Apr 23, 2021  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Sustainability (B.A./B.S.)

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37-54 Major Hours, 120 Degree Hours

Students in this major must also complete requirements for a degree in the College of Arts & Sciences .

USD’s Sustainability major includes a choice of two specializations for the B.S. degree, the B.A. degree is only available with the Human and Natural Systems specialization.

Environmental Science Specialization (30-32 hours)

This specialization is only available to B.S. students.

Sustainability B.S. student choose one specialization (15 cr. from course groups or specialization electives plus foundational requirements)

Human and Natural Systems Specialization (15 hours)

This specialization is available to both the B.A. and B.S. degree students.

Sustainable Communities Emphasis (at least 3 courses from the Social Systems course group and 1 from Natural Systems course group)

Science and Society Emphasis (at least 3 courses from the Natural Systems Course Group and at least 1 from Social Systems course group)



*Inclusion of SUST 491 and 492 is subject to approval of the chairperson of the Sustainability and Environment Department to ensure suitability for the specialization.

B.A. and B.S. Distribution Requirements:

The following SUST courses count toward the B.A. and B.S. distribution requirements:

Natural Sciences ONLY

These courses may be used only to satisfy distribution requirements in natural sciences:

Social Sciences ONLY

These courses may be used only to satisfy distribution requirements in social sciences:


Depending upon the content of Special Topics and individual study courses, they may be designated as either natural sciences or social sciences.

Sustainability Double Major (31 hours)

 Sustainability Double Major  

Students who choose Sustainability as one of two majors complete a 31-credit hour version of the Sustainability major. Double-majors complete all core requirements for the major (22 hours) and select a specialization. In the specialization, 9 hours of coursework are required with at least one course selected from each course group for the selected specialization.

Four-Year Program Guides and Costs

USD encourages students to take 15 credits per semester or 30 credits within the year in order to graduate in 4 years. To help students complete their academic degree program in four years, we provide a sample academic plan. Please work with your academic advisor to confirm your plan. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to systematically explore issues, objects or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments, and break down complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them.
  2. Students will interact with other students and evaluate the effort put into team tasks, interactions with others, and the quantity and quality made to team discussions.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate the cultivation of knowledge, skills, values and motivation that will enable them to make a difference in the civic life of communities and promote the quality of life in a community and engage in activities of personal and public concern that are both individually life enriching and socially beneficial to the community
  4. Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion, and combine or synthesize existing ideas, images or expertise in original ways reflecting a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking.
  5. Students will connect ideas and experiences in order to synthesize and transfer learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus. 
  6. Students will intentionally engage with diversity in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions leading to opportunities for equal access to participation in educational and community programs for all members of society.
  7. Students will demonstrate mastery of social or environmental sustainability knowledge within their chosen area of specialization.
  8. Students will work with others respectfully to accomplish shared goals.
  9. Students will use a systems-thinking approach to assess issues.
  10. Students will deliver well-organized content orally to designated audience(s).
  11. Students will compose readable prose that effectively conveys content to designated audience(s).
  12. Students will apply their knowledge of sustainability to a real-world issue through community-based or other experiential learning activities.

State Authorization - It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference the State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization

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