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Sustainability

Frequently Asked Questions

Sustainability includes many diverse fields and occupations

Why types of jobs are there in sustainability?
Sustainability professionals use science and technology skills to create and manage complex systems in businesses, governments, non-profits  or education.  As it sounds, this involves interdisciplinary work driven by the unique details of the job, for example:  

  • a consulting firm that engineers or sells renewable energy systems 
  • an agency or university developing management plans for coastal parks with scientists and fishermen 
  • a corporation that maps and optimizes complex supply chains from around the world 
  • a non-profit firm working to bring scientific research into public policy 
  • many other research and management titles and occupations 

The Sustainability Jobs and Careers page has dozens of occupational titles related to sustainability job searches. 

 What is the market for sustainability jobs?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports increasing opportunities for those trained in sustainability-related technical positions (e.g., USBLS, 2012; 2016; 2019).  Examples include the appearance of new occupational titles in diverse businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits, such as, Sustainability DirectorCorporate Social Responsibility Manager, or Sustainbility and Resilience Officer.  Examples of the number and diversity of sustainability issues on university campuses alone are at Sustainability Hub.  

Similar arrays of cool, interconnected issues are found with sustainability positions in thousands of businesses and government agencies (city, state, national).  Sustainability jobs are still emerging  with new fields arising, now and in the future.  These future jobs and occupations are examples of emerging properties, which arise from complex systems which spin off new systems in predictable - and unpredictable - manners (Meadows, 2008, Thinking in Systems, a text in our curriculum).

What are national college trends in sustainability? 
The steady increase in college student interest nationally is reflected in the rising numbers of university bachelor’s degree offerings across the U.S., with over 100 degrees now available in the U.S.  A survey of 16,000 college applicants and parents found that 66% expressed an interest in the college’s sustainability efforts and 24% said such information would “very much” impact their decision to apply to or attend the school (Princeton Review).  National and regional media articles report expanding student interest in sustainability curricula (e.g., Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, New York Times).

What is the Florida Tech Sustainability Studies Major?
The Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Studies is a transdisciplinary STEM degree designed to rigorously educate those interested in sustainability.  The program curricula expands on Florida Tech’s well-known science and technology strengths.  Students also take at least 5 business courses to produce unusually well-rounded graduates that can operate across multiple disciplines in the 21st century workforce.

Four concentrations are offered: Sciences, Technology & Engineering, Business & Economics, and Social Sciences. The program emphasizes advanced educational experiences, hands-on projects (individually and in teams), opportunities for research on campus or internships in the community. Final capstone projects use a campus classroom model: students address real-world  challenges to generate applied products and build marketable skills.

What are the requirements and concentrations for the Sustainability Studies Major?
Students must meet the minimum course requirements as outlined in the program planning guide. As a part of the customizeable curriculum,  juniors ands seniors choose 24 credits of sustainability electives from the program concentration areas:

  • Sciences, minimum of 6 cr 
  • Technology & Engineering, minimum of 6 cr 
  • Social Sciences, minimum of 6 cr 
  • Business & Economics, minimum of 6 cr 

To focus on areas of greatest individual interest, students also choose an additional 15 sustainability credits from one or more of the concentration areas above in consultation with their advisor. 

What are the admission requirements?
Students should complete at least one year of high school environmental sciences or biology, and at least one year of chemistry or physics.  Courses in economics or business are encouraged but not required. Additional university admissions requirements apply.

I’m not a Sustainability Major, can I still study sustainability at Florida Tech?
Yes, the program is adaptable to a double-major with other science and engineering degrees across colleges.  Another option is the minor program in sustainability which has graduated students from >25 majors and all colleges on campus since 2010.  

What is the Sustainability Minor?
Florida Tech also offers an undergraduate Minor Program in Sustainability.  This minor is available to undergraduates from any Florida Tech. College  -  Engineering and Science, Business, Aviation, and Psychology/Liberal Arts. All academic information and planning forms are at academic sustainability

What is happening with sustainability on campus?
Diverse initiatives address sustainability at Florida Tech resulting in LEED green buildings, a STARS Bronze campus sustainability rating, and ranking in the Princton Review Guide to Green Colleges.  Many students, staff, and faculty in varied academic, administrative, and support offices have started or are evaluating new sustainability initiatives, often with students as drivers.  Student projects required for the major and minor also foster sustainability initiatives around the Space Coast.  See Florida Tech Sustainability – Campus for more information.

What undergraduate opportunities exist for student sustainability research?
Academic sustainability programs combine with student research projects to create products that directly benefit students while building innovations on- and off-campus. 

Every student in the major and minor programs develops a capstone research project on- or off-campus within a two-course sequence of project classes.  These projects can be adaptable to a double-major with other science, engineering, and education degrees.  Some of these projects are at Florida Tech Sustainability - Campus.

There are also interdisciplinary research opportunities across campus within many departments among Florida Tech’s five colleges.  These include the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences, and The Nathan M. Bisk College of Business. More information is at sustainability research

Are student clubs and organizations at Florida Tech involved in sustainability?
There are many clubs working directly or indirectly on sustainability issues, see Student Sustainability Organizations.  These clubs are dedicated to sustainability activities to better our campus and the Space Coast community.  Support from the Student Government Association and many off-campus partners is of great value.  

Are there graduate opportunities in sustainability at Florida Tech?
The Program in Sustainability undergraduate degree is based in the large and hybrid Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences (OEMS).  OEMS has several related graduate programs including a M.S. in  Environmental Resources Management with many sustainability options.  The Science Education Program also offers a Master’s of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in which students can focuses on sustainability coursework and research. 

What are international trends in university sustainability programs? 
In Europe, Asia and Latin America, there is growing student and employer interest in sustainability degrees.  Dozens of existing or new degree programs at the bachelor’s level exist in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.  The number of such degrees is increasing in most major regions.

Who can I contact for more information on sustainability at Florida Tech?
For more information, please contact:
-  Program in Sustainability, 150 Florida Tech., W. University Blvd Melbourne, Florida 3290, (321) 674-7370. Email: sustainability@fit.edu
-  Office of Undergraduate Admission, Florida Tech, 150 W. University Blvd Melbourne, Florida 32901, (321) 674-8030, (800) 888-4348.  Email: admission@fit.edu