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Sustainability (B.A.)

Website: School of Social Science and Human Services

About the major

The Sustainability major at Ramapo College equips students to apply a systems approach to address complex ecological, economic and social problems in ways that transcend the conventional disciplinary mindset. Increasingly, businesses, governmental agencies, non-profits, media and community groups recognize the need for individuals with expertise in a systems approach to the triple bottom line that integrates society, ecology and economy. The Sustainability major combines theory with projects and experiential learning to provide students  with depth in Sustainability thinking and practice, which can be applied to any field. 

Students who complete the Sustainability major are equipped to apply integrative skill sets to their careers in ways that promote social, economic and ecological well-being. The major also  empowers students to incorporate civic engagement, social justice and personal transformation  into their lives. 

The BA in Sustainability consists of thirteen courses – 52 credits (up to 56 credits for students who take one of the science-based Disciplinary Clusters). 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 take two required core courses and  choose two out of five electives within the major that ground students in the practice of sustainability by focusing on themes such as leadership, methods in sustainability, environmental  policy, environmental literature, environmental law, and climate change, as well as 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, (Business) Management, Law and Society, Environmental  Studies, Earth Science, Food Studies, Sociology, Psychology, Contemplative Studies, and Philosophy. 

The two fourth-year capstone courses focus on independent student projects that highlight practice-based, process-oriented approaches to address the pressing social, ecological and economic issues.

Students are encouraged to use their nine free electives to also complete a minor or, in some  cases with one or two summer or winter courses, a second major. (Talk to your advisor about  this possibility early in your first year.) 

Outcomes for the major

Goal 1: Students will acquire the knowledge to foster a sustainable world, with  particular attention to a systems approach. 

Outcome 1: Students will gain an understanding of the complex relationships that exist in ecological, economic, and community systems. 

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

Goal 2: Students will engage in the methods and practices of sustainability.

Outcome 1: Students will learn the technique of conducting multi-method research design. 

Outcome 2: Students will learn to implement appropriate practices for achieving sustainability. 

Goal 3: Students will demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate and communicate concepts related to sustainability so as to facilitate informed decision making.

Outcome 1: Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills within the field of sustainability. 

Outcome 2: Learn to effectively communicate concepts, recommendations and outcomes related to sustainability in oral and written forms. 

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 & 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 (i.e., 20 credits) to complete this minor.
  2. At least half 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.