What is sustainability?
The most widely discussed definition comes from the UN’s Brundtland Report, which defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
College Programs that Focus on Sustainability
Sustainability-Focused Studies and Science Programs
This lists includes information on Associates and Bachelors degrees, certificate programs, and minors (as well as graduate programs) that focus on sustainability, sustainability studies, sustainable development, sustainable communities, and sustainable living, among others.
Sustainability-Focused Baccalaureate Degree Programs
More than 400 baccalaureate degrees are listed here. Programs include concentrations in social justice and economics, which along with the environment represent the three legs of sustainability.
The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges
The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges reviews 330 institutions of higher education in the United States and two in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. The guide is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges.
Related College Majors
- Environmental engineering
- Environmental science
- Environmental studies
- Urban & environmental planning
- Social enterprise
- Ecological restoration
- Environmental policy
- Global & environmental change
- Public health
- Landscape architecture
- Renewable energy
- Ecological agriculture
- Sustainable food and farming
- Environmental geology
Potential Careers Fields & Careers in Sustainability
- Engineers: chemical engineers, civil engineers, environmental engineers, industrial engineers
- Scientists: atmospheric scientists, chemists and materials scientists, conservation scientists, environmental scientists, microbiologists, natural sciences managers, soil and plant scientists
- Business and Finance: accountants and auditors, business operations specialists, cost estimators, human resources specialists, consulting, socially responsibly investing, social entrepreneurship, social enterprise development, corporate social responsibility, cause marketing
- Technical: solar installation, energy auditing, environmental impact reporting, environmental health/toxicology
- Private Sector: renewable energy, green consumer products, green building/architecture/design
- Public Sector: policy analysis, legislation/politics, government agency, environmental affairs, urban planning, and housing
- Civil Sector: general environmental advocacy, renewable energy, policy research, foundations, education (environmental), professional associations, university, NGOs and nonprofit
- Other: research and development, media, event planning, standards organizations, waste and recycling, fashion and apparel, military, food and agriculture, hospitality, occupational health and safety specialists
Check here for a list of 56 “Green Careers”
Prior to the budget sequestration in 2013 the Bureau of Labor and Statistics maintained a Green Career information page.
The following page, Turning Green Degrees into Sustainable Careers, offers information on a range of jobs related to majors in the area of green jobs and sustainability related careers. Included is their list of the “Top 10 Green Degrees” and an extensive Question and Answer session with UCLA’s Chief Director of Sustainability, Nurit Katz.