Jul 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

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

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 credit hours)

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

Complete 15 credit hours from course groups or environmental science electives plus foundational requirements.

Human and Natural Systems Specialization (15 credit 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.

B.A./B.S. to M.S. Accelerated Options

Undergraduate Sustainability majors may elect to complete both the B.A./B.S. and M.S. concurrently. Students who pursue the accelerated option will be awarded their undergraduate degree first, but may be awarded both degrees upon completion of the graduate requirements. Students may apply for admission to the M.S. program after completing 75 undergraduate credit hours and may begin taking graduate level courses upon completion of 90 undergraduate credit hours and acceptance into the accelerated graduate program. Additional information about the accelerated degree can be found on the accelerated program catalog page  for the M.S. in Sustainability.

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 credit hours) and select a specialization. In the specialization, 9 credit 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. 

Related programs:

Location Matters for Non-Licensure Track Programs

This program is not designed or advertised to lead to a professional license or certification required for employment.

USD is permitted to operate under the terms of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) policies and standards in offering online courses/degree programs to residents in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  Online courses/programs may also be offered to residents of California (a non-SARA state) because it does not regulate out-of-state public institutions.

Additionally, this program is authorized to offer supervised field study experiences (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) in South Dakota. Please be aware that there may be some restrictions on your ability to engage in supervised field study outside of South Dakota. Please contact a program representative if you have questions regarding supervised field study.

Distance education courses or programs will not be offered outside of the United States without prior written approval from the University, which may be withheld for any reason. If you are taking distance courses while physically located outside of the United States, it is your responsibility to confirm the following: (a) if the country will recognize an online degree; (b) the availability of supervised field study opportunities in the country; and (c) if the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.

For more information, please visit USD’s State Authorization page or contact your admissions counselor.