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Sustainability Minor Program

UMass Dartmouth is pleased to offer a minor in Sustainability.

Sustainability is the ability of a community or socioeconomic system to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In the Sustainability minor program, you will learn about the causes of unsustainable practices and explore solutions for creating more sustainable communities and businesses.

Because of the increasing importance of sustainability in today’s world, a minor in Sustainability will also help you to gain knowledge, skills, and experience that will enhance your attractiveness to potential employers, such as firms that produce sustainable goods and services, businesses interested in greening their production methods, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. This is a valuable asset in today’s labor market: at least 30 percent of all UMD Sustainability graduates are currently employed in the sustainability sector.[1]

What’s more, because Sustainability is interdisciplinary, you can complete all or most of the requirements of the Sustainability minor as part of your University Studies, college, and major requirements. In other words, the Sustainability minor is a great way to earn a highly marketable degree by taking courses that you have to take anyway.

In order to earn a minor degree in Sustainability Studies, students must complete 18 credits of coursework, as follows:

  • SUS 101, Principles of Sustainability, OR SUS 202, Topics in Sustainability
  • Two electives at any level (these MAY double-count toward major requirements)
  • Two electives numbered 300 or above (these may NOT double-count toward major requirements)
  • SUS 450, Advanced Seminar in Sustainability Studies (or, with advance approval, a third 300/400-level elective)

Electives may be drawn from courses with the SUS prefix and approved electives offered by other departments.

The requirements for the 15-credit Sustainability concentration within the Liberal Arts major are similar: (a) SUS 101 or SUS 202; (b) one elective at any level; and (c) three electives numbered 300 or higher.


Double-counting rules:

  • Any course counting toward the Sustainability minor double-counts toward any University Studies and/or college requirement fulfilled by that course. Some courses even triple-count toward university, college, and minor requirements!
  • If your major department offers courses for the Sustainability minor, you may count up to two of these toward the minor requirement of “two electives at any level,” provided that at three of the other courses that you take for the minor are numbered 300 or higher and do not count toward your major requirements.


Questions and Answers about Declaring the Minor

Q.        How do I declare the Sustainability minor?

A.        It’s easy:

  1. Contact the Director of Sustainability Studies, Professor Robert Darst, at rdarst@umassd.edu. Professor Darst will give you a Minor Request Form.
  2. Secure the signatures of your academic advisor and your major department chair.
  3. Take the form to the Registrar.


Q.        When should I declare the Sustainability minor?

A.        You can declare the Sustainability minor as soon as you have completed 24 or more credits—typically, at the end of your first academic year. Don’t wait any longer than you have to: The minor will appear on your transcript as soon as the paperwork is processed, which may help you to secure internships, scholarships, or a summer job.


Q.        Do I have to wait until I declare the minor to start taking Sustainability courses?

A.        NO! Eligible courses count toward the minor, regardless of when you take them. If you are interested in the Sustainability minor, start fulfilling your University Studies and/or college distribution requirements with courses that count toward the minor. Even if you decide not to pursue the minor, those requirements will still be fulfilled.


Q.        What happens if I decide not to complete the minor?

A.        That’s easy, too. If you decide that you do not wish to complete the minor, simply email the Registrar and state that you no longer intend to pursue a minor in Sustainability. No forms or signatures are required. The minor will be removed from your transcript.


[1] A 2014 survey of the LinkedIn profiles of all UMD sustainability graduates revealed that 30% are working in the sustainability sector and 32% are working in other sectors. There was insufficient information to determine the nature of the current employment of the remaining 38%.