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Sustainability Studies Minor

Sustainability Studies Minor

Why Minor in Sustainability Studies? 

The prevailing theoretical model of sustainability defines it as the intersection of the social, the environmental, and the economic dimensions. Sustainability is balancing ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and social equity without compromising future generations' needs. The minor in sustainability acknowledges sustainability as one of the most theoretically and practically complex and vital questions of our time. 

The Sustainability Studies minor explores the complex interplay among environmental justice and protection, economic vitality, and social equity through interdisciplinary, action, and field-based learning that blends the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. The minor allows and encourages undergraduate students to explore and develop solutions to pressing issues at the local, regional, and global scale.

Requirements for Sustainability Studies Minor

Minors in Geography, Planning and Sustainability

The department offers two (2) Geography Minors which require 18 credit hours. GPS 0101 - World Regional Geography is required in each minor. The student is advised of the courses related to specific interests from the courses listed below.

The Cultural‑Regional Geography minor involves a specialization in a particular region of the world. The Sustainability Studies minor includes courses related to site location analysis and application.  Regional Planning majors are not eligible to earn the Aplied Geography Minor.

    Requirements for the Sustainability Studies Minor

    Requirements for the Sustainability Studies Minor is a total of 18-19 credits, twelve (12) of which must be taken at Westfield State University as follows:

    Part 1:  Foundation courses:  Two GPS Courses (6 credits)

    • GPS 0105 Introduction to Community Planning
    • GPS 0106 Environment, Sustainability, and Society


    Part 2: Science Courses: Any one of the following Courses (3 - 4 credits)

    • ENVS 0101 Principles of Environmental Science
    • GPS 0102   Physical Geography 


    Part 3:  Applied Geography and Planning Courses:  Any two of the following GPS Courses (6 credits)

    • GPS 0107 Climate Change
    • GPS 0217 Contemporary Global Issues
    • GPS 0219 Land Use/Resource Planning
    • GPS 0245 Sustainable Energy (after prerequisite GPS 0106)
    • GPS 0250 Political Ecology
    • GPS 0352 Planning Green and Sustainable Cities


    Part 4:  Elective Course: Any one Course from Other Department

    Faculty members may advise the course selection based on the need and background of individual students.  With the approval of the Chair of GPS, and upper-level course (200 or 300 level) that is offered by another department may substitute for no more than two of the GPS courses.  Students seeking more information about the minor or needing academic advice about completing the minor should contact the Chair of GPS.

    For course descriptions and additional prerequisite recommendations, pleas see WSU catalog at