Sustainability Minor

Sustainability Minor

Sustainability Minor

Sustainability Minor

Sustainability is about advancing environmental protection, promoting a fair and equitable society, and sustaining a robust economy that works for all. The interdisciplinary minor in Sustainability involves 18 credit hours spread across a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Challenges to environmental sustainability require holistic, future-oriented thinking, and this cross-cutting approach teaches students to approach sustainability from a multidisciplinary perspective. The Minor culminates with an experiential capstone course in which students apply their knowledge to develop creative, adaptive solutions to a local issue related to sustainability.


Courses emphasize experiential, project-based, and service learning. The minor is designed to foster a responsible citizenry at UCCS, which in turn contributes to sustainability efforts at local, regional, and national or international scales. Most broadly, the goal of the minor is to advance environmental protection, promote a fair and equitable society, and sustain a robust economy both locally and globally. READ MORE


Students earning the Minor in Sustainability complete a minimum of 18 credit hours, 12 of which must be upper division (3000-level and above). There are two required courses:

  • GES 1500: Introduction to Environmental Studies and Sustainability (offered only in fall semester)
  • GES 4800: Sustainability Seminar (offered only in spring semester)

Remaining coursework must include at least one course from each of the three perspectives of environment, equity, and economy. A maximum of nine credits can apply toward both the Sustainability minor and your major, and a minimum grade of C (2.0) must be received for any course to count towards the completion of the minor. At least nine credit hours must be taken at UCCS; the remainder can be transferred from other institutions.

Note that some of the listed courses include prerequisite courses and/or may not be offered every semester. Special topics courses, internships, independent studies, or other courses may fulfill requirements for the minor, but require approval by Christine Biermann (, Director of the Sustainability Minor.

Why earn a minor in sustainability?

Are you concerned about the health of the environment? The health and well-being of human societies? Global climate and environmental change? Are you interested in working to develop solutions to pressing social and environmental problems? Do you yearn for a career in which you can make a difference? Our local and global communities need experts who can develop and implement interconnected solutions to complex issues. With courses that emphasize experiential, project-based, and service learning, the Sustainability minor at UCCS will prepare you to make real-world impacts in meaningful ways.

There is a growing demand for leaders and employees who not only know what sustainability is but also understand how to approach problems and solutions from multiple perspectives. The Minor in Sustainability can be pursued alongside any undergraduate degree program and will prepare you to integrate sustainability-thinking into whatever career path you choose. Students who complete the Minor in Sustainability may go on to work in government agencies, non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and industry. A few examples of jobs in sustainability include:

  • Environmental restoration planner
  • Zero-waste program manager
  • Sustainable designer
  • Corporate sustainability director
  • Parks and recreation specialist
  • Sustainable fashion and apparel
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Energy and LEED analyst
  • Urban and regional planner
  • Environmental scientist and specialist
  • Transportation planners
  • Environmental engineer
  • International development planner
  • Sustainable food systems developer
  • Socially responsible investing
  • Environmental law and regulation


In spring 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Sustainability Minor student (and Geography and Environmental Studies/Anthropology double major) Bryce Larson (see feature image above) found herself in a virtual meeting with a Trout Unlimited employee for a sustainability capstone class project. Her summer job had been recently called off, and she was at a loss for what to do in the coming months to further her career. Not one to let an opportunity pass her by, Bryce spoke in the meeting with Trout Unlimited about of her passion for native fish conservation and inquired about opportunities with the non-profit. After connecting with the Trout Unlimited Angler Conservation Program and Science Team, Bryce landed a summer internship working to better conserve the native Bonneville cutthroat trout in the Bear River Basin of Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. Following the internship, Bryce completed a senior thesis at UCCS under the direction of Sustainability Minor Director Dr. Christine Biermann. Now a graduate of UCCS, Bryce is still collaborating with Trout Unlimited, and looks forward to a bright future related to sustainability and the environment, with hopefully lots of days out on the water!