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Sustainability (B.A.)

Website: School of Social Science and Human Services

About the Major

Contemporary ecological, social and economic challenges require individuals who understand the complexities of interconnected systems and can implement a holistic perspective to engage with problems at local, regional and global scales. The Sustainability Major at Ramapo College equips students to apply a supra-disciplinary approach to address complex problems in ways that transcend the conventional disciplinary mindset. 

Businesses, governmental agencies, educational organizations and community groups increasingly recognize the need for sustainability practitioners. This requires individuals with expertise in a systems approach to the triple bottom line that integrates society, ecology and economy. By combining theory with projects and experiential learning, the major provides students with depth in Sustainability thinking and practice, which can be applied to any field. 

Students who complete this major are equipped to apply integrative skill sets to their careers in ways that provide meaningful contributions to our social and ecological well-being. The Major empowers students to incorporate civic engagement, social justice and personal transformation into their lives.

The BA in Sustainability consists of thirteen courses (52 credits). Three Foundational Courses focus on sustainability from socio-cultural, business, and ecological perspectives, which lead to a writing intensive Integrative Seminar in Sustainability. Students also choose four elective courses within the major that ground students in the practice of sustainability by focusing on themes such as policy, leadership, research methods, literature, and areas such as food, water and energy.

For students to gain depth in a particular area of interest where sustainability may be applied, three courses are drawn from one of the following disciplinary clusters: Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Earth Science, Food Studies, Law and Society, Sociology, Psychology, Contemplative Studies, Philosophy, (Business) Management.

The two senior capstone courses showcase systems thinking and the development of practice-based, process-oriented approaches to address the pressing social, ecological and economic issues of our time.

Outcomes for the Major

Goal 1:  Sustainability Literacy: Students will acquire the knowledge and wisdom to foster a sustainable world, with particular attention to an trans-disiciplinary and holistic systems approach.

Outcome 1: Students will examine the complex and dynamic network of relationships that exist in ecological systems, economic structures, and community dynamics: appreciate that these relationships exist at the national, local and global levels.

Outcome 2:  Students will develop foundational knowledge of theories of sustainability theories and its discourses, from the vantage of a systems approach to solving problems of sustainability.

Outcome 3:  Students will critically analyze public policy settings at the global, national and local level, and apply it to policy making for sustainable communities.

Outcome 4: Students will gain expertise in understanding the integrative nature of Food, Energy and Water to arrive at an agenda for action through the use of a Nexus approach.

Outcome 5:  Students will learn about leadership models for bringing change in varied and complex organizational settings.

Outcome 6:  Students will explore and develop the complex set of skills and abilities needed for sustainable interventions and assessment.

Goal 2:  Methods and Practice of Sustainability

Outcome 7:  Students will engage in systems perspective to address societal problems.

Outcome 8:  Students will learn the technique of conducting multi-method research design through training in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Outcome 9:  Students will show the ability to apply diverse methods and techniques to sustainability research so as to guide decision makers toward sustainable solutions.

Outcome 10:  Students will practice the methods of participatory decision-making among stakeholders to achieve sustainability.

Outcome 11:  Students will address an issue incorporating sustainability research methods and addressing the issue from a triple bottom line perspective.

Goal 3:  Critical Thinking & Communication:  Students will demonstrate an ability to critically acquire, analyze, synthesize and communicate information about sustainability—in oral, written and electronic media formats—to diverse audiences, so as to facilitate informed decision making.

Outcome 12:  Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Outcome 13:  Learn to address decision-making under complex situations and within complex organizations.

Outcome 14:  Learn to apply sustainability to personal, professional and academic living experiences.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below. Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible. Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of Classes for semester course offerings.
  5. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation.  Visit the Cahill Career Center.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. Students are required to take 5 courses (20 credits) to complete this minor.
  2. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.