Environmental Sustainability, Minor

School of Earth and Sustainability

College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

This minor allows students to explore climate change, the relationship between nature and culture, the ethics and politics of environmental decision-making, and how perspectives on sustainability are expressed humanistically, politically, scientifically, and culturally.

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 to 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

No more than 50% of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 21

Purpose Statement

Issues of sustainability, climate change adaptation and mitigation, environmental justice, biodiversity, and increasing demand for finite food, water, and energy resources become more critical every day. The Environmental Studies minor at Northern Arizona University assists students to better understand—and improve—our relationship with the natural world.

Students study ecosystems and the ways humans interact with them using the perspectives of the natural and social sciences and the humanities. They work extensively with full-time professors who have practical experience in the environmental sciences and sustainability. They have many opportunities for field study and research; our faculty members include undergraduate students in all research projects. They will learn how to develop solutions for these issues and prepare for a career in research, industry, education, government, or public service.

Student Learning Outcomes 

  • Understand interactions among natural and human systems and their relationships to sustainability science.
  • Explore the concept of global and local sustainability using examples from natural science, social science, and humanities perspectives.
  • Examine feedbacks between the human experience and the environment.
  • Identify and effectively communicate environmental issues and sustainable solutions using natural science, ethical, and social science principles.
  • Envision environmental problems through a lens that acknowledges component interactions, feedback loops, emergent properties, and uncertainty.
  • Apply knowledge of coupled human-natural systems to address complex environmental problems such as decision-making in the face of uncertainty.
  • Investigate the effects of resource use and management within linked natural and social systems and learn ways to maintain healthy ecosystem services.
  • Apply knowledge of the policy cycle, stakeholders, the science policy interface and environmental legislation to inform sustainability policies.
  • Incorporate sustainability principles into interdisciplinary policy decision-making, to generate innovative ideas.
  • Demonstrate competence in critical thought and communication.

Minor Requirements
  • Students enrolled in this minor may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.