Bachelor of Sustainability | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Sustainability has grown from a niche field to an increasingly crucial lens through which all aspects of society are being considered.

That's why Chatham has developed four unique tracks within our Bachelor of Sustainability (BSUS) program. All students take 14 foundation courses in environmental, economic, social and policy issues common across the field of sustainability with a focus on hands-on learning. This provides a solid foundation for choosing which track in the program you want to study.


Introduces students to a wide range of renewable energy technologies and systems, and explores the relationship between technological, social and policy change, particularly in the context of the sustainable cities of the future.


Provides students with a broad understanding of the inter-connectedness of ecological, economic, social and political systems. It introduces students to a wide range of renewable natural resources, their use and management. It combines professional competency in management skills with a strong foundation in the biophysical, social, and economic fields.


Exposes students to analytical concepts and tools for decision making. At the same time students are encouraged to think broadly about the impacts of business decisions. The track includes traditional business classes, an introduction to sustainable technology, approaches to decision analysis and corporate social responsibility.


Offers an integrated and applied perspective on food and agriculture through the interdisciplinary analysis of social, cultural, economic, environmental, and historical topics, giving students an in-depth understanding of how our food systems work, from a local to global perspective.

» Learn about BSUS program residency requirements

Years 1 & 2

In addition to general education requirements, all BSUS students will take the following foundational courses (primarily in years 1 and 2):

SUS100: Sustainability Science
SUS102: Sustainability and Society (SEE Mission)
MTH110 or BUS110: Statistics/Business Statistics
SUS201/L: Integrative Biology(Gen Ed Sci/Lab)
SUS202: Dynamic Earth Systems
SUS210: Sustainability and Technology
SUS327W: Writing about Environmental Science
SUS350: Sustainability Career Prep
SUS352: Geographic Information Systems
SUS380: Economics of Sustainability
SUS401: Policy and Decision Making
SUS416: Sustainable Decision Analysis
FST420/L: Agroecology and lab


Q: Do I have to enter the program knowing which track I want to be in?
A: No. We expect that students will spend the first couple of years exploring their interests in sustainability, and then declare the track they wish to pursue.

Q: Will my diploma show my track?
A: Diplomas will show BA or BS in Sustainability, but tracks will be indicated on the transcript.

Sample course

Sustainability Career Prep

Students will develop career-readiness, explore professional opportunities in Sustainability and related fields, and develop self-marketing techniques, including: resumes, cover letters, interview and networking skills and a professional demeanor. Students will develop and implement a job, internship, or graduate school search plan to map out the steps necessary to land their first professional experience.

Did you know?

BSUS students have access to a dedicated Associate Director for Career Development who provides support, resources, and learning opportunities designed specifically for Falk School graduate and undergraduate students. Offerings include:

  • One-on-one consultations
  • Professional development workshops and programs for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Connecting students with alumni to provide opportunities for mentorship, networking, job shadowing, informational interviewing, internships, and jobs

Years 3 & 4

Further coursework will focus on developing skills and experience in students' areas of interest.


3 required courses, 2 elective courses

SUS335: Renewable Energy and Society
SUS460: Energy Policy
IAR231: Green and Sustainable Design
SUS330: Sustainable Cities
SUSXXX: Applications in Sustainable Energy
SUS437: Green Innovation
CMP202: Introduction to Programming
BUS171: Information Systems & Operations
CMP283: Database Management

Sample course

IAR 231 Green & Sustainable Design

Global issues of energy use, resource depletion, and indoor air quality have promoted design professionals to re-evaluate design and construction processes. This course provides students with the knowledge of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system to promote environmentally responsible design.


3 required courses, 2 elective courses

SUS322: Natural resource policy and law
SUS404/L: Quantitative Ecology/Lab
CHM102/L: Chemistry in Context

SUS301: Science of Global Change
SUS461: Aquatic Entomology
SUS203: Global Environmental Health
SUS455: Forestry

Sample course

Science of Global Change

The climate system of Earth is rapidly changing due to complex and interacting phenomena. This course offers an in-depth investigation of the science behind climate change, including a survey of model forecasts. Emphasis will also include the current and projected consequences of climate change on natural resources.



3 required courses, 2 elective courses

SUS435: Green Innovation
SUS470: Corporate Social Responsibility
BUS105: Foundations of Business

BUS243: Principles of Marketing
SUS330: Sustainable/Resilient Cities
SUS335: Renewable Energy and Society
CMP283: Database Management
SUSXXX: Applications in Sustainable Energy


Sample course

Sustainable and Resilient Cities

This course analyzes cities as complex systems with subsystems such as living, food and water, energy, and transportation. We will explore systemic approaches for urban sustainability and climate resiliency, drawing on examples worldwide.

FOOD Systems

5 required courses

FST150: Food, Farm, and Field
FST250: International Cuisine
FST315: Food Access and Policy
FST342: Sustainable Production
SUS426: Sustainable Aquaculture

Sample course

Food, Farm, and Field

This course explores food, farm, and environment through readings, films, lectures, demonstrations, field trips, and on-farm and kitchen experiences in research and production problems. Activities include presentations on specific topics, group discussions, hands-on lab and field activities, individual and group presentations, field trips, and reflection through writing, video, and photography.


Sustainability student Allie Frownfelter, BSUS '17 interviews Falk School of Sustainability & Environment students about their work and research on her blog. Her interviews and discussions show how BSUS courses guide students to their research interests and how they are making (or are on the verge of making) real-world impact.

▶ How to Win the War on Water
▶ Community Gardens are the Future of Food Security
▶ Why STEM is Vital to Social Justice and Sustainability
▶ Why It's Rare to Find Classes that Teach More Hands On Learning

Utz Lab Website thumbnail image

Professor Ryan Utz, PhD shares his research from work with Falk students. View their work on Utz Lab of Applied Ecology ▶

Student Research

Poster - Event-scale dissolved oxygen dynamics in urban and peri-urban streams
Event-scale dissolved oxygen dynamics in urban and peri-urban streams

Authors: Bethany Bookout, Dr. Ryan Utz

The researchers attempted to link fine-scale dynamics in dissolved oxygen (DO) levels to meteorological patterns and watershed characteristics in a network of six urban streams in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region using time series of DO coupled with meteorological data. Download poster PDF ▶

Suppression of Tree Recruitment in Deciduous Forests by an Invasive Shrub, Berberis thunbergii
Suppression of Tree Recruitment in Deciduous Forests by an Invasive Shrub, Berberis thunbergii

Authors: Cierra Snyder, Trey Turnblacer, Arthur Link, Sarah Daugherty, Dr. Ryan Utz

The researchers aim was to test the effect B. thunbergii (Japanese Barberry) had on tree sapling recruitment in forest environments, and if it is in turn detrimental to future forest ecosystems. Download poster PDF ▶


Students may also choose to further their education at Chatham through pursuing an Integrated Degree Program (IDP) with our Master of Sustainability. Through the IDP, students earn both bachelor's and master's degrees in as few as five years, saving time and money. Learn more about IDPs ▶

 All students are encouraged to play an active role in helping to manage and develop Eden Hall Campus. Jobs that directly link to classes are available–managing the woodlands, working with the data and energy systems that permeate the campus buildings, partnering with local businesses, or doing community outreach. The experience at Eden Hall isn't just taking classes and living in the dorms.

– PETER WALKER, PH.D., dean of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment


Water icon


Stormwater is managed by rain gardens that collect and direct water flow, gravel walkways that make it easier for rainwater to get to the soil below, and a rainwater harvesting system that uses it for crop irrigation. Eden Hall treats wastewater through a six-step process that mimics nature and handles up to 6,000 gallons daily.

Food and Agriculture icon


Eden Hall Campus encompasses a certified organic farm, demonstration garden, and greenhouses (one heated year-round by solar-thermal panels). Faculty and students demonstrate sustainable agricultural practices, and produce food for the campus. Initiatives include nutrient recycling and soil building from compost; aquaponics; mushroom farming; and edible landscaping around buildings.

Energy and Climate icon


Over 400 solar panels not only generate enough energy to power 14 homes annually–they also provide heat for a residence hall and a greenhouse, and the campus is heated and cooled via 40+ geothermal wells. Eden Hall's weather station collects data on solar radiation, air temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and leaf wetness. Soil sensors collect data on items like volumetric water content and electrical conductivity.

Design and Planning icon


Eden Hall models a variety of building standards, energy management techniques, and new ways of sustainable living. Each building is monitored to determine optimal energy consumption. Buildings meet LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Platinum certification, and some future buildings are planned to be built to Living Building Challenge standards.

Community and Health icon


Eden Hall attracts academic, public, and artistic communities through year-round programming including workshops, dinners, performances, and festivals. Visitors hike eco-education trails, take yoga classes, explore sustainable agriculture sites, and observe natural water treatment systems in action. Also, our farm connects to the community through farm-to-school programs and partnerships with local farmers and nonprofits.

A Brighter, Healthier Tomorrow

There's a lot ongoing and planned for Eden Hall, and it all starts with our work in the sustainability field. Learn about Chatham's history of leadership in sustainability that has driven plans for our ultra-green Eden Hall Campus. Download Booklet ▶

Eden Hall Campus | A Brighter, Healthier Tomorrow booklet brochure thumbnail image

To make the most out of your experience at Chatham, we require that students live and study on-campus for at least two years as shown to the right:

Year 1: Shadyside Campus (Most first-year BSUS classes will take place here)
Year 2: Eden Hall Campus
Year 3: Student's choice (Shadyside Campus, EHC, or off-campus)
Year 4: Student's choice (EHC, Shadyside Campus, or off-campus)


The immersion year at Eden Hall is an integral part of the program, as students live and learn on the campus where they will apply their knowledge and interests toward projects that tackle sustainability challenges. During students' second year in the program, most of their major classes will be held at Eden Hall, utilizing the campus for first-hand experience of the lessons covered throughout the courses. Outside of classes, students can utilize the campus's rural setting and technologies to explore and investigate for research, project work, or advanced study. Additionally, surrounding themselves with like-minded peers and faculty inspires students to delve into important topics and collaborate with others to create results that are applicable to the real world and impressive to future employers.

Although residency at Eden Hall is only required during Year 2, students can choose to live and study at Eden Hall during Years 3 and 4 to take advantage of the unlimited opportunities EHC presents to Bachelor of Sustainability students.


Shadyside Campus is located in an urban arboretum, where students live in renovated historic mansions, minutes away from the center of Pittsburgh, home to 70,000 college students. Please note that even while living at Shadyside Campus, student will have some classes and experiences at Eden Hall Campus.


Chatham was ranked 7th in the nation for best food grown and sourced locally by Sierra Magazine's 2015 "Cool Schools" report.

Contributing to that is another perk of an on-campus farm »

Eden Hall Campus

Eden Hall Campus is where students can truly live their passions: Natural resource management students will manage the woodlands. Sustainable energy & urban systems students will work with the buildings and energy systems. Sustainable business students will work on community outreach and other impactful projects with our partners in the community.

Campus shuttles connect Eden Hall and Shadyside campuses for courses and extracurriculars throughout the week.

Orchard Hall

Orchard Hall, Eden Hall Campus's residence building, is constructed to the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) standards.

NOTE: This policy applies to students entering in the 2018 academic year. Exceptions may be made only by the Dean of Students in consultation with the Director of Residence Life and the Dean of Falk School, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, all current undergraduate and graduate students in the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment who are receiving funding from the Falk Endowment will be required to live at Eden Hall Campus.

Graduates find employment in industry; public and private education; all levels of government; policy institutions; international organizations, and other non-governmental organizations. Here's a small selection of job titles associated with each of our tracks:


  • Renewable energy analyst
  • Campus sustainability director
  • Corporate social responsibility/sustainability professional
  • Water engineer or scientist
  • Green building professional
  • Urban sustainability and energy specialist


  • Environmental services consultant
  • Conservation scientist
  • Environmental policy analyst
  • Forester
  • Land use planner
  • Restoration specialist
  • Wildlife habitat specialist


  • Chief sustainability executive
  • Corporate sustainability manager
  • General and operations manager
  • Industrial production manager
  • Campus sustainability officer
  • Fleet management
  • Research officer
  • Supply chain manager


Chatham's Career Development staff is eager to help you develop and reach your goals from year one, day one. They'll:

  • Advise you in one-on-one appointments to maximize job search skills, develop dynamite resumes and cover letters, and ace job interviews
  • Help you find a mentor in your career field
  • Connect you with hundreds of employers through job fairs and Handshake, our online job and internship posting database

More info:


The Chatham Plan is a 5-step approach to infusing the entirety of your undergraduate education with all the things you need to launch your career after you graduate.

  • Steps 1 & 2: Assessment and Goals
  • Step 3: Professional Preparation
  • Step 4: Internships
  • Step 5: The Graduation Checklist

More info: