Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
AC-3: Undergraduate Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Adrienne Cachelin
Associate Director, Global Change and Sustainability Center
Environmental & Sustainability Studies
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one ​sustainability-focused​ major, degree, or certificate program for undergraduate students?:

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate degree program:
Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA/BS

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program:

The Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program within the College of Social & Behavioral Science is an interdisciplinary degree that pulls classes from across the curriculum. The Program fosters an understanding of ecological systems and the consequences of human-environment interactions. The curriculum is rooted in interdisciplinary approaches from earth systems science, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. It provides students with a broad multi-methods education that emphasizes systemic analysis, peer learning, and community engagement. It stresses the importance of social responsibility, leadership, and a science-based focus on solutions and integrated problem solving. Five new emphases areas were launched in Fall 2017:
- Air, Water, & Health
- Conservation and Land Management
- Ecojustice Education
- Food Systems and Community
- Sustainability Initiatives

Website URL for the undergraduate degree program:
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
Urban Ecology BA/BS

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):

Urban ecology involves the study of the relationships between humans and nature in urban environments. Students learn to enhance the vitality and sustainability of various communities by exploring the interrelationships among social, environmental, and economic systems. The degree is designed to respond to problems and opportunities that exist in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural places, particularly in the Intermountain West. These include environmental management, fragile landscape protection, recreation and tourism, public lands planning, rapid population growth, regional transportation, energy production, and sprawl. Students take classes in planning, field studies, economics, law, and social justice. Explore a variety of electives topics such as green infrastructure, sustainable development, community leadership, and cities in literature. Seniors take an Ecological Planning Workshop, which involves tackling real-world problems through completing an internship. The undergraduate program in Urban Ecology prepares students for a professional career in environmental and sustainability planning, public health, public policy, or community development and planning.

Website URL for the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
Anthropology BA/BS

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
brief description of the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
Anthropology is the study of human beings; their cultures, biology, behaviors, and their changes through time (evolution). Because we study all aspects of humans, anthropology is said to be holistic and inter-disciplinary, that is anthropologists work hand-in-hand with other sciences such as biology, physiology, sociology and psychology—just to name a few. At the University of Utah, the Anthropology Department is divided into four main divisions: Cultural, Biological, Evolutionary Ecology, and Archaeology. Ultimately, anthropologists use all four sub-disciplines to describe and explain past and present human diversity. The Department takes a theoretically-driven, empirically-informed perspective focusing on the following specific areas of expertise: archaeology, genetics, behavioral ecology, paleoanthropology, hunter-gatherer behavior, and human and non-human primate behavior. Because many faculty members’ research areas cross disciplinary and sub-disciplinary lines, and students are encouraged to do the same. Whether you pursue the major or the minor, Anthropology is an excellent program for those desiring a better understanding of the human biological and cultural experience through time and space. Optional emphases allow students to specialize in certain areas within the Anthropology Major.
Emphasis areas:
--Archaeological Sciences
--Cultural Anthropology
--Evolutionary Anthropology

Website URL for the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program(s):

Atmospheric Sciences BS
Required courses for all majors (choose 3/4)
--ATMOS1010 - Severe and Unusual Weather (3)
--ATMOS1020 - Climate Change (3)
--ATMOS3100 - Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Pollution (3)
--ATMOS3200 - Mountain Weather and Climate (3)
Emphasis Areas
--Environmental Science Track
--Professional Meteorology Track
--Snow & Water Sciences Track

Civil and Environmental Engineering BS

Ethnic Studies BA/BS
Geography BA/BS
Required courses for all Majors:
-GEOG 1000-- Earth Environments and Global Change
-GEOG 1400—Human Geography
Emphasis Areas (effective Fall 2017)
--Climate Change & Landscape Dynamics Emphasis
--Geographic Information Science Emphasis
--Population Development & Sustainability Emphasis
--Hazards, Resilience & Human Security Emphasis
--Remote Sensing of the Environment Emphasis

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism BA/BS
--Commercial, Community and Sport Management Emphasis
--Outdoor Recreation Studies Emphasis
--Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Management Emphasis

Peace and Conflict Studies BA/BS

Undergraduate Degrees with Sustainability-Focused Emphasis Areas

Biology BA/BS
--Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Emphasis

Chemical Engineering BS
--Energy Engineering

Chemistry BA/BS
--Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry Emphasis (Effective 2018-19)

Communication BA/BS
--Science, Health, Environmental and Risk Communication Emphasis

Geoscience BS
--Environmental Geoscience Emphasis

Health & Kinesiology BS
--Community Health Education Emphasis (Effective Fall 2019)
--Kinesiology Emphasis (effective Fall 2019)
-----Exercise Science Specialist
-----Fitness & Wellness Specialist

International Studies Program BA/BS
--Development & Sustainability Focus
--Global Health Focus
--Human Rights Focus

Political Science BA/BS
--Community Involvement and Nonprofit Leadership Emphasis
--Public Policy Emphasis

Does the institution offer one or more sustainability-focused minors or concentrations for undergraduate students?:

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor or concentration:
Environmental and Sustainability Studies Minor

A brief description of the undergraduate minor or concentration:

Environmental and Sustainability Studies students develop an understanding of ecological systems and the consequences of human-environment interactions, with grounding in earth systems and social science. The curriculum emphasizes human impacts on the environment, policy and decision making, ethics, and historical approaches to the human-environment relationship. This interdisciplinary program is unique in its emphasis on peer learning and community engagement regarding the environment, social responsibility, and sustainability.
Required Course include:
-- ENVST 2050 – Intro to Environmental Science (4) SUSL
-- ENVST 2100 – Intro to Environmental Studies (3) SUSC
-- ENVST/GEOG 3210 – Global Climate Change (3) SUSC
-- ENVST 3364 – Challenges to Global Sustainability (3) SUSC
-- ENVST 3365 – Environmental Justice (3) SUSC

Website URL for the undergraduate minor or concentration:
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor or concentration (2nd program):
Ecology and Legacy Integrated Minor (Honors College)

A brief description of the undergraduate minor or concentration (2nd program):

The local becomes global in an 18-credit hour Honors Ecology and Legacy Minor, the majority of which will be earned during an intensive 6-week summer block. This block will be strongly place-based at the University of Utah; The Great Salt Lake; Centennial Valley, Montana; and the Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia, Argentina. Students will use science, arts and the humanities to critically think about interactions between humans and their world. The program will explicitly make connections between ecosystems in the western USA and in Patagonia, Argentina thereby allowing students to understand broad patterns, similarities and differences in arid, rich, but sensitive landscapes, across cultural and political spectrums.

Website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor or concentration (3rd program):
Climate Change Certificate (Department of Geography)

A brief description of the undergraduate minor or concentration (3rd program):

This program will provide students with cutting edge knowledge about climate, climate change, impacts and relevance. By taking earning the certificate, the students will:
• Understand the fundamentals of climate systems.
• Understand the fundamentals and scientific background of climate change.
• Understand the science of global warming.
• Learn about mitigation and adaptation strategies for dealing with climate change.
• Learn how climate change permeates nearly every aspect of our lives.

Website URL for the undergraduate minor or concentration (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused undergraduate minors and concentrations:

Anthropology Minor

Atmospheric Sciences Minor

Global Citizenship Minor (International Studies)

Peace and Conflict Studies Minor

Urban Ecology Minor

Other Sustainability Focused Undergraduate Certificates

Diversity Certificate (Department of Sociology)

Hazards and Emergency Management Certificate (Geography)

River Studies and Leadership Certificate (Parks, Recreation and Tourism)
The University of Utah offers this certificate in partnership with the River Management Society (RMS), a national organization whose mission is to support professionals who study, protect and manage North America’s rivers.

Social Justice Advocacy Certificate (Department of Social Work)

Additional documentation to support the submission:


Exploring Minors, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, 2019.
Document shows how minors from across campus can combine with ENVST to create an interdisciplinary course of study focused on sustainability.


Emphasis Areas
New emphasis areas, launched in Fall 2017, help students select sustainability-focused degree programs in many different academic disciplines.
An emphasis is a program of study within an established major that enables a student to focus on courses in a particular field within a degree program. The emphasis pursued appears on the student's transcript but not on their diploma. (Policy 6-117: Undergraduate Emphasis).

Undergraduate certificates are given in recognition of a pattern of courses, often drawn from several departments, which, when taken together, produce an emphasis that is not the same as an academic major or minor but that gives a student a competence worthy of some formal recognition. Undergraduate certificates shall require at least 20 semester hours of designated work. Minimum hours may be adjusted by the Undergraduate Council. (Policy 6-116: Undergraduate Certificates)

In 2011 the University of Utah began a major effort to incorporate sustainability more broadly into the curriculum as documented in the following article:

Ward, Mercedes, Brenda Bowen, Steven Burian, Adrienne Cachelin, and Daniel McCool. "Institutionalizing interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum at a large, research-intensive university: challenges and opportunities." Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6, no. 2 (2016): 425-431.

New Minor in progress:
Dark Sky Studies Minor (College of Architecture + Planning) https://advising.utah.edu/majors/quick-look/dark-skies.php
Three new courses have been developed to support a new Dark Sky Minor (See credit IN-48 Innovation B). The degree is in progress and has not yet been approved by the Board of Regents.

University of Utah General Catalog, 2019-2020

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