Academic Sustainability Program

What is a course contract?

Course contracts are a great way for Sustainability Studies minors to receive credit for classes that are not ordinarily part of the Sustainability program. If you are enrolled or plan to enroll in a course that addresses sustainability-adjacent issues, or which you can complete with a special focus on issues of sustainability, you may want to create a contract with the instructor that will allow you to earn credit for the course towards your minor. This page provides information to help students and faculty discuss, create, and submit a successful course contract.

In order to count a class as an elective towards the sustainability studies minor, it must have a significant sustainability-related component. In many cases, students can choose to focus on sustainability themes within the existing structure of the class: you might select a sustainability-related topic for your final paper, for instance, or complete service-learning or field studies in relevant venues. Courses taken for sustainability credit must be academic (no P.E. or pass/fail) and should be in subjects that pique your interest. Contract courses must also meet the distribution requirements for the minor.

Please remember that a course contract is a signed agreement between you and the participating faculty member. It should be treated with respect, and followed through to completion.

Steps to Contracting a Course:

  1. Discuss your idea with the instructor. This step should ideally be undertaken during the semester prior to enrollment, as you are developing your course schedule for the next semester. At the latest, you should begin discussions with the course instructor during the first week of the class.
  2. Following your initial discussion, formalize your ideas with the course instructor by developing answers to the questions you will need to complete the contract. These questions are discussed in detail below.
  3. Submit your contract online no later than the end of the second week of classes. The Academic Sustainability Program will communicate with the course instructor to confirm details.
  4. Revise your contract if needed. The Academic Sustainability Program will make a final recommendation no later than the end of the third week of classes. Contracts that must be revised will be returned to the student with suggestions, and must be re-submitted online.

Prepare to submit a contract:

To complete a course contract you will need to upload a syllabus for the course and answer the following questions in as much detail as possible:

  • What aspects of sustainability will you address in this course? Please cite specific topics from the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • How will you incorporate these aspects of susin this course? In what ways are your plans for the course different from normal course expectations? Will you complete additional assignments, focus on specific topics in your essays and projects, or something else?
  • How does this class contribute to your education in sustainability studies? Is it relevant towards your professional goals in a sustainability-related field? Does it provide a different perspective on issues addressed in other sustainability classes? Does it teach you a skill or information that you cannot get from other sustainability classes?

Ready to submit your course contract? Click here to get started.

With questions about this process, email

Last modified: May 26, 2021