Sustainability Dual Major

Sustainability Dual Major
Semester in the City students


Required courses + 5 electives


Open to majors in all 5 UNH colleges



SUST 401:Exploring Sustainability counts as a Discovery course

UNH students talk about why they paired the Sustainability Dual Major with their primary major.

SUST 401: Exploring Sustainability

Open to all majors!

401 is the first required course in the dual major and counts as an ETS Discovery 
(Environment, Tech & Society)

  Email with questions

What is the Sustainability Dual Major?

UNH is a proud national leader in sustainability. We view sustainability broadly, as a collective commitment to human dignity for all people and ecological integrity in all places. From our two 4-star Green Restaurant dining halls to our low-carbon campus and diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives, UNH is the the place to study and live sustainability. Our Sustainability Dual Major (SDM) will help you develop the critical knowledge, skills and experience to build a better, more sustainable world today and in the future. 

Students from all UNH majors can pair the sustainability dual major with their primary major. From local to global, you'll learn to analyze, evaluate and create new ideas and models around sustainability. As a cross-disciplinary and applied field of study and practice, you’ll make connections across issues of science and ethics, policy and technology, and culture and history to better understand and take action on pressing issues of our time. Solving real-life problems requires the skills and perspectives of people from multiple disciplines and backgrounds. A sustainability dual major provides the skills and knowledge needed to understand these systems, identify relevant environmental and social issues, and become agents of change in a complex world. 

The first required SDM course is Exploring Sustainability (SUST 401) and fulfills the Environment, Technology, and Society (ETS) Discovery requirement! With just 3 required courses and 5 electives, you can add the SDM to any primary major. Questions? Contact Erin Hale, SDM Program Coordinator.

Important Information


If you are a student with questions about sustainability classes or the SDM or are interested in enrolling in the SDM, please reach out to Erin Hale at or 603-777-2209.  

A dual major can ONLY be a second major; students must have a primary major in a department or discipline before adding a dual major.  Dual majors have fewer requirements than a double or second major, but more required credits than a minor.  

  • All majors can combine their primary major with the Sustainability Dual Major.  
  • You must have a primary major declared before enrolling. (Not sure what your major will be? Everyone is invited to explore the first course in the Sustainability Dual Major: SUST 401.) 
  • You need a GPA of 2.5 or above. Therefore, you must be in at least your second semester to enroll so that you can fulfill the GPA requirement.  
  • You should have a desire to learn more about sustainability and solutions for a better world! 

Be a part of a vibrant, committed, and diverse community that will help you: 

  • Build your UNH community and professional networks 
  • Explore the complexity of sustainability in small, engaging courses 
  • Learn how to collaborate with peers and faculty across majors 
  • Develop career skills needed to create sustainability solutions in any profession 
  • Hone your leadership skills to help create a better world 

As an interdisciplinary field of study and practice, you’ll make connections across issues of science and ethics, policy and technology, and culture and history to better understand and take action on the pressing issues of our time. You might explore: 

  • How can we transition to resilient and socially just coastal communities as sea levels rise? 
  • How do we transform regional food systems, so they are sustainable, just, and resilient? 
  • How can corporations drive sustainability solutions? 
  • How can communities and businesses come together to expand renewable energy production, reduce pollution, create living-wage jobs, and alleviate energy deserts? 
  • How can we transition to a zero-waste society? 
  • How can we develop new models of sustainability education? 

Before you enroll, you need to have a primary major declared and a minimum GPA of 2.5.   

When you’re ready to enroll, sign into WebCat and go to:  

 > Student Records 
> Change of Major 
> 2nd major 
> Liberal Arts 
> Sustainability / BS 

* Note that it may take one to two weeks to get final approval from the Dean's office and show up on your records.  

The SDM consists of 32 total credits: 3 core (including a capstone experience) and 5 elective courses. 

2 electives from your primary major can double count; any discovery course can also count.
Complete the following SUST courses (in order):  
SUST 401 Exploring Sustainability 4
SUST 501 Sustainability in Action 4
SUST 750 Sustainability Capstone 4
Select 20 credits of elective courses 1 20
Total Credits2 32

All SUST majors will take at least one (1) elective course from the natural & biological sciences list and at least one (1) elective course from the social science and humanities list.
Two electives from your primary major can double count; any Discovery courses can also count towards the SDM. SUST 401 counts as an ETS Discovery. 


Don’t see an elective that you’d like to count toward the SDM? You can petition to have any course with sustainability-related content approved to fulfill your elective requirements.

Natural Biological Systems  
BIOL 541 Ecology 4
CEE 520 Environmental Pollution and Protection: A Global Context 4
CEE 705 Introduction to Sustainable Engineering 3
CEE 706 Environmental Life Cycle Assessment 3
CEE 719 Green Building Design 3
ECOG 401 Introduction to Ecogastronomy 4
ESCI 405 Global Environmental Change 4
ESCI 765 Paleoclimatology 3
GEOG 572 Geography of the Natural Environment 4
GEOG 670 Climate and Society 4
HLS 580 Environmental and Human Security 4
MARI 705 Introduction to Marine Policy: Understanding US Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Policy 3
MEFB 702 Sustainable Marine Fisheries 4
MEFB 772 Fisheries Biology: Conservation and Management 4
NR 435 Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness 4
NR 502 Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Change 4
NR 507 Introduction to our Energy System and Sustainable Energy 4
NR 650 Principles of Conservation Biology 4
NR 703 Watershed Water Quality Management 4
NR 785 Systems Thinking for Sustainable Solutions 4
NUTR 595 Mediterranean Diet and Culture 4
NUTR 730 From Seed to Sea: Examining Sustainable Food Systems 4
SAFS 405 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production 4
SAFS 410 A Taste of the Tropics 4
SAFS 502 Agroecology 4
SAFS 510 Agriculture and Development in the Neotropics 4
SAFS 632 Urban Agriculture 4
SUST 600 Sustainability Independent Study 1-4
SUST 605 Sustainability Internship 1-4
Social Systems & Humanities  
ADMN 444 Business for People, Planet, and Profits 4
ANTH 695 Globalization and Global Population Health 4
ANTH 697 Special Topics 4
DS 620 Topics in Decision Sciences (Supply Chain Management) 1-4
CLAS 540A Environment, Technology and Ancient Society: Sustaining Ancient Rome Ecology and Empire 4
ECON 633 Microfinance 4
ECON 706 Economics of Climate Change 4
ENGL 521 Nature Writers 4
ENGL 736 Environmental Theory 4
ENGL 787 English Major Seminar 4
EREC 444 The New Pirates of the Caribbean 4
EREC 572 Introduction to Natural Resource Economics 4
EREC 760 Ecological-Economic Modeling for Decision Making 4
FIN 620 Topics in Finance I 2-4
FIN 720 Topics in Finance II (The Finance of CSR and ESG Investing) 4
GEOG 405 There Is No Planet B 4
GEOG 590 Field Research 4
GEOG 673 Political Ecology 4
GEOG 685 Population and Development 4
HMP 501 Epidemiology and Community Medicine 4
HMP 715 Environmental Health 4
INCO 505A Semester in the City Becoming a Problem Solver 4
INCO 505B Social Innovator's Toolbox 4
INCO 505I Semester in the City 8
MKTG 620 Topics in Marketing (Sustainability and Marketing) 4
NAIS 400 Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies 4
NR 602 Natural Resources and Environmental Policy 4
NR 643 Economics of Forestry 4
NR 720 International Environmental Politics and Policies for the 21st Century 4
NR 724 Resolving Environmental Conflicts 4
NR 784 Sustainable Living - Global Perspectives 4
NR 787 Advanced Topics in Sustainable Energy 4
PHIL 431 Business Ethics 4
PAUL 670 BiP-Analytical Intelligence Topics (B Impact Clinic, Carbon Clinic) 2
PHIL 450 Environmental Ethics 4
POLT #444 Politics and Policy in a Warming World 4
POLT 548 Drug Wars 4
POLT 750 Politics of Poverty 4
POLT 751 Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy 4
RMP 511 Issues of Wilderness and Nature in American Society 4
RUSS #425M Topics in Russian Culture and Society in Moscow 4
SOC 444A Honors/Society in the Arctic 4
SOC 565 Environment and Society 4
SOC 665 Environmental Sociology 4
SOC 730 Communities and the Environment 4
SUST 600 Sustainability Independent Study 1-4
SUST 605 Sustainability Internship 1-4
TOUR 767 Social Impact Assessment 4
WS 505 Survey in Women's Studies 4
WS 798 Colloquium 4

Students who have taken or will take courses that are NOT on the pre-approved electives list for the SDM may petition to have other sustainability-related courses count towards the 20 credits of required electives for the SDM. Students may petition for elective approval prior to or after taking a course. 

  1. Fill out the online form for students with basic information about the course and its sustainability content 
  2. Upload a syllabus of the course from the semester you took or plan to take the class. 
  3. The SDM leadership team will review the form and syllabus to determine if the class provides explicit sustainability content. 
  4. SDM leadership team informs the student of the final decision.  
  5. If it is decided that the course should be approved as an elective, the SDM leadership team informs the Registrar. 
  6. The SDM leadership team may choose to approach the instructor about submitting the course as a pre-approved SDM elective. 

Petitioned courses may be offered through UNH or by other Institutions, either on or off-campus. We will use the same process for reviewing any of these scenarios.  

A non-UNH course will only be considered if UNH has already approved that course for UNH credit. Note that a course taken for 3 credit hours at another Institution will be worth 3 credits at UNH.  

Similarly, a grade of “C” or better is required for each course accepted, including University System Institutions. 

Once a student’s petition is approved by the SDM leadership team, it will be forwarded to the Discovery Committee for final approval, and then sent on to the Registrar’s office to be recorded in the student’s records 

This process is for students who want to petition for an elective course to be counted toward the SDM. If a student wants to petition for a course to substitute for one of the core courses, that must be approved by the entire UCSDM, and will undergo much greater scrutiny. 

Faculty who would like to have a course pre-approved as an SDM elective follow a similar process:  

  1. Fill out the online form for faculty.
  2. Upload a syllabus of the course from the semester you took or plan to take the class. 
  3. The SDM leadership team will review the form and syllabus to determine if the class provides explicit sustainability content. 
  4. SDM leadership team informs the student of the final decision.  
  5. If it is decided that the course should be approved as an elective, the SDM leadership team informs the Registrar and lists the course as a pre-approved elective. 

We are now at a critical juncture in human history during which we will determine the future of planetary and human conditions. Current grand challenges in sustainability include poverty, inequity, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice as embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is growing interest in finding solutions that simultaneously ensure social, economic, and environmental well-being at local to global scales, now and for generations to come. To help address these sustainability challenges, a set of sustainability education goals detailed below have been developed for the University of New Hampshire. These are aspirational for all UNH students and will be pursued through formal and informal educational opportunities. These goals are also inter-related and must be integrated; together they will inspire our students to create and sustain resilient communities at UNH and around the world. See development of goals in detail here.

Comprehend grand challenges 
Students gain knowledge of the fundamental aspects of complex sustainability challenges. 

Think in systems 
Students have an ability to analyze and synthesize the interconnections among environmental, social, and economic aspects of complex systems, as well as how problems manifest at different scales (local to global) and at different times (connections between past, present, and future). 

Advocate for values 
Students can identify, assess, respect, and navigate the diverse values, interests, and types of knowledge inherent in sustainability challenges, while simultaneously addressing power imbalances and promoting social justice. 

Apply knowledge to a lifetime of action 
Personal practice: Students understand how sustainability impacts their lives and can assess how their actions impact sustainability at personal, institutional, and societal levels. 

Professional practice: All students, regardless of major, understand how their professional work contributes to sustainable communities, can apply disciplinary and other forms of knowledge and skills to contribute to sustainable solutions. 

Collaborative practice: Students learn how to collaborate across disciplines and across sectors to jointly determine project goals, create knowledge, and develop innovative and effective solutions to sustainability challenges. 

Other foundational learning objectives (e.g., ability to communicate effectively, ability to think critically) are addressed elsewhere in UNH curriculum. 

Background document on how the UNH Sustainable Education Goals were developed: 
Organizational change for sustainability education: a case study of one university’s efforts to create and implement institution-wide sustainability competencies;  Vanessa R. Levesque, Cameron P. Wake, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education