B.A. degree program in urban sustainability
HEGIS code 0420
NYS SED program code 21627

View Degree Map and Student Learning Outcome

The urban sustainability program takes a unique interdisciplinary approach by offering concentrations in economics, environmental science, and sociology. Students will examine the causes of urban sustainability problems and devise solutions that promote environmental protection, social equity, and economic vitality. Alongside their coursework, students will learn how to map economic, environmental and social data using our geographic information system (GIS) laboratory to produce and analyze data. Our place-based teaching approach features hands-on engagement with the natural and built environment of New York City - including field trips to community gardens, local waterways, and city parks - preparing students to understand and find solutions to global issues affected by urban development in an era of climate change.

Students choose from one of three options:

Concentration in Environmental Science

Defining and solving many of the problems confronting urban centers requires an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes of coupled natural-human systems. Students in the Environmental Science concentration will use the natural laboratory of New York City to examine issues such as urban soil contamination, loss of wetlands, coastal impacts of sea level rise and effects of nitrogen pollution on marine ecosystems. Students will be prepared for graduate study in environmental and sustainability programs and acquire skills and knowledge that can be applied to careers in government, non-government, and private sector positions requiring management of resources and/or researching on ways to protect the natural environment.

Concentration in Environmental Economics and Business Management

Economic sustainability requires economic "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Our Common Future, 2007). Students choosing Environmental Economics and Business Management as a concentration examine environmental economics and policy, environmental management, economic growth, development and trade. Environmental economists study the interrelationships between economic institutions and the natural environment at multiple spatial scales -- neighborhood, urban, regional and global. Students completing the Economics concentration will be able to: 1) apply economic principles to problems related to the natural sciences; 2) understand the interdependence of risk and uncertainty in social behavior and natural systems; and 3) be familiar with multidisciplinary collaborative approaches for solving complex human-natural system problems. Students will be prepared for graduate study in environmental and sustainability programs, environmental law and public policy programs, as well as entry-level jobs in environmental government agencies, the not-for-profit sector, and environmental health and safety functions in Fortune-500 corporations.

Concentration in Environmental Sociology

Sustainability requires that social institutions respond to ecological changes and constraints. Students choosing Sociology as a concentration will examine public policy, advocacy efforts, and environmental justice. Environmental sociologists uncover the role of social structures and institutions in shaping how people interact with the natural environment. For example, students will examine how social institutions structure science and how that affects our views and uses of nature. Students will also examine how social groups compete to shape environmental policies, and how those policies affect social inequality and environmental justice. Students will examine institutions working to shape sustainability, such as social movement organizations, community groups and government agencies. Students who concentrate in Sociology will acquire skills and knowledge that can be used in careers in environmental public policy, advocacy, diplomacy, education, and other fields.

Program/Department Advisers

Please contact the department for information on academic advisers and office hours.


Program requirements (52.5-61 credits)
Students must complete both A and B below:

A. All of the following courses:
Urban Sustainability 1001, Urban Sustainability 2001W, Urban Sustainability 5001, Earth and Environmental Sciences 1201, 2400, Economics 2200, 3254, Sociology 1101, 2201, Philosophy 3309, Urban Sustainability 4001.
Economics 3400 or Earth and Environmental Sciences 2600 or Sociology 2112. Biology 1001 and Biology 3083, or EESC 2500.

B. Students must complete one of the three Options below:

Option 1: Concentration in Environmental Science
Earth and environmental sciences 3600, 4310, 4325, 4275.
Chemistry 1040 or 1100, or Chemistry 1050 and 2050, or Earth and Environmental Sciences 3100.

Option 2: Concentration in Environmental Economics and Business Management
Economics 3202, 4400W, and two of the following: Economics 3232, 3252, Business 3180, 3181, 3182.

Option 3: Concentration in Environmental Sociology
Sociology 2701, 3202, 3204, 3205.

With the permission of the Urban Sustainability Program Steering Committee, students may be allowed to take up to 6 credits of other courses to satisfy the requirements listed in A and B.