Undergraduate Program Sustainability Minor

Engineering student doing wind tunnel research

Sustainability Minor Overview

PSU's sustainability minor prepares you to think critically about the challenges facing society and help effect change.

Our program helps you understand the many concepts and practices integral to sustainable living by making connections between a healthy environment, just societies and a vibrant economy to meet the needs of today and the future. Organizations and communities are looking for ways to operate and live more sustainably.

Add PSU's sustainability minor to any degree program to learn how to understand, analyze and implement sustainable solutions — and give yourself a competitive edge in today's job market no matter what career you choose.

Degree Details

  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Sustainability Minor: Why PSU?

PSU’s sustainability minor will provide you with a foundation in the concepts, theories, and methods related to sustainability and end with a capstone course, where you'll apply your skills to a real-world setting with a community partner. In between, you'll choose electives from economics, urban planning, architecture, geology, history, political science, sociology, philosophy, systems science, and environmental science and management.

Portland State’s unique and nationally recognized core curriculum provides the framework for the sustainability capstone project, which gives you hands-on experience putting sustainability concepts and measures into practice.

Past projects have worked with Indigenous communities, Learning Gardens Laboratory, local government agencies, Portland's Community Cycling Center, the Northwest Earth Institute, and the Center for Earth Leadership. We also offer opportunities to study abroad and work on projects in rural Nicaragua, Argentina, and Mexico.

What can I do with a minor in Sustainability?

There is a demand for employees and leaders who know what sustainability is, understand how to approach problems and solutions, and know-how to draw from different fields. PSU's sustainability minor prepares you to launch a rewarding career in a variety of settings, from government to corporations, including:

  • Corporate sustainability
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Research and development
  • Consulting
  • Policymakers, government, and regulatory agencies
  • NGO or other nonprofit
  • Education
  • Waste and recycling
  • Food and agriculture

Required Courses

This minor requires a multidisciplinary study of the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. To obtain a minor in sustainability a student must complete at least 30 credits (at least 15 of which must be taken in residence at PSU), to include the following:

  • ESM 150 Orientation to Environmental Sciences and Management
  • UNST 224 Environmental Sustainability
  • ESM 222 Applied Environmental Studies: Policy Consideration

Upper-division credits to include at least a total of four courses from the following three categories:

  • Economics and Business Issues
  • Social and Management Issues
  • Environmental and Ecological Issues

Additionally, student must choose an appropriate caption or internship.

Featured Courses

  • UNST 224 Environmental Sustainability
  • EC 444 Economics of Green Power
  • USP 490 Green Economics and Sustainable Development
  • ESM 357U Business Solutions for Environmental Problems
  • GEOG 340U Global Water Issues and Sustainability
  • GEOG 347U Environmental Issues and Action
  • GEOG 442 Sustainable Cities
  • PHL 310U Environmental Ethics
  • PS 319 Politics of the Environment
  • SOC 341U Population Trends and Policy
  • SYSC 334U Modeling Social-Ecological Systems
  • USP 313U Urban Environmental Issues
  • ESR 420 Ecological Toxicity
  • CE 488 Air Quality
  • ESM 526 Ecology of Streams and Rivers
  • ESM 464 Science and Policy of Climate Change


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).