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Courses / Degree Requirements for the BA in Sustainable Living

The following is projected for students entering the university in 2019-20 and is subject to change.

To graduate with a BA in Sustainable Living, students must successfully complete:

  • All general requirements for a bachelor’s degree
  • 52 credits of credits of coursework in the area of Sustainable Living, as follows:

16 credits of SL core courses

This course explores the role energy plays in sustainability and in the development of complexity and order in nature and in the human economy. Anything of economic value comes from nature or from humans, and both require energy. Therefore, energy is critical to the economy. Energy inevitably loses usefulness as it flows through manmade and natural systems. Sustainability is about regeneration and renewal of opportunity for future generations. Therefore, renewable sources of energy are essential for sustainability. Students will learn basic energy concepts and their application to sustainability and renewable energy systems. The course will include lecture, readings, films, guest speakers, field trips, and hands-on work. This course is one of the six sustainable living core courses and is required for all courses in the energy concentration. Course fee: $65 (4 credits)
Permaculture Design is a system for rethinking and redesigning of every aspect of human endeavor in terms of sustainability. As such, it is a cross-disciplinary design system that 2016/17 320 involves architecture and building, agriculture, energy, urban and city design, economics and livelihoods, water, and the aesthetic integration of all of these in human settlements. On successful completion of the course, students will receive an internationally recognized certificate. The basic principles of permaculture design were developed by integrating the observation of natural systems, traditional indigenous wisdom, and modern scientific and technological knowledge by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison. Through lecture, discussion, observation, field trips, hands-on learning, videos, slideshows, and handouts, students gain the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to design and implement sustainable systems in harmony with the natural world so participants can understand and apply these methods and skills to their home property and local community. Participants will learn principles and methodologies of sustainable design, how to read the landscape’s strategies and tools for urban and rural homesteads, food forests and orchards, greenhouse operation, natural building and alternative energy techniques. This is a foundation course for the entire Sustainable Living program. Lab fee: $65 (4 credits)
Ecology is often defined as the study of relationships between organisms and their living and nonliving environment. The term has become more generalized in recent years to refer to a set of interacting entities in an environment. These entities could be thoughts, technologies, beliefs, organisms, pollutants, or mountains and the environment could be an individual mind, community, society, organism, planet, culture, or meadow. This more generalized notion of ecology opens us up to understand ecology as something that exists in the universe rather than just a lens or set of questions through which we gain knowledge of the world. In this course students will learn about fundamental ecological concepts, including niche, habitat, community, ecosystem, biomes, biosphere; population ecology; species interactions; energy flows; nutrient cycling; and succession. Lab fee: $65. Prerequisites: SL-G100 (CCTS) or consent of the instructor (4 credits)
How do we set about structuring a sustainable living environment that can be maintained on a global scale for all future generations? This course is about the big picture that drives the global sustainable living agenda. It provides a broad perspective on the problems we face as a species. We study what can and should be done to transform the current trends affecting population growth, biodiversity, climate, energy supply and consumption, food and water security and other threats to sustainability. We explore the shift in mindset or consciousness that is needed to take us from regarding the environment and an expendable resource to treasuring it as an entity with which we must live in harmony. This is the social changemaker concentration core course. Lab fee: $25 (4 credits)

Plus 4 credits of Sustainable Living Internship

Up to 12 additional credits of Sustainable Living Internship can be applied towards the elective requirement (see below).

Plus 32 credits of Sustainable Living elective courses

Students may concentrate 26-32 credits of their electives in Sustainable Living learning communities to complete 1-2 modules (two semesters). The remainder of electives can be chosen from stand-alone Sustainable Living courses, or from the following:

This course is designed especially for students entering the major in Sustainable Living. Topics are drawn from college algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, and graphs, and these topics are related to problems in Sustainable Living such as landscaping, heat loss, solar and wind energy, and water management. (4 credits)
Principles of management and marketing are taught from the perspective of starting a new business with an integrated business strategy. Students articulate their personal and 2016/17 82 business goals and generate ideas for a sustainable business. Prerequisite: MGT 200 if not a business major (4 credits)
This course will identify some of the key global environmental and food challenges facing the planet, the international treaties that are currently in place to address them, and what new paradigms, policies and laws we will need to create in this century to make lasting peace with our planet and ourselves. (4 credits)

Plus Project portfolio and written reflection

Present an online portfolio of 2-4 completed projects with a written reflective component — students reflect, in writing, on what they’ve learned, how they’ve learned it, how this learning fits into their larger career and life goals, what they might have done differently, and so on as outlined by academic advisor. Project portfolio and written reflection will be reviewed at the time of the Senior Comprehensive Exam.

Requirements for Learning Communities

Our goal is to give students the skills to rethink every aspect of human endeavor in terms of sustainability. To complement this breadth, we provide depth in key areas through four or more course sequences. We call these course sequences learning communities.

A key component of each learning community is an integrated project that students undertake throughout the learning community, ending with a presentation of the project at the end of the learning community. Completed projects are then collected and displayed in an online portfolio, resulting in a collection of 2-4 projects. Below is a listing of learning communities and the courses that comprise them.

Design & Build EcoVillages

SL—B202: EcoVillage Systems Integration (8 credits)
SL—B203: EcoVillage Design Studio (4 credits)

From Rocks and Water to Life and Soils

SL—G375: Living Laboratory of Earth Systems: Discovering Connections Among the Spheres (8 credits)
SL—G195: Living Systems (4 credits)
SL—A301: Soil Ecology (4 credits)

Regenerative Organic Agriculture

SL—A340: Soil Science (4 credits)
SL—A202: Biodynamic Agriculture (4 credits)
SL—A341: How to Prepare Your Organic Field (3 credits)
SL—A342: Planting, Plant Care, and Maintenance (3 credits)
SL—A343: Pest Scouting and Weed Management (3 credits)
SL—A344: Harvesting and Succession Planting (3 credits)
SL—A345: Cold Season Cropping and Season Extension Methods (3 credits)
SL—A346: Long-Term Storage Crops and End of Season Preparations (3 credits)
Note: This concentration must be taken in its entirety and in sequence.

Graduation Requirements for the Minor in Sustainable Living

To graduate with a minor in Sustainable Living, students must complete 16 credits in a single learning community (module) plus one 4-credit core course for a total of 20 credits. Alternatively, students may choose to take the 16-credit module of SL core courses plus one 4-credit SL elective for a total of 20 credits.