College of Arts Sciences to begin offering sustainability degree

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A new major, offered by the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Dakota, will help students prepare for a future committed to developing renewable energy and preserving ecological resources.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, the University of South Dakota will offer a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability. This degree program will contribute to the development of the South Dakota workforce in industries such as wind energy, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy technologies, biofuels and “green” construction practices.

“The demand for experts in sustainability is growing across the country," stated Matthew Moen, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “Graduates of our program will ultimately be prepared for exciting careers in industries that the state has identified as crucial to South Dakota’s future.”

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has identified renewable energy – at the core of sustainability – as an emerging needs industry in the state. Students majoring in sustainability will have an opportunity to pursue careers in both the private sector and government, including the areas of sustainable practices, renewable energy, community planning, non-governmental organizations focused on sustainable development and education.

The curriculum for a sustainability major involves the completion of 36 credit hours, with 18 in the required common core and 18 to be selected as electives from courses available in the selected specialization. Offering a major in sustainability is consistent with a range of established initiatives at USD, including the Missouri River Institute and the University of South Dakota Department of Biology’s specialization in conservation and biodiversity.

For more information about the sustainability major at USD, please visit or call (605) 677-5221


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 198 undergraduate and 79 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 more than 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hailie Warren
USD News