Sustainability Studies Grow in Popularity

Sustainability Studies Grow in Popularity

Villanova University has offered an interdisciplinary minor in Sustainability Studies since 2009. Open to students of all majors, in recent years the minor has become particularly popular with engineering students, who constitute about half of those pursuing the program.

Led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Andrea Welker, PhD, the Sustainability Studies minor requires students to select two courses from each of the three "stems" (Humanities, Social Science and Technology) for a total of 18 credits. A variety of classes fulfill the minor, from the Bible and the Environment, and Christian Environmental Ethics, to Sustainable Development, and Ecosystem Services. Engineering students are naturally drawn to course options within the College of Engineering, including, Project and Construction Management, Alternative Energy, and Sustainable Materials. The Sustainability Studies program also offers two summer study abroad opportunities in Lille, France and Costa Rica.

Students who wish to take their studies further in the field are encouraged to consider Villanova’s Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering (MSSE). The fastest growing graduate studies program in the College of Engineering, this multi-disciplinary degree—open to engineers and non-engineers alike—considers the full environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable engineering. Graduates advance or pursue careers in corporate sustainability, project management green construction, and more.

The increasing popularity of both the Sustainability Studies minor and Sustainable Engineering graduate program reflects the University’s commitment to sustainability. Given its Augustinian heritage, the Villanova community views environmental stewardship as part of its mission, and as a result, sustainability and respect for the earth is integrated in curricula, scholarly research, academic and community events, and institutional policy and practice. The University has been recognized for its efforts by the Sierra Club and Princeton Review, and is a member of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, and U.S. Green Building Council.