Duluth campus
Duluth Campus

Environment, Sustainability & Geography Minor

Geography & Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Undergraduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2020
  • Required credits in this minor: 22
The purpose of the environment, sustainability and geography program is to prepare students to create sustainable communities for present and future generations. This program provides students with the tools to understand the physical and social systems of the earth to become informed change makers locally and globally. Sustainability challenges are all around us: from climate change, to vulnerabilities in the industrial food system, to the way we design cities. One of the fundamental hurdles in a transition toward sustainability is bridging the ecological and social sciences with decision making. The program trains students to analyze the interwoven nature of social and ecological systems, and translate that knowledge into policies to enact change. Meaningful engagement with the world outside the classroom prepares students to comprehend and address these challenges. To this end, the program provides students with theoretical and hands-on instruction in ecological and social processes, mentoring, as well as opportunities for professional and real-world experiences through internships and applied research.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Minor Requirements
Core Requirements (13 cr)
ES 2005 - Environment and Sustainability [SUSTAIN] (3.0 cr)
GEOG 1205 - Our Globalizing World [SOC SCI, GLOBAL PER] (3.0 cr)
GEOG 1414 - The Physical Geography [LE CAT, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
GIS 2552 - Mapping Our World [LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
Electives (9 cr)
To fulfill this requirement students propose 3 courses related to their minor for at least 9 credits. Students must consult with an ESG adviser before proposing their elective courses. No more than 3 credits at the 2xxx level. No more than 3 credits of independent study, teaching assistant, honors projects in the following courses: ES 4091, 4910, 4999; GEOG 3991, 4910, 4999, 5991; URS 3991, 4910, 4999. Proposal form found here: z.umn.edu/umdclaprograms
(ESG proposed course)
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· Environment, Sustainability & Geography Minor
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ES 2005 - Environment and Sustainability (SUSTAIN)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02630 - ES 1001/ES 2005
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course will cover human impacts on their natural environments (resource depletion and pollution) and the complex notion of Sustainable Development. Students will analyze resource depletion (i.e., fossil fuels, forests, fisheries, water and soil) and pollution (i.e., climate change, ocean acidification, and oceanic garbage patches and dead zones) trends over the past century to better understand our growing impacts on the natural environment. Students will also analyze a wide variety of solutions (i.e., local food systems, renewable energy systems and water systems) from the emerging field of Sustainable Development aimed at mitigating these alarming resources depletion and pollution trends. Finally, students will be introduced to policy considerations regarding the implementation of these solutions and new economic approaches to help transition from economic growth to Sustainable Development.
GEOG 1205 - Our Globalizing World (SOC SCI, GLOBAL PER)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This course analyzes the relationship between the environment, economic development, culture, and politics by examining human geography in the context of global regions. This course introduces core concepts in human geography such as space, place, and scale, and globalization, and applies those concepts to understand the diversity of our globalizing world. Topics from the impact of climate change, to colonialism, the geography of agriculture, urbanization, geopolitics, and ethnic and national identities are explored.
GEOG 1414 - The Physical Geography (LE CAT, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall, Spring & Summer
The environment is highly dynamic and is continually modified by human and environmental processes. This course examines these processes to better understand how the Earth's landscapes were formed and how they are currently being transformed. Specifically, students will understand the fundamental processes that govern the physical environment including Earth-sun relations, water resources, landforms, weather and climate, natural vegetation, and soils.
GIS 2552 - Mapping Our World (LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02628 - GIS 2552/GEOG 2552
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
This course starts with the definition of what a map is and considers maps as tools for communication. Students are led to explore the effects of scale, projection, cartographic symbolization and generalization on the mapping process and resulting digital databases. Students are introduced to spatial data models, types of spatial data and representation, and study alternative or non-tradition map representations provided by GIS and Remote Sensing. The course includes hands-on map activities; map reading/interpretation, map use, and map production where students will use their laptops to create online web mapping services.