The Bachelor's In Sustainability Studies
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? A BS in Sustainability Studies from Florida Tech could be right for you. 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.
Academic and Practical Experience
Sustainability is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing elements of all Colleges and many Departments at Florida Tech. The Sustainability Studies program is housed in the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences. As a BS program at a major technology university, our diverse student and faculty interests focus on building sustainability innovations for the future.
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.
In your junior and senior years, you’ll refine fundamental skills with specialized sustainability courses that include project opportunities. You’ll also undertake an exciting applied capstone sustainability project on a topic of your choice that can lead to greater exposure, including community internships and the Northrop Grumman Research and Design Showcase. Students gain practical experience, an enhanced résumé, and a strong sense of scholarship—the perfect preparation for employment or graduate school.
“Why Pursue A Sustainability Studies Degree At Florida Tech? ”
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Become an Expert in Many Aspects of Sustainability Studies
The program is structured so that students closely interact with faculty from many departments. Small class sizes, the diversity of these interactions and the major requirements to take concentration courses in Environmental Sciences, Technology and Engineering, Business, and Social Sciences will give you expertise in all the field has to offer, as well as specialization in your preferred topics.
Internationally recognized faculty members reflect expertise in multiple disciplines including:
- Renewable energy
- Corporate social responsibility
- Climate change adaptation
- Green construction
- Public policy
- Conservation biology
- Nonprofit management
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 thanks to the research efforts of undergraduate students in Sustainability Studies. 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, a highly diverse, estuarine ecosystem.
The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations, as well as government and military organizations, located nearby. This workforce 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. We 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 (a co-ed fraternity dedicated to leadership and service) 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. SOSA 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 capstone projects as sustainability internships off-campus with businesses, government agencies, or regional nonprofit organizations.
Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The 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
- Working on LEED sustainability certifications of campus buildings
- Designing solar panel proposals for campus buildings
- Composting in the Florida Tech Botanical Gardens
- Managing green events on campus
- Building the first green IT plan for Florida Tech
- Creating a new digital campus initiative using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software
Undergraduate research projects can lead to sustainability internships and related experiences. Students have obtained credits for study-abroad 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
- General Electric
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Merck & Co.
- Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
- Surfrider Foundation
- Proctor & Gamble
- Fund for Public Interest
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
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)
- Policymaking 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 sustainability degrees, students are well-prepared to pursue graduate degrees, either at Florida Tech or at other institutions, 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 University