Chatham University

Sustainability (BSUS) Curriculum

The Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and Bachelor of Science in Sustainability advance the mission of the Falk School of Sustainability by immersing students in sustainability, integrating knowledge, implementation, and creation across the curriculum. The program includes an intellectual and experiential core in sustainability, individual and team projects, co-curricular activities, and ample room for electives. All students have extensive experiential coursework at the Eden Hall campus, including aquaculture/aquatic biology, agriculture and food, landscape ecology, policy and decision making, and sustainability assessment. In addition, they have coursework in environmental health, global change, systems, economics, social justice, and earth systems science. The Bachelor of Science designation is granted to those students who complete requirements for the accelerated Master of Sustainability program.

Program Requirements

+ Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability

50 credits core curriculum

SUS100 Sustainable Systems

Through the lens of the natural and cultural history of Eden Hall and its surroundings, students learn about cultural, social, economic, natural and other systems. The course will focus on land use over time, the economic and social drivers and impacts of those land uses, and the implications for environmental wellbeing.

3
SUS102 Foundations of Sustainability

Students examine core concepts of sustainability, and explore its origins, history, and achievements across the globe at multiple scales. Students gain a foundation for more in-depth study of sustainability. Students also focus on their personal conception of sustainability and engage in a sustainability group project linked to community partners.

3
ECN102 Principles of Microeconomics: Decision-Making by the Firm and Consumers

Microeconomics is the study of how households and firms make decisions and how they interact in specific markets. Students are introduced to the basic concepts and tools that economists use to understand how the economy works. This course is designed to increase economic literacy through acquiring core knowledge about economics.

3
SUS105 Sustainability: Issues to Actions

Intended for all first-year undergraduate students, this course provides an overview of key sustainability principles. Through lectures, panels, and discussions, students will explore, analyze, and evaluate local sustainability and resilience issues with global relevance. The course captures the liberal arts outcomes and includes community service through civic engagement opportunities.

3
SUS201 Integrative Biology

This course will introduce traditional biological concepts from molecules to organisms within an integrative and applied framework. Students will learn the interdisciplinary nature and common approaches of biology through applied topics relevant to sustainability such as human and ecological health, freshwater and marine fisheries, energy sources, and climate dynamics.

3
SUS201L Integrative Biology Lab

Laboratory exercises including data collection, small-scale experimentation, data modeling, and simulation will be experienced to complement the material covered in SUS 201. Two hours of laboratory will be held per week at the Eden Hall Campus aquatic science lab. Co-requisite or Prerequisite(s): SUS 201. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fees = S50.

1
SUS202 Dynamic Earth Systems

The earth is a dynamic, evolving system. This course provides an introduction to earth's formation, its materials composition and distribution, and the processes of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere that interact to shape surface and subsurface features and conditions. The complex adaptive systems framework will be applied.

3
SUS203 Global Environmental Health

To be determined

3
FST420 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, effects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

3
FST420L Growing Sustainably Lab

Through working with Chatham's Eden Hall Farm as well as visiting neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in classes. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertilitiy, biodiversity, greenhouse production, agriculture history, effects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

1
SUS301 Global Change Science

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
SUS302 Social Justice and Sustainability

This course focuses on social justice and sustainability. We examine environmental risks and benefits as they are unequally distributed in society. We look especially at environmental problems in relation to social constructs such as gender, race, ethnicity, and class. We will also focus on solutions and responses to these problems.

3
SUS 303 - Communicating Sustainability (3)
SUS304 Environment and Culture

This course considers "culture" and "environment" and how these concepts both help and hinder efforts towards a sustainable and healthy world. Topics include: socio-cultural ways of knowing and reasoning, human adaptation, engagements with food, animals and places, and why race, class, and gender are critical to conversations about sustainability.

3
SUS406 Sustainability & Policy: Water

This course addresses water policy, management, and sustainability. We will consider water resources with specific attention to the challenges that come with managing a resource that crosses a range of boundaries and scales. Topics include U.S. water policy, water privatization, water resources in the global south, infrastructure and climate change.

3
SUS402 Built Systems and Life-Cycle Analysis

To be determined

3
SUS403 Sustainable Food Systems

This course explores the sustainability of food and agricultural systems from the local to the global level, focusing on economic, social, ethical, and environmental factors. It also explores the roles of food access and culture, sustainable production at various scales, and the development of resources to support sustainable food systems.

3
SUS490 Integrative Capstone

The integrative capstone, undertaken by the student during the senior year, is an extended project that helps the student complete their transition from an undergraduate student to a world-ready professional.  The study usually centers on the student’s major and may be conducted, at least in part, in the context of a group experience.  Such programs are crafted to meet the unique needs of each major, and could include, for example, fieldwork, theatre production, creative work in the arts, independent research, or independent readings. The integrative capstone in an interdisciplinary major must have the approval of both academic programs.  

3
*SUS 490 is not required for students who are continuing to the Master of Sustainability
An additional twelve (12) core credits are required for students who will pursue the Masters in Sustainability (MSUS) program. MSUS potential candidates will take SUS 504: Introduction to Sustainability and Systems (3) and then choose one course from each menu category.
Menu 1: Earth systems science (choose one from this area)
SUS601 Applied Ecology

The overall goal of this course is to examine the role that science contributes to sustainability. Students will critically assess process, evidence, uncertainty, application, and communication for traditional and alternative scientific methods through focused issues of sustainability (i.e., climate change, energy consumption, water pollution, urban ecosystems, children's environmental health, agroecosystems).

3
SUS521 Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health

Human health is intimately connected to environmental conditions and ecosystem integrity. Introducing concepts and measures of ecosystem and human health, this course will cover the principles and practice of contributing fields including ecotoxicology, epidemiology, environmental health and risk assessment. Students will be led from inquiry to action for key issues.

3
Menu 2: Economics and management (choose one from this area)
SUS602 The Political Economy of Sustainability

This course will examine the economic dimensions of environmental change through the frameworks of political ecology, political economy, development studies, and sustainability. Through case studies and current theory, we will investigate the costs, benefits, and sustainability of environmental governance.

3
BUS609 Business and Sustainability

This course covers basic questions concerning sustainability and the challenges in reconciling free-market capitalism with the need for more sustainable business practices. Among topics covered will be: the need to translate real-world sustainability challenges into future business opportunities, and the economic moral challenges involved with the creation of a sustainable world.

2
Menu 3: Ethics, equity, justice (choose one from this area)
SUS603 Sustainability: Ethics, Equity, Justice

This course focuses on the role of the "social" as one of the three pillars of sustainability. It explores historic and contemporary notions of ethics, social equity and social justice. It examines how these concepts can be applied to sustainability by studying local and global case studies.

3
SUS622 Engaging Animals

This course considers human-other animal engagements and how these affect sustainability. We first make sense of what "engaging animals" means, focusing on human-animal relations at different scales and levels cross-culturally, and then consider the impact on sustainability. We end with a student-led symposium on a specific human-animal relationship in relation to sustainability.

3
SUS640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

3

+ Bachelor of Science in Sustainability

51 credits core curriculum

SUS100 Sustainable Systems

Through the lens of the natural and cultural history of Eden Hall and its surroundings, students learn about cultural, social, economic, natural and other systems. The course will focus on land use over time, the economic and social drivers and impacts of those land uses, and the implications for environmental wellbeing.

3
SUS102 Foundations of Sustainability

Students examine core concepts of sustainability, and explore its origins, history, and achievements across the globe at multiple scales. Students gain a foundation for more in-depth study of sustainability. Students also focus on their personal conception of sustainability and engage in a sustainability group project linked to community partners.

3
SUS105 Sustainability: Issues to Actions

Intended for all first-year undergraduate students, this course provides an overview of key sustainability principles. Through lectures, panels, and discussions, students will explore, analyze, and evaluate local sustainability and resilience issues with global relevance. The course captures the liberal arts outcomes and includes community service through civic engagement opportunities.

3
SUS201 Integrative Biology

This course will introduce traditional biological concepts from molecules to organisms within an integrative and applied framework. Students will learn the interdisciplinary nature and common approaches of biology through applied topics relevant to sustainability such as human and ecological health, freshwater and marine fisheries, energy sources, and climate dynamics.

3
SUS201L Integrative Biology Lab

Laboratory exercises including data collection, small-scale experimentation, data modeling, and simulation will be experienced to complement the material covered in SUS 201. Two hours of laboratory will be held per week at the Eden Hall Campus aquatic science lab. Co-requisite or Prerequisite(s): SUS 201. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fees = S50.

1
SUS202 Dynamic Earth Systems

The earth is a dynamic, evolving system. This course provides an introduction to earth's formation, its materials composition and distribution, and the processes of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere that interact to shape surface and subsurface features and conditions. The complex adaptive systems framework will be applied.

3
SUS203 Global Environmental Health

To be determined

3
FST420 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, effects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

3
FST420L Growing Sustainably Lab

Through working with Chatham's Eden Hall Farm as well as visiting neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in classes. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertilitiy, biodiversity, greenhouse production, agriculture history, effects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

1
SUS301 Global Change Science

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
SUS302 Social Justice and Sustainability

This course focuses on social justice and sustainability. We examine environmental risks and benefits as they are unequally distributed in society. We look especially at environmental problems in relation to social constructs such as gender, race, ethnicity, and class. We will also focus on solutions and responses to these problems.

3
SUS305 Environmental Toxicology

To be determined

3
SUS406 Sustainability & Policy: Water

This course addresses water policy, management, and sustainability. We will consider water resources with specific attention to the challenges that come with managing a resource that crosses a range of boundaries and scales. Topics include U.S. water policy, water privatization, water resources in the global south, infrastructure and climate change.

3
SUS402 Built Systems and Life-Cycle Analysis

To be determined

3
SUS403 Sustainable Food Systems

This course explores the sustainability of food and agricultural systems from the local to the global level, focusing on economic, social, ethical, and environmental factors. It also explores the roles of food access and culture, sustainable production at various scales, and the development of resources to support sustainable food systems.

3
SUS404 Quantitative Ecology

Drawing from case studies in landscape design and natural resource management, this course will apply quantitative methods to ecological data analysis. Students will work with the software program R to apply statistical inference and mathematical modeling using previously collected data sets on single species, species interactions, communities, and food webs.

3
SUS490 Integrative Capstone

The integrative capstone, undertaken by the student during the senior year, is an extended project that helps the student complete their transition from an undergraduate student to a world-ready professional.  The study usually centers on the student’s major and may be conducted, at least in part, in the context of a group experience.  Such programs are crafted to meet the unique needs of each major, and could include, for example, fieldwork, theatre production, creative work in the arts, independent research, or independent readings. The integrative capstone in an interdisciplinary major must have the approval of both academic programs.  

3
*SUS 490 is not required for students who are continuing to the Master of Sustainability
An additional twelve (12) core credits are required for students who will pursue the Masters in Sustainability (MSUS) program. MSUS potential candidates will take SUS 504: Introduction to Sustainability and Systems (3) and then choose one course from each menu category.
Menu 1: Earth systems science (choose one from this area).
SUS601 Applied Ecology

The overall goal of this course is to examine the role that science contributes to sustainability. Students will critically assess process, evidence, uncertainty, application, and communication for traditional and alternative scientific methods through focused issues of sustainability (i.e., climate change, energy consumption, water pollution, urban ecosystems, children's environmental health, agroecosystems).

3
SUS521 Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health

Human health is intimately connected to environmental conditions and ecosystem integrity. Introducing concepts and measures of ecosystem and human health, this course will cover the principles and practice of contributing fields including ecotoxicology, epidemiology, environmental health and risk assessment. Students will be led from inquiry to action for key issues.

3
Menu 2: Economics and management (choose one from this area)
SUS602 The Political Economy of Sustainability

This course will examine the economic dimensions of environmental change through the frameworks of political ecology, political economy, development studies, and sustainability. Through case studies and current theory, we will investigate the costs, benefits, and sustainability of environmental governance.

3
BUS609 Business and Sustainability

This course covers basic questions concerning sustainability and the challenges in reconciling free-market capitalism with the need for more sustainable business practices. Among topics covered will be: the need to translate real-world sustainability challenges into future business opportunities, and the economic moral challenges involved with the creation of a sustainable world.

2
Menu 3: Ethics, equity, justice (choose one from this area)
SUS603 Sustainability: Ethics, Equity, Justice

This course focuses on the role of the "social" as one of the three pillars of sustainability. It explores historic and contemporary notions of ethics, social equity and social justice. It examines how these concepts can be applied to sustainability by studying local and global case studies.

3
SUS622 Engaging Animals

This course considers human-other animal engagements and how these affect sustainability. We first make sense of what "engaging animals" means, focusing on human-animal relations at different scales and levels cross-culturally, and then consider the impact on sustainability. We end with a student-led symposium on a specific human-animal relationship in relation to sustainability.

3
SUS640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

3

+ Co-curricular requirement

All students will be required to complete a prescribed number of co-curricular activities for a minimum of 30 hours each term. A list of such activities—which will include service projects, lectures, workshops, field excursions, and events—will be maintained by the program. Each student’s participation will be tracked through an on-line system.

+ Fifth year to MSUS

Graduates with an undergraduate degree in the Falk School of Sustainability and have taken SUS 504 and one course from each of the three menus may continue to earn a Master of Sustainability in one additional year. They must complete a minimum of 18 additional graduate credits to include (subject to revision)

A professional summer immersion experience
SUS595 Achieving Careers in Sustainability

Students will advance their efforts for a sustainability career through a series of professional development activities, guest speakers, and co-curricular activities. They will strengthen their sustainability challenges, and will develop experience in appropriate methods for addressing these challenges. Students will also utilize this course to meet MSUS program expectations.

3
SUS502 Sustainabilty and Systems

In this course, students will develop skills necessary to understand, describe, and communicate complex systems. Working from examples, exercise and interactive discussions, students will learn to identify key drivers and leverage points for change. Students will learn to solicit useful information, model, and enact change using a various systems-based tools.

3
At least 4 additional courses constituting a specialization track in the MSUS program

+ Minor in Sustainability

Students pursuing a minor in sustainability will explore society’s sustainability challenges and focus on data driven and entrepreneurial solutions.

The sustainability minor consists of 18 credit hours (6 courses). Students must take the following courses to fulfill the minor degree requirements:
Required
SUS100 Sustainable Systems

Through the lens of the natural and cultural history of Eden Hall and its surroundings, students learn about cultural, social, economic, natural and other systems. The course will focus on land use over time, the economic and social drivers and impacts of those land uses, and the implications for environmental wellbeing.

3
SUS102 Foundations of Sustainability

Students examine core concepts of sustainability, and explore its origins, history, and achievements across the globe at multiple scales. Students gain a foundation for more in-depth study of sustainability. Students also focus on their personal conception of sustainability and engage in a sustainability group project linked to community partners.

3
SUS202 Dynamic Earth Systems

The earth is a dynamic, evolving system. This course provides an introduction to earth's formation, its materials composition and distribution, and the processes of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere that interact to shape surface and subsurface features and conditions. The complex adaptive systems framework will be applied.

3
SUS302 Social Justice and Sustainability

This course focuses on social justice and sustainability. We examine environmental risks and benefits as they are unequally distributed in society. We look especially at environmental problems in relation to social constructs such as gender, race, ethnicity, and class. We will also focus on solutions and responses to these problems.

3
SUS416 Sustainable Decision Analysis

The class contributes to a foundation for sustainability management by exploring different quantitative approaches to sustainable decision-making including: Life Cycle Analysis, Ecosystem Services Valuation, Carbon and Water Footprinting, and DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses) Society-Environment interaction framework. Finally, the class explores how quantitative decision-making is shaped by various stakeholders.

3
Elective
Choose 1 course from among the following courses:
SUS305 Environmental Toxicology

To be determined

3
SUS403 Sustainable Food Systems

This course explores the sustainability of food and agricultural systems from the local to the global level, focusing on economic, social, ethical, and environmental factors. It also explores the roles of food access and culture, sustainable production at various scales, and the development of resources to support sustainable food systems.

3
SUS406 Sustainability & Policy: Water

This course addresses water policy, management, and sustainability. We will consider water resources with specific attention to the challenges that come with managing a resource that crosses a range of boundaries and scales. Topics include U.S. water policy, water privatization, water resources in the global south, infrastructure and climate change.

3
FST420 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, effects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

3
SUS462 Sustainable Aquaculture (3)