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Sustainability Studies, BPS


Roosevelt University’s Sustainability Studies (SUST) program is an exciting new undergraduate major that is interdisciplinary and environmentally-focused. Offered through the College of Professional Studies, the SUST program 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 on issues of sustainability, which has become one of the critical social justice issues of the 21st century.

Students graduating with a major in Sustainability Studies will have a truly interdisciplinary understanding of the varied dimensions of sustainability, both from a local and global perspective; be fluent in articulating how sustainability issues relate to matter of the environment, the economy, and social equity; and 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.


English 101 is a prerequisite for all 200-level SUST courses; the University Writing Requirement is a prerequisite for all 300-level SUST courses.

A grade of C- or higher is required in all courses in the major.

  SUST 210 Sustainable Future .....3
  SUST 220 Water .....3
  SUST 230 Food .....3
  SUST 240 Waste .....3
  SUST 310 Energy and Climate Change .....3
  SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning .....3
  SUST 330 Biodiversity .....3
SUST Elective (choose one of the following)
  SUST 340 Policy, Law, and Ethics -OR- (see SUST 350, SUST 390 .....3
  SUST 350 Service Learning -OR- (see SUST 340, SUST 390) .....3
  SUST 390 Special Topics -OR- (see SUST 340, SUST 350) .....3


Two electives, chosen in consultation with an advisor, from these subject areas: SUST, biology, chemistry, environmental science, math (especially statistics), GIS, commerce and enterprise, criminal justice, organizational leadership, paralegal studies

Functional Area or Minor

  Related courses in a discipline or interdisciplinary area selected in consultation with an advisor. .....18

Introductory Seminar

  PLS 201 Pro-Seminar in Critical Skills (for students with fewer than 60 hours in transfer credit) OR .....6
  PLS 302 Methods of Critical Reasoning (for students with an AA/AS or more than 60 hours in transfer credit. .....3


Mathematics proficiency may be satisfied by either of these two courses:
  MATH 110 Quantitative Reasoning (or a higher-level math class) OR .....3
  PLS 290 Technological and Quantitative Literacy .....3

RU Writing Requirement

  ENG 101 Introduction to Composition .....3
  ENG 102 Argument, Analysis, and Research .....3

Senior Seminars

  PLS 390 Seminar in the Social Sciences .....6
  PLS 391 Seminar in the Natural Sciences .....6
  PLS 392 Seminar in the Humanities .....6
  PLS 399 Senior Thesis .....3

Students may waive one PLS Senior Seminar with nine semester hours of appropriate transferable credit with at least a 2.0 average in a single seminar area; students with 60 semester hours of transfer credit or an Associates’ Degree in Arts or Science may waive two Senior Seminars.