Sustainability Studies Course Listings

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

Major in sustainability studies

46 credit hours

Sustainability Core (25 credit hours)

  • Biol 207, Roots of Environmental Crisis 3
  • Bus 121, Introduction to Entrepreneurship 3
  • Bus 155, Organization of Business2
  • Bus 307, Career Planning 1
  • Econ 309, Environmental Economics 3
  • Sust 155, Sustainability Seminar (taken 3 times, 1 credit each)3
  • Sust 201, Introduction to Sustainability 3
  • Sust 205, Sustainability Policy 3
  • Sust 409, Sustainability Internship1
  • Sust 410, Sustainability Capstone 3

Sustainability Leadership Semester (15 credit hours)

  • Sust 300, Sustainability and Regeneration
  • Sust 309, Spiritual Approach to Sustainability Leadership
  • Sust 313, Freshwater Resources
  • Sust 320, Environmental Policy & Politics
  • Sust 330, Sustainability Problem Solving

Remaining requirements in the major (6 credits)

  • Two of the following courses: 6
    • Biol 115, Ecology and Evolution (4)
    • Biol 205, Pollinators in Peril (3)
    • Biol 235, Geographic Information Systems (4)
    • Chem 101, 103 or 111 (3-4)
    • Comm 206, Communication Across Cultures (3)
    • Econ 345, Economics of Sustainability (3)
    • Phys 215, Climate Change (3)
    • PJCS 360, Designing for Social Change (3)
    • Posc 210, Public Policy(3)
    • Soc 320, Environmental Sociology (3)
    • Sust 298, Ecology & Sustainability in India (3)

Student learning outcomes

Graduates with a major in sustainability studies will:

  1. Describe the ecological and social elements of a landscape and their interconnections.
  2. Describe direct and indirect ways that they as individuals affect sustainable systems.
  3. Develop an ethical framework for a career that fosters a sustainable future.
  4. Communicate, collaborate and empathize with people who have multiple perspectives of sustainability toward the common good.
  5. Be able to influence the policy process to create more resilient communities.
  6. Articulate the role that economics plays in the design of sustainable systems and communities.
  7. Practice skills of critical questioning and interpretation to facilitate multi-disciplinary problem-solving.
  8. Apply lessons learned to address challenges on multiple scales: personal, communal, local, regional, national, and international.

Planning guide

First year Goshen Core
Introduction to Sustainability
Roots of Environmental Crisis
Organization of Business
Second year Goshen Core
SST language
Sustainability Policy
Sustainability Seminars
Introduction to Entrepreneurship
Career Planning
Third year Sustainability Leadership Semester (fall)
SST (spring)
Fourth year Balance of Goshen Core
Environmental Economics
Sustainability Seminar
Sustainability Capstone

Planning and advising notes

The sustainability studies major can be tailored to individual career goals, in consultation with the student’s academic advisor and the Sustainability Coordinator. Past students have found it valuable to pair sustainability studies 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

  • Sustainability Leadership Semester 15
    • Sust 300, Sustainability and Regeneration (3)
    • Sust 309, Spiritual Approach to Sustainability Leadership (3)
    • Sust 313, Freshwater Resources (4)
    • Sust 320, Environmental Policy and Politics (3)
    • Sust 330, Sustainability Problem Solving (2)
  • One of the following courses: 3-4
    • Biol 115, Ecology and Evolution
    • Biol 324, Restoration Ecology
    • Econ 309, Environmental Economics
    • Sust 340, Field Experience in Environmental Education

Sustainability Leadership Semester Program description

The fall Sustainability Leadership Semester (SLS) 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 closely evaluate day-to- day decisions
and make sustainable living choices concerning both personal lifestyle and community
life. Students study the structures and functions of both societal and ecological systems
in the surrounding watershed, partly by traveling the Elkhart River watershed from the
headwaters to Lake Michigan on an 8-day journey by canoe.

Learning occurs through interactions with a wide range of actors and institutions, as
students engage in sustainability issues of local concern. 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 Leadership Semester, see