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Lee Hall at Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina

“Sustainable Environment” is one of the University’s eight emphasis areas for economic development, and is notable because of the University’s academic strength in the field and a related industry presence in the state. Clemson students may choose from dozens of sustainability-related courses in various majors and minors, including the newly established interdisciplinary sustainability minor. By including it as an emphasis area and being a signatory of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Clemson has been committed to making sustainability an integral part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students.

To ensure that sustainability is both addressed specifically and is integrated across the curriculum, the Sustainability Plan education action items were implemented:

  • Implement a series of major-specific courses that address sustainability concepts within the context of Clemson’s fields of study
  • Include sustainability as a theme in Science, Technology and Society courses
  • Expand and highlight opportunities to integrate sustainability into other courses or to develop new sustainability-focused courses, concentrating on first and second-year courses that reach a broad audience
  • Support faculty who incorporate sustainability in their courses
    • Offer incentive funding for revising courses to include sustainability
    • Continue and expand Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation workshops in “teaching sustainability across the disciplines”
    • Offer a faculty support network through a new or rechartered center or institute that will focus on sustainable education.

Sustainability Minor

The sustainability minor, which is open to all majors, is one of the first of its kind. The program is designed to familiarize students with the core values of sustainability, and gain an in-depth knowledge of why and how sustainability is approached.

If you are interested in minoring in sustainability, speak with your advisor or contact Jennifer Goree.

If you need to discuss a course substitution, please contact Dr. David Freedman.

Catalog Description

Description: 2017-2018 Course catalog outline for the Sustainability Minor:

Sustainability (18 credits minimum)
A minor in Sustainability requires 18 credits, including CU 2010; and 15 credits selected from AGM 3010, AGRB 2570, 3570, 4570*, ARCH 4250, 4710*, 4720*, BE 4080, 4240, 4400, 4510, 4640, 4730, 4740, 4750, BIOL 2040*, 3130, 4410, 4860, BT 2200, 2400, CE 4120, 4360, 4370, 4400, CHE 4500, COMM 3070*, ECE 4200, 4570, 4610, 4710, ECON 3190, EES 3030, 3040, 4300, 4510, 4800, 4840, 4860, ENGL 4340*, ENR 1010, 3120*, 4130, 4290*, 4500*, ENSP 1250, 2000, 2010, 3150, 4000*, 4720, ENT 3000, ETOX 4000, 4210, 4370, 4460, 4470, 4850, FOR 4230, 4340, 4510, 4650, GEOL 1120, 1140, 1200, 1250, 2700*, 3000, 4090*, HIST 1240*, 3920*, HON 2060 (when the course covers sustainable energy innovation or experimental forest topics), HORT 1010, 3080, 3090, 4560*, 4610*, LARC 4230*, ME 4200, 4260, MSE 4330, PES 3150, 3350, 4080, 4220, 4230, 4450*, 4510*, 4900, PHIL 3260*, 3400*, 3450*, PHSC 1070, PHYS 2450, 4200, PKSC 3680*, POSC 4160*, PRTM 4300*, RS 4010*, SOC 4030*, 4330*, 4590*, 4710*, STS 2150*, WFB 3130, 4180, 4300. At least nine credits must be selected from 3000- or 4000-level courses. At least three and no more than nine credits must be from courses addressing the social dimension of sustainability. These courses are identified by an asterisk in the list above. Creative Inquiry, study abroad, independent research, capstone project, or other courses that focus on sustainability issues may be submitted through CU 2010 instructors for approval.

Flow of the Minor

CU 2010, Sustainability Leadership, is intended as the first course students will take in the minor. The course includes brief coverage of the student learning outcomes listed below. As part of this course, students work with the instructors to select learning objectives from this list and use these learning objectives to develop their plan for completing the minor.

Students are encouraged to take CU 2010 early in their studies, but may seek approval for courses taken prior to enrolling in CU 2010.

An approved list of learning objectives, courses, and engagement activities will be maintained and students/faculty can submit new courses and projects for approval by showing how they meet specific learning objectives. This flexibility is critical due to the constant additions of courses and engagement activities related to sustainability.

Student Learning Outcomes

Scales of sustainability:

  • Define sustainability in 3 dimensions (environmental, social, economic)
  • Apply sustainability concepts on local and global scales
  • Integrate sustainability study and practice into the surrounding community
  • Evaluate the history of development through mercantilism, imperialism, capitalism
  • Assess the long term cultural and environmental impacts that shape our world today

Fundamental issues of sustainability:

  • Evaluate current and potential future impacts of sustainability issues including: Global climate and climate change; Food; Energy; Water; Environmental Degradation
  • Evaluate how sustainability impacts social and intergenerational justice

Systems thinking for sustainability:

  • Understand basic principles of systems thinking
  • Evaluate the role of their major in sustainability issues
  • Recognize interrelated systems

Evaluate tools for implementing/measuring sustainability:

  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of sustainability (see that it is not always more expensive)
  • Perform a Life cycle analysis and assessment
  • Measure impacts of point source pollution prevention; and cradle-to-cradle and lean manufacturing

Change agents for sustainability:

  • Practice change agent skills for sustainability
  • Practice group processes
  • Identify and address the root of problems, even when it seems to go against the status quo or social norms
  • Apply a new or changed mindset to your personal life

Sustainable Cities of Scandinavia

Summer Study Abroad in Sweden: An Interdisciplinary Program for Undergraduate and Graduate students

Undergraduate students will earn 6 credit hours of general education credit that also counts toward the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability during the 5-week undergraduate program.

Graduate students will earn 3 hours of graduate credit during the 10-12 day graduate program.

Students will live in Kalmar, Sweden, an 800-year-old city by the Baltic Sea and will visit four of the greenest cities in the world.

Cities visited will include: Kalmar, Vaxjo, Oland, Smaland, Stockholm, and Copenhagen

Contact Lori Dickes at for more information.