USD Plans One of Few Sustainability Graduate Programs

Image Meghann Jarchow at biodiversity event Meghann Jarchow, coordinator of USD's sustainability program, which will be one of a few offering graduate-level degrees.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Funding from the National Science Foundation will help the University of South Dakota add master’s and doctorate degrees to its sustainability program, making it one of only a handful of U.S. colleges to offer such graduate-level degrees.

USD’s sustainability program, which currently offers bachelor of arts and science degrees and a minor, encourages students to use systems thinking to evaluate complex environmental, social and economic problems. Students are also encouraged to actually do sustainability, with the average graduate having completed 10 different experiential learning opportunities focused on sustainability while at USD.

Since it started in August 2012, the sustainability program has grown in student and faculty numbers and research capacity, said Meghann Jarchow, Ph.D., program coordinator.

“As the public liberal arts university in the state that already has an undergraduate sustainability program, we are well poised to move into graduate sustainability training,” she said. “USD already has graduate programs related to environmental conservation, civic engagement and corporate social responsibility. We will be able to build on the expertise that already exists here.”

The sustainability program, with Jarchow as the co-principal investigator, recently received a nearly $2 million NSF grant for sustainability research. The grant will support the hiring of two new faculty members who will contribute to the sustainability program and the assistantships for three doctoral students who will conduct research on the project.

Download an imageMeghann Jarchow, coordinator of USD's sustainability program, which will be one of a few offering graduate-level degrees.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News