Program Overview

Bachelor of Science
Earth, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences
Department Chair Name
Suresh Muthukrishnan
Nina Anthony

What is a sustainability science degree?

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan, explorer and conservationist

A sustainability science major is a course of study that explores the critical linkages between global environmental, human and social systems. We are bombarded by sustainability news headlines covering polar ice melt, sea-level rise, coastline erosion, climate change, global warming, species extinction, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean plastic, and the list goes on. Increasingly, companies, governments and citizens need experts in sustainability science to help navigate humanity’s way on a singular, vulnerable planet. A degree in sustainability science gives you a seat at the table in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) roles, environmental policy, sustainable urban planning, and social justice and climate equity discussions that emanate from extreme weather events.

Why study sustainability science at Furman?

The ultimate challenge of sustainability science lies in finding ways to elevate the standard of living for all humans above a social foundation that protects against human deprivation, while at the same time lowering environmental impact below critical natural thresholds. Our sustainability science curriculum addresses this challenge and associated issues, training you to solve the most pressing complex challenges we face as a global society.

Our program provides you with a marketable skill set and a problem-based, solution-driven way of thinking, grounded in a holistic, systems approach. Classes focus on real-world sustainability challenges, such as food security, energy production, climate change, population growth, production and consumption, economic growth, human security and health, and access to clean water. Many courses include project-based learning opportunities that integrate theoretical and methodological training in practical settings. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.

How will you learn?

As the nation’s first sustainability science degree at a liberal arts and sciences institution, our program includes courses and undergraduate research programs that are engaging, interdisciplinary and include field-based experiences. We’ll provide you with the theoretical and practical knowledge to understand the basis of the Earth’s environmental and geological processes and their inextricable link to today’s social challenges.

Our educational model follows a systems-level understanding of the physical, chemical, biological, and social interactions that shape the Earth and potential solutions to the “one planet problem.” We emphasize the breadth of the complexity and dynamics of human-environment systems and have adopted a cutting-edge position bridging the natural and social sciences.

Our expanded viewpoint for the program allows us to not only uncover the problems caused by human transformation of the environment, but also to explore potential solutions to evolving environmental conditions. Through Furman’s liberal arts and sciences curriculum, and through intentionally small classrooms, we offer a range of perspectives to help you develop the skills, values and knowledge to pursue solutions.

All of our sustainability science students participate in a practicum or research project. Partner with faculty on research and present findings at national and international conferences.

Featured sustainability science courses

  • 100%
    Sustainability science majors who conduct research or finish a practicum
  • 2012
    Year sustainability science becomes a major at Furman
  • 1
    and only science B.S. nationally at a liberal arts and sciences institution
  • 54%
    Sustainability science students who complete at least one internship

What our students say

“I chose sustainability science as a major because I love its interdisciplinary nature. Through faculty support, I had access to high level-research opportunities that I would not have had as an undergraduate at most other institutions.”
– Kat Denney ’20, B.S. sustainability science; business development manager for recycling firm

Our faculty

Karen Allen

Associate Professor, Sustainability Science, Anthropology

Brannon Andersen

Rose J. Forgione Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

Ruth Aronoff

Associate Professor of Earth Sciences

Matthew Cohen

Associate Professor, Sustainability Science

Geoffrey Habron

Professor of Sustainability Sciences

Emma Hunt

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

Valeska Minkowski

Adjunct Professor

Suresh Muthukrishnan

Professor and Chair of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Department; Director of GIS and Remote Sensing Center

Courtney Quinn

Adjunct Professor; Earth, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences

Melissa Ranhofer

Lecturer, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

Christopher Romanek

Laboratory manager
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Sustainability Science Major F.A.Q.