Sustainability Studies Major & Minor


There’s never been a more pressing need for environmentally and socially conscious professionals than there is now. And at Goshen College, we’re training the next generation of leaders in ecological and environmental health. With a degree in sustainability studies from Goshen College, you’ll be prepared to tackle some of the world’s most complex challenges.

Sustainability Principles for Future Generations

The world is grappling with complex problems in environmental justice, environmental science, environmental economics, and social justice, and the need for professionals skilled in navigating these issues has never been greater. At Goshen, you will learn to think deeply about these issues in our society and have many chances to practice what you have been learning through hands-on problem-solving.

In any given semester, you will go on various field trips to learn how professionals and community members do their jobs and how they connect to sustainability. You will also learn practical skills like baking bread, preserving food, and canoeing as a form of local tourism.

Learn from Experienced Faculty in a Supportive Environment

No matter what your interests are, our experienced faculty will help you find a way to connect them to sustainability. You’ll get to know each other quickly with small class sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios. Our professors challenge students to think deeply about the issues that matter most, helping you develop the systems-thinking skills you need to be a leader in the natural sciences and social sciences.

Goshen College is committed to sustainability, and that commitment is evident in everything from our food services to our core courses. Sustainability studies majors and minors have many chances to get involved on-campus and abroad.

Environmental health is crucial work that will make a difference in the global community, and we’re proud to be playing a part in training tomorrow’s sustainability pioneers.

Get Hands-On Experience Solving Real-World Problems

The Sustainability Leadership Semester at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is for any major interested in making a positive change in their community. It is also the foundation of the sustainability studies major and the sustainability minor. During this 13-week program, you will:

  • Live with other students in sustainable LEED Platinum-certified “green” buildings
  • Cook food from produce raised on-site
  • Make group decisions about limiting consumption to preserve natural resources
  • Learn about societal and environmental problems
  • Spend days learning about the local watershed by investigating Merry Lea’s diverse 1,189-acre nature preserve
  • Spend a week canoeing on the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers.

Much of your learning will happen outside the classroom: in marshland, prairies, living rooms, and kitchens.

Be Prepared to Tackle the Challenges of the 21st Century

Regardless of what you want to do after college — whether pursue further studies in one of many sustainability-related fields or dive right into the challenging and thrilling work of solving problems in communities — studying sustainability at Goshen will prepare you for it!

In the sustainability studies program, you will learn to:

  • Analyze environmental and social problems
  • Develop sustainable solutions for landscape architecture
  • Communicate across disciplines and to the general public
  • Think critically about your own consumption habits
  • Understand the connections between environment, economy, and society

We hope you’ll consider joining us on this journey!

If interested in learning more about sustainability studies, fill out the form below to get started. Financial aid options are available.

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Learn more about the Sustainability Leadership Semester, a key part of the sustainability studies major or sustainability minor.

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Faculty & Staff

Joel Pontius

Associate Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education
Director of Sustainability Leadership Semester

Contact me with questions!

Jonathon Schramm

Associate Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education
SST Tanzania: SP

Luke Kreider

Assistant Professor of Religion and Sustainability

Tom Hartzell

Merry Lea Coordinator for Residential Programs & Environmental Educator