Sustainability Studies, B.S.

Sustainability Studies, B.S.

The Bachelor's in Sustainability Studies

Sustainability Studies BS

Do you want to develop new sustainable science and engineering innovations, build sustainability consulting businesses, research climate change, create technology solutions, or embark upon related interdisciplinary careers? You can get there with a BS in Sustainability Studies from Florida Tech. Along the way, you’ll develop strong systems-thinking skills, build hands-on experience through campus and community research projects at a university started by NASA scientists, and prepare for a career in the early stages of the remarkable emergence of many sustainability initiatives.

Gain Practical Experience

In your junior and senior years, you’ll refine fundamental skills with specialized sustainability concentration courses that include many project opportunities. You’ll also undertake an exciting applied capstone sustainability project on a topic of your choice that can lead to greater exposure (e.g., community internships, the Northrop Grumman Design Showcase). Students gain practical experience, an enhanced résumé, and a stronger sense of scholarship—the perfect preparation for employment or graduate school.

Our sustainability degree is dynamic yet focused. You’ll get started right away, taking core courses like Introduction to Sustainability and the Whole Earth Course. Guided by highly experienced faculty who care about your success, you’ll obtain core science and business skills while specializing in your strengths and greatest interests.

Why Pursue A Sustainability Studies Degree at Florida Tech?

By definition, sustainability studies is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing elements of all colleges and many departments on campus. The Sustainability Studies program is housed in the Department of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, which works to integrate students among all disciplines and interests across campus. As a BS program at a major technology university, our diverse student and faculty interests focus on building sustainability innovations for the future.

Become an Expert in Many Aspects of Sustainability Studies

The program is structured so that students closely interact with faculty from many departments in the colleges of Science, Engineering, Business, Psychology, and Liberal Arts. The diversity of these interactions and the major requirements to take concentration courses in Environmental Sciences, Technology and Engineering, Business, and Social Sciences gives our sustainability studies students expertise in all the field has to offer, as well as specialization in your preferred topics.

Small Classes—Personalized Attention

Internationally recognized faculty members in the five colleges on campus reflect expertise in multiple disciplines including:

  • Sustainability
  • Renewable energy
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Green construction
  • Public policy
  • Oceanography
  • Conservation biology
  • Nonprofit management

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Florida Tech has an extensive collection of laboratory and other research facilities available around campus for applied research in sustainability science and engineering. For example, students have access to the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center, a 70,000-square-foot facility that houses faculty laboratories and cutting-edge instrumentation. Two campus buildings are certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for best practices in sustainable construction, with a third pending. These buildings became LEED-certified in part via the research efforts of sustainability studies students. In addition, our Evans Library has a large array of digital and print resources on sustainability routinely runs sustainability events, and can always obtain new materials upon request.

Located in the Heart of Florida’s High-tech Corridor

Florida Tech is the perfect place for a BS in Sustainability Studies. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us), minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America.

The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship and employment opportunities.

Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.

Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations

Beyond the classroom, sustainability majors can build leadership and professional experience through participation in organizations like the Student Organization for Sustainability Action, the Student Government Association, Alpha Phi Omega (the national community service and leadership development co-ed fraternity) and over 100 other student organizations.

Florida Tech’s Student Government Association is increasingly important in coordinating and enhancing student sustainability activities. There are many clubs active in sustainable practices, directly or indirectly. For example, the Student Organization for Sustainability Action (SOSA) is an on-campus group dedicated to the practice and implementation of sustainable best practices across the Florida Tech community. The organization strives to identify and catalyze sustainability advances throughout all colleges, campus facilities, and student support services.

How Will A Sustainability Studies Degree Prepare Me for the Future?

Peerless Study and Internship Opportunities

Students have plenty of opportunities at Florida Tech to perform research while experiencing applied sustainability internships with corporate sustainability partners. Many students do their final capstone projects as sustainability internships off-campus with businesses, government agencies, or regional nonprofit organizations.

Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities

In addition to taking part in a sustainability internship, the sustainability studies program places a strong focus on applied senior research projects, with many examples of student project innovations on- and off-campus. A few examples include:

  • Contracting with local cities to write formal sustainability plans
  • Expanding recycling initiatives in offices and residence halls
  • Creating Green Business Certification Programs to protect local estuaries
  • Building the first campus green transportation plan
  • Direct work on LEED sustainability certifications of campus buildings
  • Designing solar panel proposals for campus buildings
  • Composting in the Florida Tech Botanical Gardens
  • Green event management on campus
  • Building the first green IT plan for Florida Tech
  • Creating a new digital campus initiative using Geographic Information Systems software

Undergraduate sustainability research projects can lead to sustainability internships or related experiences. Students have obtained credits for study abroad sustainability programs in countries including Australia, Iceland, Ecuador, and Hungary.

What Can You Do with A Sustainability Studies Degree?

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Whenever you decide to start looking for sustainability jobs, employers will be waiting. Florida Tech alums have been employed by companies and agencies such as:

  • Northrop Grumman
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Bristol-Meyers Squibb
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Florida Solar Energy Center
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection
  • NASA
  • General Electric
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Merck & Co.
  • Microsoft
  • Motorola
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Surfrider Fourndation
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Sherwin-Williams
  • Siemens
  • Fund for Public Interest
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

Career Outlook

Sustainability jobs are often compared to computer and technology jobs in the early 1990s—exciting and innovative with many new career fields that couldn’t be seen even a few years earlier.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, sustainability jobs are expected to increase. Sustainability categories and employers include (according to Arizona State University, 2013):

  • Corporate sustainability/corporate social responsibility (Dell, Nike, Coca-Cola, Intel)
  • Research and development (Argonne National Laboratory, NASA, Globescan)
  • NGOs (World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy)
  • Other nonprofit and public service organizations (Global Reporting Initiative, Americorps, Peace Corps)
  • Certification and standards organizations (UL Environment, LEED, Blue Angel)
  • Marketing/media (Greenbiz, Grist, 3BL, earth911, MSM)
  • Event planning (Opportunity Green)
  • Socially responsible investing (Vanguard, Fidelity)
  • Consulting, many specialized categories (Accenture, Green Order, Sustainability)
  • Policy-making and the federal government (United Nations, US EPA, many other agencies)
  • State and local governments (many examples from city- through state agencies)
  • Education at all levels (teaching, research, operations)
  • Waste and recycling (Waste Management)
  • Defense and military (all services)
  • Food and agriculture (Roosevelt Row, local farmers’ markets, Whole Foods)
  • Sustainability entrepreneurship (Carbon Roots, Ollie the Trolley, Beat Street)

Other Career Options

A BS in Sustainability Studies allows you to pursue a career in many existing and emerging fields, including:

  • Corporate sustainability
  • Climate change research
  • Green architecture
  • Renewable energy engineering
  • Government sustainability
  • Wildlife research
  • Conservation organizations
  • Green transportation
  • Nonprofit management

In addition to these and traditional career fields, entirely new fields have recently emerged, such as:

  • Sustainable building
  • Green event management
  • Climate accounting
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Corporate social responsibility

Graduate and Doctoral Programs

After receiving their sustainability degree, students are highly prepared to pursue a graduate research degree of their personal choice – either at Florida Tech or many other prestigious universities, including:

  • Auburn University
  • Columbia University
  • Emory University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State Law School
  • Princeton University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Florida
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Texas
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Yale
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