What is a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainability?

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Sustainability in this context refers to the physical environment. To sustain something means to maintain or support. The word has universal implications as scientists, politicians, and economists strive to do what is best for the planet Earth. Many believe we have done a poor job at managing resources, reducing air pollution, and improving water quality. The weak report card does not prevent scientists, in particular, from studying and implementing procedures for improvements.

Individuals who have a desire to focus their career on environmental issues may consider an undergraduate degree. Some of the degrees concentrate on sustainability and others may combine two majors. A double degree, for example, coupled with business administration. You would learn about governmental policies, economics, and societal issues.

The typical Bachelor of Science (B.S.) may have different titles. There are several concentrations offered both as residency and online learning formats. Whichever is more convenient, you can expect a load of science courses. The selection also varies according to the degree title. Some, for example, explore the social sciences. Classes may involve philosophy, political science, and sociology. The latter looks at how society influences change and behavior. You may also study statistics and economics. It is essential to understand how the economic system affects policy, which in turn can have an impact on the environment.

However, science courses will for the core of the curriculum in most programs. The study of sustainability involves science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Mathematics may venture into geometry, trigonometry, and logarithms. Technology may include geographic information systems (GIS). It is the study of global positioning. Coursework in science and engineering might have earth science, laboratory work, and physics. Biology, physiology, anthropology, and ecology may also comprise the study plan.

Students contemplating a degree in sustainability should realize the dominance of science classes. The degree will suit individuals who are comfortable studying an array of scientific topics. With that said, schools offer a bachelor’s degree in the discipline that is not as weighted toward science. Instead, the focus of your studies is on policy and legislative matters. Governments and their economic strategies affect environmental decisions. You learn how governance can have positive and negative effects on earth systems.

Coursework that diverges from science may involve the management ecosystems and food systems. You would also need scientific knowledge. However, the courses teach you how to address various challenges. Examples are sustaining adequate food supply, food production, waste disposal, and safe farming methods. This type of program places the concentration on dealing with procedures that can improve conditions for the community. You perform case studies to determine solutions to problems, such as pollution, food bacteria, and contamination.

The coursework from the examples above suggests that you can opt for a management role or a scientific approach to the subject of sustainability. Regardless, both plans will have classes in regulations, public policy, and compliance. Also, both will have an assortment of sciences. The topics vary according to each school’s curriculum. Therefore, you have choices depending on your interests and career goals.

A baccalaureate degree in sustainability is a sub-specialty of environmental science. The job opportunities will be similar. Those who choose a program weighted with science can work in the private and public sectors. Employment entails testing and analyzing soil, water, air, and food samples. Private companies also operate in environmental science as consultants performing the same functions.

Environmental engineering is another possibility. The position requires a foundation in the sciences, as well as excellent communication skills. Your duties may involve advising government agencies and business on contamination sources. You may provide direction in the cleanup process too.

Wherever there are natural resources to protect, there is a demand for graduates. Sustainability is vital to national parks, forests, and preservation sites. You can use your degree in the service of the U.S. Forestry. Their primary task is to maintain the natural environment. The national forest system has several responsibilities, including engineering, management, geology, recreation, and more. Their forest management encompasses the analysis of vegetation, tree growth, production, and growth.

The employment prospects may confine you to the office as you review and management policies impacting the environment. Or you may prefer a career that takes you into the field to procure samples for laboratory testing. Either choice should offer the satisfaction that your work is crucial to the well-being of animals, plants, and humans.

Additional Resources

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