Sustainability Studies, BA

Offered in: Chicago

Roosevelt University’s Sustainability Studies (SUST) program is an interdisciplinary and environmentally-focused undergraduate degree, with major and minor options. Founded in 2010, it is the first such sustainability-themed bachelor’s degree program in the Chicago area. Its overall goals include:

  • Engaging students in the pressing public policy concerns surrounding consumption, energy usage, and viable economic growth.
  • Fostering students’ environmental literacy using rigorous, scholarly-based research in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Exploring social justice issues on a range of fronts, including environmental justice, resource allocation, urban development, and social equity.
  • Positioning Roosevelt University as a leader in sustainability education, particularly in relation to social justice and sustainable urban development.

Students graduating with a major in Sustainability Studies will have an interdisciplinary understanding of the varied dimensions of sustainability, both from a local and global perspective; will be fluent in articulating how sustainability issues relate to a matter of the environment, the economy, and social equity; and will demonstrate proficiency in critical thinking, reading, writing, and research skills. More specifically, students will learn how to:

  • Identify and explain the central sustainability problems of the 21st century in multiple arenas, including energy, transportation, food production, waste management, water availability, conservation, and general consumption.
  • Draw on a foundation of scientific, environmental, and quantitative literacy in order to understand and assess the science behind major sustainability problems, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the threats to natural resources.
  • Apply the scientific method and quantitative literacy skills to the study of natural and social ecosystems.
  • Recognize the local, national, and global social justice implications of resource allocation, food production, energy consumption, and waste production.
  • Understand the political processes and policy actors central to progress in sustainability.
  • Understand the importance of leadership as central to social change and technical innovation with respect to creating more sustainable communities.
  • Apply knowledge about sustainability to their areas of personal interest and/or work professions.

Requirements

The overall requirements for the BA in Sustainability Studies include seven core Sustainability courses, one Sustainability elective, two relevant electives in an appropriate subject area, an 18-credit hour functional area (which may also be a minor) in a related discipline or interdisciplinary area, selected general education courses, and general electives. Grades of C- or higher are required in all major courses.

Core requirements: ENG 101 COMPOSITION I: CRITICAL READING & WRITING is a pre-requisite for all 200-level SUST courses; the university writing requirement is a pre-requisite for all 300-level SUST courses.

Core
SUST 210SUSTAINABLE FUTURE3
SUST 220WATER3
SUST 230FOOD3
SUST 240WASTE3
SUST 310ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE3
SUST 320SPRAWL, TRANSPORT, PLANNING3
SUST 330BIODIVERSITY3
SUST Elective
Select one of the following:3
POLICY, LAW, ETHICS
SERVICE AND SUSTAINABILITY
SPECIAL TOPICS IN SUSTAINABILITY
SUSTAINABILITY STUDIES INTERNSHIP
Functional Area
Related courses in a discipline or interdisciplinary area selected in consultation with an advisor18
Other Requirements
Relevant electives 16
General Education, University Writing Requirement, and Electives
Courses to total 12072
Total Credit Hours120
1

Two electives, chosen in consultation with an advisor, from these subject areas: SUST, BCHM, BIOL, CHEM, CJL, ECON, ENVS, HOSM, MATH, OLED, PHSC, POS, or SOC. These courses may be in the same subject as the Functional Area and in some cases may be used to complete a double-major.

General Education Requirements

Academic Communities of Practice
ACP 101FIRST YEAR SEMINAR 13
ACP 110PRIMARY TEXTS3
ACP 250GROUNDS FOR CHANGE3
English Composition 2
ENG 101COMPOSITION I: CRITICAL READING & WRITING3
ENG 102COMPOSITION II: INTRODUCTION TO ACADEMIC RESEARCH3
Humanities
Select 9 credits from the following subject areas: African-American Studies, Art History, English (excluding ENG 101 and ENG 102), History, Languages, Music, Philosophy, Theatre, Speech and Women's and Gender Studies9
Mathematics
MATH 110QUANTITATIVE LITERACY (or above) 33
Non-Western requirement
Non-Western course (can be used for Humanities or Social Sciences general education requirements)3
RU mission-related course 2
LIBS 201WRITING SOCIAL JUSTICE3
Science
One biological science and one physical science required (at least one must be a four-hour lab (not applicable for science majors)7-8
Social Sciences
Select 9 credits from the following subject areas: African-American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, History, Journalism, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies9
Total Credit Hours49-50
1

Required for students who enter RU with fewer than 12 credit hours

2

Minimum grade of C- required

3

Math, Computer Science & Technology, and Science majors have different requirements--see advisor

These quantitative requirements also apply to degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences:

  • Students may apply no more than 60 credit hours of 100-level courses toward the degree.
  • Students must apply no fewer than 60 credit hours of 200- and 300-level courses toward the degree.
  • Students must have at least 18 credit hours (of the 60 credit hours above) at the 300 level.
  • Students may transfer in no more than 66 credit hours from community colleges.
  • Students must take their final 30 hours at Roosevelt University. Note that some majors have additional requirements for RU hours.
  • Students must have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher to graduate. Note that some majors have additional GPA requirements.
  • Students must have a minimum of 90 hours in Arts and Sciences.
  • Students may apply no more than 51 hours in the major (BA) or 57 hours in the major (BS)