Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The three pillars of sustainability are basic human needs, diverse natural environments, and the quality of human life including recognizing cultural values and human rights. Geography is an appropriate major for those interested in sustainability, as it includes study of the natural environment, human use of the environment, human impacts on the environment, and social and cultural values and ideals as they involve the environment, while at the same time providing training in practical techniques such as geographic information science and remote sensing and opportunities for internships and capstone experiences. The Sustainability track in Geography emphasizes advanced study of past, present, and future interactions between nature, society, and development. As such, it contributes to a general liberal arts education for future leaders and innovators in government, the private sector, education, and non-governmental organizations. It also provides excellent background for student pursuing graduate education in law, medicine, public affairs, business, interdisciplinary environmental studies, and geography.
Note: courses in brackets have been offered rarely (less than once every two years).
Students selecting this track must take at least one of the following courses:
- GRG 304E Environmental Science: A Changing World
- GRG 306C Conservation
- GRG 331K Nature, Society and Adaptation
- [GRG 334 Conservation, Resources, and Technology]
- GRG 342C Sustainable Development
- [GRG 346 The Human Use of the Earth]
- [GRG 350D Political Ecology of Globalization and Environmental Degradation]
Students must take 9 additional semester hours of coursework from the above or following lists to complete the track:
- GRG 309 (When topic is relevant to track)
- GRG 319 Geography of Latin America
- GRG 323K South America: Nature, Society and Sustainability
- GRG 333K Climate Change
- GRG 334C Environmental Hazards
- GRG 335N Landscape Ecology
- [GRG 336C National Parks and Protected Areas]
- GRG 339C Principles of Environmental Conservation
- GRG 339K Environment, Development, and Food Production
- GRG 344K Global Food, Farming and Hunger
- GRG 350K Geographies of Globalization
- GRG 356 Topics in Environmental Geography (when appropriate)
- GRG 356T Topics in Geography (when appropriate)
- [GRG 356C Geo-Archaeology and Environmental History]
- GRG 357 Medical Geography
- GRG 360G Environmental Geographic Information Systems
- GRG 462K Introductory Remote Sensing of the Environment
- GRG 366C Comparative Ecosystems
- GRG 379L Practicum: Internships in Applied Geography (when appropriate)
Students are urged to consider the departmental honors sequence (679HA/HB), which can be used to meet track or core requirements when pursued under the guidance of an appropriate faculty member.
Note: In addition to the above, all geography majors must also complete the core requirements in Human Geography, Physical Geography, and Techniques.
Minors for Sustainability
Students in this track should consider minoring in anthropology, biology, economics, geology, government, or sociology. Students minoring in geology should see the recommended list of courses for this subject under the Earth Science track.