The field of sustainability has been recently developed in order to address today’s economic and environmental challenges in a way that preserves the welfare of future generations. Sustainable development theories and practices focus on social progress, environmental protection, carefully managed resources, economic growth, and global employment. A bachelor’s degree in sustainability can be presented in many different forms. Because the study of sustainability is so interdisciplinary, it can be pursued as a component of anthropology, agriculture, engineering, environmental studies, public policy, and even business.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
A bachelors degree in sustainability prepares students to solve the very real and immediate problems resulting from depletion and mismanagement of natural resources. After earning a bachelor’s degree in sustainability, students can choose to pursue a career in business or environmental conservation. Students may also begin work in agriculture or community development, or they can choose to pursue graduate studies to begin research into a specific topic within the field.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
The admissions process is different for each university or college, and some programs offer open enrollment, which means the schools will admit all students with a high school diploma, regardless of past academic performance. Students hoping to earn a degree from a competitive university must satisfy the following requirements:
- A high school diploma or GED
- Desired GPA as evidenced by transcripts
- Transferable credit from a two-year college and desired GPA
- Supplemental documents such as letters of recommendation and an essay
Inside a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Bachelor’s degrees are comprised of approximately 120 credits and take four years for full-time students to complete. Part-time students will need to work with academic advisors to create a degree completion plan. Students who are considering an online bachelors degree in sustainability may have the option to participate in programs designed for working professionals. These programs often offer online classes in condensed formats and allows part-time students to study year-round and graduate in a more traditional timeframe.
Sustainability programs will include a core general education curriculum spanning the humanities, arts, natural sciences, social sciences, and math. Courses specific to the study of sustainability will depend on the focus of the student and the degree. For example, a bachelor of science program will require students to study the basic principles of biology, covering topics such as cells and genetics, diversity and ecosystems, botany, limnology, and ecology. Additionally, students will take courses in chemistry, economics, communication, and business management. Sustainability students will also take courses in political science, environmental management and technology, as well as sustainability principles. Students may be encouraged to participate in an internship, but this is generally not a requirement for graduation.
What’s Next for Sustainability Bachelor Degree Holders?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that a bachelor’s degree is usually enough to get started in a green career, so students graduating with one should have no problem finding a job. Companies everywhere are expanding their sustainability programs every day in hopes of becoming more efficient and eco-friendly. However, there are also other educational opportunities to be had.
Should you decide that more education is right for you, it’s important to note that many schools offer a master’s degree and doctorate degree in sustainability. Also, students can pursue other subjects to enhance their portfolios and make them more well-rounded professionals.