Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Emily Vollmer
Submission Date May 16, 2024

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
AC-3: Undergraduate Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Emily Vollmer
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy & Planning

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program:
The B.A. in Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) provides students the opportunity to study environmental problems and their solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective involving humanities, natural and social science, planning, and public policy. While rooted in scientific and technological fields, environmental problems and their solutions increasingly deal with public values, economics, law, policy, and planning. The EPP curriculum, while providing a broad liberal arts and natural and social science base, has a pre-professional slant involving analytical and communication skills and policy and planning methods to prepare students for employment and graduate study.

Website URL for the undergraduate degree program:
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
The Charles Edward Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers an undergraduate program that facilitates development of critical analytical abilities and the necessary core of knowledge and skills for entry into the civil engineering profession or graduate studies. This body of knowledge includes the scientific procedures for formulating and testing theories and the procedures for applying theory to enhance welfare through engineering analysis, synthesis, and design. The civil engineer plays a key role in the design, construction, maintenance, and management of society's physical infrastructure, including transportation and communication systems, structural facilities for housing human activities, water resource management systems, natural resource development systems, and facilities and programs for environmental protection. The Bachelor of Science program in Civil Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

Emphasis in civil engineering education is on fundamental principles of science and mathematics and their application to solving human problems. Civil engineering activities interact in many ways with the natural and social environments within which they take place. Accordingly, the civil engineering program strives to create an awareness of the ecological, social, economic, and political context of engineering and attempts to prepare the civil engineer for the necessary interactions with other professions and the public. An effort to instill an understanding of the role of the civil engineer in satisfying total societal needs is an integral part of the civil engineering program.

Consistent with the general program goal of facilitating development of student competence necessary for entry into engineering practice or graduate school, the Department has developed the following program objectives:

Within a few years of program completion, graduates of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department should be able to combine skills gained through academic preparation and post-graduation experience so that they can:

Exhibit technical competence through application of engineering knowledge, problem-solving skills, and modern tools from multiple areas of civil engineering practice in the analysis, evaluation, design, and construction of civil engineering systems and system components. Apply skills of effective communication, teamwork, leadership, and professional and ethical behavior as complements to technical competence. Incorporate economic, environmental, social, and sustainability considerations into the practice of civil engineering. Continue their technical and professional development, which may include professional licensure, graduate level education, continuing education courses, self-directed study, and participation in conference and committee activities.

The curriculum provides a common freshman and sophomore year, with selection of upper division courses made during course request for the second semester of the sophomore year. The civil engineering curriculum provides breadth across the civil engineering profession and the opportunity for depth within a student's selected specialty areas of interest. Specialty areas offered within the department include: construction engineering & management, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, land development, civil engineering materials, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering.

Students are progressively exposed to civil engineering design, culminating in a focused design course experience. The projects assigned in design courses are open-ended, incorporate appropriate engineering standards, and require the application of knowledge from earlier courses in the curriculum. Projects apply technical knowledge to design appropriate physical facilities, but also include consideration of non-technical constraints that confront real-world projects. These additional considerations include such interdisciplinary issues as economics, environmental impact, and sustainability. Accordingly, teamwork and good professional communications skills are a significant part of each design project course experience.

Classroom instruction in the civil engineering program is reinforced by instructional laboratories in the major areas of civil engineering practice. The department seeks to employ the latest educational technology and innovative teaching methods.

The department participates in the Cooperative Education Program in which qualified students may alternate semesters of study with semesters of professional employment. The department encourages all students to participate in professional work experience prior to graduation.

Contact person for undergraduate Civil and Environmental Engineering programs is Kara Lattimer, CEE Academic and Career Advisor at (540) 231-7148 or e-mail: karalatt@vt.edu.

Full programs of graduate study are available, leading to the M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering. Graduate degree programs concentrate in one of five major areas: construction engineering and management, environmental and water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering and materials, and transportation and infrastructure systems engineering. For details, see the Graduate Catalog.

Website URL for the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
Bachelor of Science in Crop and Soils Environmental Science

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
The Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences (CSES) offers two undergraduate majors: Environmental Science and Crop and Soil Sciences. Both programs integrate the biological and physical sciences to give our students a detailed knowledge of food production systems and human impacts on our environment.

Environmental Science

The Environmental Science program emphasizes ecosystem function and protection, land-use planning, waste management, water quality, recycling, decontamination, revegetation of disturbed sites, and agriculture's impacts on the environment.

Crop and Soil Sciences

The Crop and Soil Sciences program is focused on sustainable means of crop production, utilization of soils, and stewardship of the environment. It is concerned with feeding the world, protecting the environment, and producing quality turfgrass. Graduates can prepare themselves for careers ranging from integrated pest management to international development, from environmental legislation to biotechnology, from crop production to city planning.

As a student in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, you can count on quality academic programs relevant for today and tomorrow, opportunities for involvement and experience, and individual and personal attention.

Website URL for the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program(s):
Bachelor of Science in Water: Resources, Policy, and Management:

Water is the source of mounting pressures throughout the world. The prospect of water disputes increases as supplies become scarcer and more stressed. Some stressors, such as climate change, call for scientific understanding of the water cycle. In addition, sustainable urban expansion requires an understanding of culture and society. Increasingly, solutions to sharing water require skills involving water science, policy, law, economics, management, and social science. Virginia Tech is taking an interdisciplinary approach to meet the complex challenges of managing water by proposing a new bachelor of science degree that draws upon the resources of five of its colleges. The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved the new water degree at its June 1-2 meeting; the proposal now goes to the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia for consideration. Virginia Tech expects to initiate the program in spring 2015 pending final approval.

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture:

Landscape Architecture, a dynamic and complex field, is one of the most consequential design arts today. Landscape architecture has become one of today’s premier occupations, ranking among the best professions to enter. Working collaboratively with ecologists, scientists, architects, engineers, and planners, Landscape Architects are leading the work to meet the most important challenges of our time: climate change; healthy living and empathetic design; urbanization and shrinking cities; imaginative new development strategies; re-imagining water, food, energy, transportation, and green infrastructures; remediating spoiled lands and disturbed sites; and preserving critical natural resources. Landscape architects are doing this right now. Providing the opportunity to contribute to the protection of the environment and natural resources while performing an essential service, the field is both challenging and fulfilling. The profession requires individuals with skills in creativity, science, problem solving, collaboration and an aptitude for technology. The Landscape Architecture Program at Virginia Tech guides students as they develop these skills and take their place as designers and planners of the built environment.

There are many additional sustainability-focused and sustainability-related undergraduate degree programs.

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

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor or concentration:
Pathways to Sustainability Minor

A brief description of the undergraduate minor or concentration:
Located in the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

Set in a student-centered learning community, the Pathways to Sustainability minor begins with an introductory two-course series focused on systems thinking across natural, social, and economic contexts. This is followed by elective courses in the domains of humanities, environmental science, and art and design, in addition to an integrative capstone course.

Students need an expansive, multi-college conceptualization of sustainability and complementary set of tools and strategies to empower them to lead in a diverse, interconnected and dynamic world. This minor integrates perspectives and tools from natural and social sciences with those from art, design, and humanities.

Through these diverse fields, students gain strategies to think about connections, change, context, objectivity, and subjectivity, as well as practice integrating them - skills that will support personal growth and career development.

Website URL for the undergraduate minor or concentration:
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor or concentration (2nd program):
Green Engineering (GREN) Minor

A brief description of the undergraduate minor or concentration (2nd program):
Located in the College of Engineering.

The Green Engineering Program at Virginia Tech serves as the focal point of the College of Engineering for considering the environmental impacts of the design, manufacture, and use of engineered products, processes, and systems across all engineering disciplines. In this capacity, the program:

Develops courses and other educational opportunities for students and faculty to learn how engineering fundamentals can be applied to minimize environmental impacts in all engineering disciplines across life cycles
Facilitates the interdisciplinary collaboration of Virginia Tech engineering faculty with each other, government, industry, and other academic institutions in the research and development of innovative green engineering technologies
Promotes dialogue and collaboration of faculty, staff, and students with local, state, national, and global citizens and communities on issues related to green engineering and sustainability.

The Green Engineering Program at Virginia Tech will serve as a catalyst for the organic growth of sustainable systems engineering concepts throughout the College of Engineering and other academic units. It will be recognized both within the university and across the United States as an interdisciplinary center of excellence in the education of undergraduate and graduate engineers regarding environmental impacts of engineering practice.

2022 update: great article in VT news: https://eng.vt.edu/magazine/stories/spring-2022/shades-of-green.html?utm_source=cmpgn_news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vtUnirelNewsDailyCMP_071922-fs

Website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor or concentration (3rd program):
Civic Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) Minor

A brief description of the undergraduate minor or concentration (3rd program):
Located in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Pathways minor embodies a commitment to developing and strengthening an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture and food systems through building community capacity, using local resources, and serving local markets and citizens. It is designed to promote academic enhancement, personal growth, and civic engagement while strengthening students' capacity to learn about civic agriculture and food systems through the practice of reflection and experiential learning to solve real-world problems. The CAFS minor provides students with knowledge and skills to identify, examine, apply, and integrate agriculture and food system sustainability philosophies and activities into personal and professional practice.

The curriculum is designed around the following core values:

Food security and sovereignty
Civic engagement and democratic participation
Strong local economies
Ecological stewardship
Healthy people and communities
Collaborative teaching and experiential learning

Website URL for the undergraduate minor or concentration (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused undergraduate minors and concentrations:
Urban Forestry (URBF) Minor
Watershed Management (WSM) Minor
Wetland Science (WESC) Minor
Wood Science and Forest Products (WOOD) Minor
...and more!


Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
All majors (course catalog) list:

All minors list:

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