Undergraduate Sustainability Summer Intensive

JUNE 17 - AUGUST 2, 2019

Register Here

Online sustainability coursework with an optional residential experience

Chatham students:

Chatham students - register here

Through the Chatham student portal

Non-Chatham students:

Apply here for non-Chatham students

Use Non-Degree Student application
(for-credit and no-credit options)

Earn up to nine credits in Sustainability and related skills

Interested in sustainability and the environment? Want to earn college credit and experience an unforgettable residence on one of Pittsburgh's most remarkable campuses?

The sustainability summer intensive is a online summer intensive program with the option for a one-week residential portion at Chatham University's Eden Hall campus. It includes three college-level courses that cover the fundamentals of sustainability science, renewable energy and smart technology, and an applied course on geographic information systems (GIS).

Courses run seven weeks, and the program offers two options – with or without a one-week residential session:


Online coursework session from June 17–August 2 that includes readings and written assignments.

On Campus at Eden Hall Field Lab

A one-week residential summer intensive at Eden Hall Campus (July 8-12).

The summer is the best time to be at Eden Hall, from an ecological, agricultural and aesthetic point of view, and your prior coursework will make use of Eden Hall's infrastructure, data, and experts. The residential portion is geared toward rising high school seniors wanting to experience what the study of sustainability really looks like at the college level and do so at the first campus in the world built from below the ground up for the study of sustainability. Learn more about the residential portion »

Who should attend?

The program is for current and soon-to-be undergraduate students. In particular:

  • Chatham Bachelor of Sustainability students
  • Rising seniors in high school who wish to explore sustainable agriculture and food systems for college credit (high school students who are not rising seniors are welcomed to participate in a non-residential format)
  • Chatham students of all majors who may be interested in pursuing a minor in Sustainability
  • Students from other colleges in similar undergraduate programs (e.g., Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Ecology) who wish to take advantage of reduced-price summer courses
  • Students at local community colleges who wish to enter Chatham's Bachelor of Sustainability program

What will you learn?

Summer courses offer the opportunity for focused work and study in a more relaxed online environment. The residential week is taught in a hands-on fashion, making full use of Eden Hall Campus with its forests, watersheds, farm, solar, and geothermal energy systems.

1. Sustainability Science (Core to BSUS, Minor)

Sustainability involves multiple scientific sub-disciplines, from Earth systems science to ecology and economics. This introductory course is designed to introduce students to the scientific principles involved in practicing sustainability. Students will gain familiarity with the fundamental tenants and remaining questions in environmental science, with an emphasis on how we might work towards a sustainable society.

2. Sustainable Technology (Core to BSUS, Minor)

This course discusses opportunities and challenges for using technology for sustainability. We will discuss innovation for sustainability and societal adoption, and explore ways to use renewable energy and other technologies for homes and workplaces; the Internet of Things; closed loops and new materials; sustainable transportation; and smart water systems.

3. Geographic Information System (GIS) (Core to BSUS)

This course will provide students with a solid foundation of the principles and applications of GIS, an introduction to the desktop software ArcGIS, and will demonstrate its use in a variety of applications. Topics include data development and management; spatial analysis techniques; critical review of GIS applications; needs analysis and institutional context; GIS hardware and software; and hands-on application.

Through these courses, students will come away with new understanding and valuable skillsets:

Understanding gained:

  • Identify local, regional, and global environmental issues and the potential solutions to these challenges
  • Explain how the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere interact to create the natural resources that humans depend upon, and how humans disrupt these interactions
  • Describe a variety of geospatial data types, data sources and metadata management techniques
  • Describe sustainable processes and evaluate their impact on social, environmental, and/or economic systems

Skills learned:

  • Create, manipulate and query geospatial data
  • Symbolize and classify geospatial data, understanding available choices and the implications of each technique
  • Perform basic analytical and data visualization tasks in program R and/or Microsoft Excel
  • Recognize, describe, and explain the underlying science of several major emerging opportunities in sustainable technology
  • Critically evaluate ways in which emerging and existing options in the field of sustainable technology can be utilized to address sustainability problems

Where is the residential experience?

The core coursework is completed online. For the residential portion, students live, work, eat, and play together in an immersive residential learning community at Chatham's groundbreaking and beautiful Eden Hall Campus.

Eden Hall Campus, which used to be a summer retreat, features an outdoor swimming pool, bowling alley, pool table, and miles of hiking trails. And if you'd like to step off campus, the North Hills is a vibrant area of Pittsburgh with restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and movie theaters. Nearby North Park offers hiking, boating, and ziplining.

With rising seniors, parents are encouraged to attend the residential portion to see first-hand what can be developed in a sustainability education, as well as experience a week of learning with your child and watching their passion for sustainability and the environment develop.

Chatham University

6035 Ridge Road
Gibsonia, PA 15206

When are the deadlines?

Applications are due no later than June 1, 2019.

Classes begin  June 17, 2019 and run through August 2, 2019. Initial online work includes readings and written assignments. The residential portion of the program begins on July 8, 2019 and ends on July 12, 2019.

How much does it cost?

All courses are an affordable $298 per credit. Accommodations at Eden Hall are $25 per night for Chatham University students and $50 per night for all non-Chatham students. 

Chatham-affiliated students

SIGN UP here:

Register Button image to register for Eden Hall Campus Academic Visit Days

Registration via Chatham Student Portal

Non-Chatham students

APPLY here:

Non Chatham Students Apply for Undergrad Summer Intensive at Eden Hall

Use non-degree student application (both for-credit and no-credit)