing the pre-Fall 2018 requirements, please refer to the requirements page for core courses requirements.  Courses listed on the electives courses page that are marked with a (*) are those that qualify as core courses for students completing requirements under the pre-Fall 2018 requirements.

Elective Courses

(current offerings for Fall 2019 are indicated in red)

Courses listed as electives in the Sustainability minor include a significant component or unit dedicated to sustainability issues, knowledge, or applications, but may not have a predominant focus on sustainability or sustainable development. Electives do not necessarily integrate material across the three perspectives of social equity, economic development, and environmental protection.

The following courses, grouped by perspective, are currently approved for elective credits in the minor. Note that not all of these are offered every year.  Those marked with a (*) are those that qualify as core courses for students completing requirements under the pre-Fall 2018 requirements.


BIOL 3750 Conservation Biology*

BIOL1510/CHEM 1111 Environmental Science*

HSCI 4090: Food, Culture, Community and Health*

CHEM 4521 Environmental Chemistry

GES 1000 Climate & Vegetation

GES 4480 Environmental Problems of Colorado

ANTH 4270 Landscape Arch., Sustain., Collapse

PES 2500 Sustainable Energy Fundamentals

GEOL 3700 Environmental Geology*

GES 3170 Saving Place*

GES 4650 Restoration Geographies

GES 4170 Writing Place

GES 4500 Water Resources & Problems

MAE 2301 Thermodynamics

PES 1510 Energy Science II

ENSC 4600: Adv. Solar Energy

GES 3180 Changing Place*

ENSC/PES 1500 Energy Science I*

SOC 4250 Sociology of the Environment*

GES 4420 Conservation & Public Lands

GES 4510 Applied Hydrology

GES 4570 Military, Environment & Society

PES 1600/PES 1620 Intro Solar Energy

GES 4660 Field Studies (Urban Ecology)


ECON 2310 Economics of Sustainability

ECON 3310 Ecological Economics*

COMM 4290 Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility*

ECON 3610 Work and Pay*

PSC 4280/ECON 4280 International Political Economy*

ECON 3770 Economic Development*

HRMG 4850 Research Project (must be related to sustainable development)*


ANTH 3430 Approaches to Globalization*

WEST 2010 Intro to Race and Gender*

WEST 4280 Nat. American Phil. Thought*

GES 4680 Inequality USA*

PHIL 1400 Intro to Sustainability and Env’tl Ethics*

WEST 3150 Power, Privilege & Social Diff.

WEST 3250 Peoples & Cultures of the S.W.

GES 4780 Global Migration

PSC 4290 International Environ Politics

SOC 4220 Sustainable Urban Development

GES 4560 Cultural & Political Ecology*

WEST 3220 Nat. American Communities*

WEST 3420 North American Indians*

WEST 4120: Indigenous Views on Sustainability*

ANTH 3660 Applied Community Studies

WEST 3400 Race and Gender Theory

PHIL 4140 Phil, Glob & Sustainability

GES 4610 Urban Geography

PSC 4350 Environmental Pol & Admin

WEST 4700 Global Feminism

SOC 4380 Globalization and Development*

WEST 4400 Indigenous Peoples*

GES 4920 Geography of Food

GES 4730 Population Geography

ANTH 3040 Women Around the World

WEST 4140 Katrina: The Nation at Crossroads

PHIL 3500: Buddhist Philosophy

GES 4620 Race, Ethnicity, & Place

WEST 4200 Sociology of Poverty

GES 4460 Field Studies in Geography (Silverton)