Sustainability content can be found in virtually every academic program at Auburn University, but the programs on this page are "sustainability-focused" programs. This means that they are interdisciplinary academic programs that have a primary and explicit focus on the concept of sustainability or the interdependence of ecological systems and social/economic systems. The courses required for the successful completion of the program educate students about how different dimensions of sustainability relate to and support each other in theory and practice.
Agricultural Business & Economics: provides students with background in the business and economic concepts that relate to agriculture, agribusiness, marketing, and the management of natural resources. Develops expertise in marketing, data analysis, production agriculture, business, resource management, rural development and economics.
Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture: The School of APLA offers a variety of majors including Architecture, Community Planning, Environmental Design, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Public Interest Design, all of which embrace design and planning creativity, social responsibility, historical perspective, technical competence, and global environmental consciousness, and prepares our students for leadership in their respective disciplines and in their communities.
Biological and Agricultural Technology Management (BATMan): The goal of this major is to produce graduates that use technology to solve problems, providing hands-on training and a broad background in science, technology and management. With world population projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, graduates from technology management majors such as BATM will manage the complex technologies in agricultural and biological production and manufacturing systems that will provide the needed healthy food, clean water and affordable energy in a healthy environment for citizens. BATM graduates will also acquire skills that are transferable to other sectors that rely heavily on technology such as automotive and manufacturing industries.
Biosystems Engineering: This program trains students to develop sustainable and resilient solutions to global challenges and life’s essentials: food, water, energy, environment, and health. The well-rounded engineering experience provided by the department enables students to function exceptionally well on multidisciplinary teams of today’s workforce. Concentrations include Bioprocess Engineering, Ecological Engineering, and Forest Engineering.
Civil and Environmental Engineering: This major trains students to conceive, plan, design, construct, operate and maintain the facilities and systems that serve the basic needs of our society, emphasizing social, economic, and environmentally sustainable solutions.
Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences: This department offers a variety of majors in which students will apply the basic sciences — such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology and microbiology — to better understand the natural foundation upon which the agricultural industry is built. Graduates of this program protect our natural environment while producing the food, fiber and resources that improve life for billions every single day.
Environmental Design: A multidisciplinary degree that emphasizes a blend of sustainable practices from a local and global context, within a framework of comprehensive design and systems thinking. It builds in students an understanding of the interconnected nature of all design and construction disciplines.
Environmental Science: The major in environmental science is an interdisciplinary degree, incorporating studies such as physics, chemistry, biology and geology. Students gain an understanding of contemporary issues facing society as a whole, as well as the historical, social, economic and political contexts that scientists face in dealing with environmental issues on local and global scales.
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management: The School of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences offers majors addressing all aspects of water resource management, including aquaculture, aquatic animal health, genomics, aquatic ecology, conservation and fisheries management.
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences: The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences offers multiple majors dealing with sustainable forest use and resource management, including applied economics, Earth Systems Science, Forest Finance and Investment, Forestry, Geospatial and Environmental Informatics, Natural Resources Management, Restoration Ecology, Wildlife Ecology and Management. The curriculum emphasizes biological, ecological, environmental, social, economic, and ethical considerations in forest management.
Geography: In this major, students will investigate critical problems relating to human and natural resources and public policy development; conduct scientific research analyzing and evaluating the complex relationships between humans and the environment across various spatial scales; and implement geographical theories, methodologies, and tools.
Global Studies: The Global Studies curriculum is designed to educate students on relevant global issues, the realities of globalization and how local and global issues are interconnected. Content includes multiple issues relevant to human sciences and sustainability including international nutrition, hunger and food insecurity, microlending and entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, maternal and child health, education of women and girls, global markets, goods and services, humanitarian aid and social policy.
Horticulture: Horticulture majors focus on the discovery and promotion of sustainable fruit and vegetable cultivation, promotion of human health and weal-being, and building, growing, and protecting sustainable landscapes.
Interior Design: Interior design majors focus on understanding how to relate to people, uncover their needs, and shape the environment to enhance quality of life.
Organismal Biology: This major integrates studies of basic natural history of organisms with analyses of the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity. The program features conservation efforts that range from single species to landscape levels and biodiversity studies that range from the molecular level to the community level. Sustainability-focused concentrations include Conservation and Biodiversity; Ecology, Evolution and Behavior; and Integrative Biology.
Social Work: This major educates and trains personnel to address the problems unique to Alabama’s poor, advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised, including children and families at risk, and dealing with diverse populations.
Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging: Students learn about the environmental concerns and evolving technologies that are moving companies toward the use of sustainable forest biomaterial for everything from packaging, cosmetics, and automobiles to appliances, pharmaceuticals, and commercial construction.
Environmental Design: intended for students from both design and non-design backgrounds, this minor will teach students to work creatively and interdisciplinarily on design projects and to understand the social, cultural and economic forces that shape design proposals.
Forest Resources: This minor is available only to students in the forest emphasis of the forest engineering option of the biosystems engineering degree.
Health Equity Science (Certificate Program): This program trains students to recognize the root causes of poor health, develop innovative strategies to prevent disease, and reduce gaps in health, particularly those experienced in groups that are most vulnerable. It addresses health inequities in the context of an ecosocial framework that emphasizes the interplay between multiple ecological levels.
Hunger Studies: Students completing the Hunger studies minor will understand hunger, its causes and consequences as a sustainable human development issue while applying critical thinking skills in addressing hunger as a multidisciplinary, socially complex issue. Students will develop and demonstrate advocacy skills that can engage individuals and communities; affect social policy, and create the political will to end hunger while acquiring leadership skills that will facilitate hunger activism at domestic and/or global levels, and develop the capacity to think and act as a global citizen.
Natural Resources Ecology: Natural resources ecology is a broad and rapidly evolving field that includes landscape, plant, animal and abiotic systems. Students gain knowledge about a wide-range of ecological concepts by taking core courses in landscape, wetland and forest ecology. This minor is designed for students who would like to pursue careers in areas such as plant or restoration ecology, conservation biology, natural resource education, or fish or wildlife law enforcement.
Natural Resources Economics and Environmental Policy: This minor is designed to provide students an understanding of how policy decisions and market mechanisms affect environmental quality and the use of natural resources.
Nature-based Recreation: Students in this minor will learn the theory, principles and values, business and management, communication skills, and conservation foci of nature-based recreation and ecotourism. The minor is designed for students who are interested in careers in government, in private business, and non-profit companies who offer outdoor recreation opportunities.
Public Health: This minor provides students with a broad understanding of the diversity of the public health field, socio-economic factors that influence access to healthcare, and determinants of disease.
Rural and Community Development: This minor equips graduates with the knowledge and skills important for administering both public-and private-sector human-relations programs that serve the residents of small towns and rural communities as well as special-needs populations, such as the elderly and the disabled.
Social Work: The mission of this program is to make a positive impact on the social problems within the State of Alabama by educating and training generalist social work personnel who are capable of addressing the problems unique to Alabama’s poor, advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised, including children and families at risk, and dealing with diverse populations.
Stewardship-Based Agriculture: The minor in stewardship-based agriculture is designed with a focus on crop and animal production for small-scale, international or other alternative production systems (such as urban gardens) beyond conventional ag-scale production.
Sustainability Studies: With a diverse selection of courses and study abroad programs, the interdisciplinary minor in sustainability studies offers students the opportunity to gain wide-ranging expertise and hands-on experience with the most crucial issues in contemporary society.
Urban Environmental Science: This minor will prepare students to help cities meet the special challenges of managing natural resources in an urban environment. Urban environmental scientists will be involved in storm flow analysis, tree planting and care, grant proposals, and supervision of municipal employees.
Watershed Sciences: The Watershed Sciences minor is intended to provide background courses in natural and physical sciences along with upper-level courses on watershed management, wetland ecology, soil conservation, and electives that match student interests. This minor is well suited for students looking for a career in watershed science, soil conservation, water management, or wetland ecology.
Agricultural Economics (MS, MAg): Fields of interest include agricultural marketing, production economics, markets and prices, resources economics, environmental economics, agricultural finance, agricultural policy, international policy or farm management.
Applied Economics, Agriculture (PhD): Courses include applied production economics, demand analysis, international economics, resource and environmental economics, and other electives. Natural Resource & Environmental Economics is one of several available concentrations.
Applied Economics, Forestry & Wildlife Sciences (PhD): Areas of concentration include natural resource and environmental economics, applied production economics, international economics and applied market analysis.
Architecture, Public Interest Design Option (MS Arch): This program addresses systemic issues underlying housing affordability in rural Alabama. Through design and innovation in the field of rural housing, this program will cultivate leadership in the realms of public interest, design tectonics, and architectural project documentation and dissemination.
Biological Science (MS and PhD): Highly interdisciplinary program focusing on the core specializations of 1) Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation, 2) Evolutionary Genetics and Systematics, 3) Physiological Adaptation and Functional Genomics, and 4) Host-Microbial Interactions.
Biosystems Engineering (MA, PhD): Includes specializations in specializations in bioenergy and bioproducts engineering, precision agriculture and forestry, off-highway vehicle engineering, ecological engineering and food and process engineering.
Community Planning (MCP): Community planning is concerned with the use of land, protection of the environment, public welfare, the design of public spaces and infrastructure, and the economy.
Consumer and Design Sciences (MA and PhD): Specialization areas include design of interiors and apparel; product development; marketing and retail management; global sourcing; distribution channels for apparel and related consumer products; analysis and forecasting of demand for fashion-driven soft goods; multi-dimensional perspectives on sustainable products, processes and environments; and consumer behavior in multicultural and global contexts.
Crop, Soil, & Environmental Sciences (MS, PhD): Specializations include soil fertility and plant nutrition; soil chemistry; soil genesis, morphology and classification; soil mineralogy; soil physics; soil microbiology; plant breeding and genetics; weed science; forage, fiber, bioenergy and grain crop production; crop ecology; environmental quality; and turfgrass management.
Earth System Science (PhD): This interdisciplinary PhD program links the physical, chemical, and biological, and social sciences to the understanding the interaction of Earth-system processes and humans.
Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences (MS, MAq, PhD): Students may choose between emphases in aquaculture, aquatic ecology and fishery management. All three include coursework and research related to the socio-economic aspects of aquaculture and fisheries and the ecology of fisheries and aquaculture.
Forestry (MS, MNR, PhD): Can be tailored for students with interests in forest management, ecology and environmental sciences, economics, engineering, or business.
Geography (MS): Students will explore and investigate critical problems relating to human and natural resources and public policy development; conduct scientific research analyzing and evaluating the complex relationships between humans and the environment across various spatial scales; and implement geographical theories, methodologies, and tools.
Horticulture (MS and PhD): Includes an option for Public Horticulture specialization.
Landscape Architecture (MA): The Auburn Master's in Landscape Architecure involves three areas of inquiry, which guide and regulate its teaching and learning strategies. These are ecological urbanism, environmental justice and global challenges. Together they make up what we call the critical practice of landscape architecture.
Natural Resources (MS, MNR): The Natural Resources program prepares the next generation of leaders with the knowledge, ability, and excellence to conserve and manage our natural systems for a sustainable future.
Rural Sociology (MS): The Rural Sociology master’s degree focuses on equipping students with the scientific and technical skills necessary to assess and to evaluate both the challenges and the opportunities found within and among rural communities.
Social Work (MSW): Our mission is to make a positive impact on health care needs and social problems unique to Alabama’s citizens by preparing you for specialized social work practice with diverse populations through the establishment and maintenance of community partnerships, along with the development and implementation of research techniques and evaluative strategies.
Wildlife Sciences (MS, PhD) Our graduate program focuses on developing science-based knowledge for the effective management and wise use of a vast array of wildlife species and the habitats they occupy.
Alternative spring breaks: Immersive service and educational experiences that place students in community-based service projects and give students opportunities to learn about the problems faced by members of other communities. Students in this program have spent their spring breaks at free medical clinics in underserved areas, loggerhead turtle rehabilitation facilities, wilderness conservation sites, and more.
Auburn Chapter of Engineers Without Borders: EWB is an international organization that partners with communities worldwide to design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences that enrich global perspectives and create responsible leaders. Students work with a community in the Bolivian Andes on a variety of community-driven development projects, largely dealing with small-scale, sustainable hydraulic projects (an irrigation system, hydroponics system, solar shower, etc.). The Auburn chapter is in the process of expanding its work to a second community, this one in Rwanda.
Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability: Costa Rica, BIOL 4970: During this 10-day study abroad program, students experience Costa Rican culture, explore diverse tropical ecosystems, learn about sustainable agricultural practices, and conduct research projects related to ecology and conservation.
Conservation and Research in the Peruvian Rainforest, BIOL 4970: Over Spring Break, Undergraduate and Graduate students pair up to look at research questions while exploring Peru. Students visit Machu Picchu, participate in an Amazon River night watch, explore Peru's ecosystem with multiple hikes including one at night and a Canopy walk, visit a Bee Sanctuary and visit local conservation and sustainability groups.
Environmental Design Program in Copenhagen, Denmark, ENVD 4100 & ENVD 4970: This is a three-week long summer program specifically tailored for the students interested in issues of sustainability, urban livability, transportation systems, design, and environmental design.
Honors College Pre-Freshman Study & Travel in Costa Rica, INTL 1977: A ten-day pre-freshman Honors study abroad program in which students will visit some of the most spectacular and ecologically significant landscapes in the Western hemisphere while learning about local efforts to conserve biodiversity and promote economic development through a series of field trips, discussions, readings, and hands-on activities.
Regional Sustainable Technologies and Practices in Northern Spain, ENGR 3970: This four week program will introduce students to sustainable technologies and practices in northern Spain through classroom instruction and by visiting sites, including wind and solar farms, bio-mass conversion facilities and a desalination plant. Students will understand the economic, environment and societal impacts of these technologies.
The Role of Forests in Human Livelihood and Health in Africa: South Africa and Madagascar, FOWS 3800/3810: In this one-month program, students travel overseas visiting the countries of South Africa and Madagascar to learn about the importance of trees (native and non-native) for rural community livelihood and human health. Students will be exposed to indigenous forests, savanna woodlands and non-native trees grown in commercial forestry plantations. This course focuses on an approach to ensure the well-being of people, animals, and the environment through collaborative, multi-disciplinary problem solving.
Rural Studio (College of Architecture, Design, and Construction): An off-campus design-build program located in Hale County, Alabama, that gives architecture students a hands-on educational experience while assisting under-resourced communities of West Alabama’s Black Belt. Driven by an ethos of recycling, reusing, and remaking, students work within the community to define solutions, fundraise, design and, ultimately, build remarkable projects that are socially and environmentally sustainable.
Sustainability in Action: Fiji, HUSC 5940: During this month-long program on the 200-acre Vorovoro Island, students stay in the home of a Mali villager, allowing them a first-hand look into authentic island life, cuisine, and culture. Students have the opportunity to visit sugar cane and permaculture farms, engage with local Fijians in a collaborative community project, and gain first-hand knowledge to compare and contrast the wealth of tourists versus the life of an average Fijian. This program stretches students’ perspectives on sustainability, globalization, economic development, climate change, natural resources management, eco-tourism, and consumerism.
Tropical Veterinary Science and the Great Barrier Reef, VBMS 3050: This is a seventeen-day program. Using Australia as the backdrop, participants will gain an understanding of the interrelationships between flora and fauna, both marine and terrestrial, and how economics and climate change are impacting biodiverse populations The class will participate in surveys that focus on environmental health and outreach activities that will serve to improve it.
Last modified: June 28, 2021