Sustainability Studies Course Listings

The major in sustainability  includes two distinctive Goshen College offerings: the Sustainability Core sequence and the Sustainability Semester at Merry Lea. The minor includes the Sustainability Semester plus one additional course.

Major in sustainability

44-45 credit hours

Sustainability Core (17 credit hours)

  • Biol 207, Roots of Environmental Crisis 3
  • Bus 325, Business Strategies for Sustainability3
  • Econ 309, Environmental Economics 3
  • Sust 155, Sustainability Seminar1
  • Sust 201, Introduction to Sustainability 3
  • Sust 409, Sustainability Internship1
  • Sust 410, Sustainability Capstone 3

Sustainability Semester (15 credit hours)

  • Sust 309, Sustainability, Spirituality, and Ethics
  • Sust 313, Freshwater Resources
  • Sust 318, Agroecology
  • Sust 323, Regenerative Agricultural Practices
  • Sust 328, Organizing Communities for Change

Remaining requirements in the major (12-13 credits)

  • Four of the following courses: 12-13
    • Biol 115, Ecology and Evolution (4)
    • Biol 235, Geographic Information Systems (4)
    • Bus 121, Entrepreneurship (3)
    • Hist 375, Eating in America (3)
    • Posc 210, Public Policy(3)
    • Soc 320, Environmental Sociology (3)
    • Sust 298, Ecology & Sustainability in India (3)
    • Sust 335, Climate Ethics and Climate Policy (3)
    • Sust 345, Ecological Ethics & Environmental Movements (3)
    • Sust 350, Sustainability and the Built Environment (3)

Student learning outcomes

Graduates with a major in sustainability will:

  1. Apply systems thinking to describe complex socio-environmental-economic issues across a landscape, and to generate solutions to them.
  2. Articulate hope for the future in our growing adoption of sound land management solutions that store carbon in soils and contribute to the regeneration of our lands, waters, and societies.
  3. Cultivate a dynamic personal and communal “sustainability ethic,” based on tangible experiences within socio-ecological systems.
  4. Experience and reflect on practices that invigorate mind, body, and spirit through connections with food, landscapes, and people.
  5. Communicate, collaborate, and empathize with people holding multiple perspectives of sustainability toward the common good.
  6. Practice skills of critical questioning and interpretation to facilitate multi-disciplinary problem-solving.
  7. Envision bringing about a more just, regenerative, and equitable world through career, innovation, advocacy, and lifestyle.

Planning guide

First year Goshen Core
Introduction to Sustainability
Roots of Environmental Crisis
Second year Goshen Core
SST language
Sustainability Seminar
Sustainability elective(s)
Third year Sustainability Semester (fall)
SST (spring)
Fourth year Balance of Goshen Core
Environmental Economics
Sustainability Seminar
Sustainability Capstone

Planning and advising notes

The sustainability major can be tailored to individual career goals, in consultation with the student’s academic advisor. Past students have found it valuable to pair sustainability with another major or minor(s). This program is very interdisciplinary, and another major with specific disciplinary skills is an excellent complement to its strengths.

Minor in sustainability

18 credit hours

  • Sust 201, Introduction to Sustainability3
  • Sustainability Semester 15
    • Sust 309, Sustainability, Spirituality, and Ethics
    • Sust 313, Freshwater Resources
    • Sust 318, Agroecology
    • Sust 323, Regenerative Agricultural Practices
    • Sust 328, Organizing Communities for Change

Planning and advising notes

Courses other than SUST 201 may be counted for credit to complete the minor pending approval by the SEED Chair.

Sustainability Semester Program description

The fall Sustainability Semester is a residential, interdisciplinary program focused on experiencing, understanding, and building sustainable, resilient and regenerative communities. A cohort of students spends the fall semester in full-time residence at Merry Lea’s Rieth Village, where they study the structures and functions of both societal and ecological systems in the surrounding watershed. The semester includes frequent opportunities to travel around the watershed and learn from professionals and others; a special highlight is an 8-day journey by canoe along the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers to Lake Michigan. At Reith Village, the cohort works together to evaluate their shared lifestyle decisions, try out new patterns of sustainable living, and simply have fun learning from each others’ experiences. Learning from the life of the Merry Lea teaching farm is also a central part of this experience, both through course work and enjoying the fruits of their work on the farm. Our interactions with a wide range of people and institutions across the region also help students engage in sustainability issues in new ways. The learning community provides an opportunity for students and faculty from diverse backgrounds and expertise from the arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences, and other backgrounds, to contribute to the process of understanding these problems and looking for points of involvement together. Students interact with people from the local watershed who are faced with real sustainability issues and grapple with the complexity of and interdisciplinary nature of possible solutions.

For more information about the Sustainability Semester, see