The School of Sustainability
Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability is the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States, with a focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges.
Established in 2006, the School is part of the College of Global Futures. The School of Sustainability offers undergraduate and graduate programs and minors, as well as doctoral and professional leadership programs.
We are addressing some of the most critical challenges of our time, and the demand for our graduates is strong. The School’s course of study emphasizes experiential learning, research with faculty, corporate and K-12 work, community service, and leadership development.
The knowledge and solutions that are created today will shape our quality of life as well as future generations–we have an opportunity and an obligation to make our world more sustainable.
Empowering transformation for a thriving, sustainable world
Our mission is to foster innovative research, impactful education and engaged communities to achieve environmental integrity, social equity and well-being.
The School of Sustainability is committed to providing deep collective research, teaching and engagement expertise in 11 topical areas (green) and 10 theories and approaches (blue) that are integral to the study and implementation of sustainability.
The School of Sustainability is committed to transdisciplinarity. Transdisciplinarity creates synergies between multiple disciplines that leads to new insights and knowledge. It is more than just bringing disciplines together — the interaction of disciplines that creates something innovative is that hallmark of transdisciplinary success.
Linking academics and with practitioners in the community who are implementing or looking for sustainability solutions is another important trait of transdisciplinarity. Our students are learning from professors, and also from the people on the front lines of sustainability challenges in cities, non-profits and local businesses who we partner with to both provide educational opportunities for our students and to provide sustainability thinking to these organizations.
The School of Sustainability takes a transdisciplinary approach in its curriculum, addressing a broad spectrum of global challenges, including: energy, materials, and technology; water quality and scarcity; international development; ecosystems; social transformations; food and food systems; and policy and governance.
At ASU we are creating the New American University –a place where knowledge informs decision-making, research and study transcends academic disciplines, students learn from the world around them, and local solutions have global impact. Together we can rethink and reinvent the future of a world at risk.
Sustainability frames our research and curriculum
Sustainability uses an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to understand interactions between people and the environment. This systems approach is also fundamental for designing effective solutions to sustainability challenges. Some of the challenges that guide the research and curriculum of the School of Sustainability are:
- The need to envision the future we want and the necessary strategies to work towards that goal;
- The challenges of rapid urbanization and a doubling of global urban population in the next 30 years;
- The increased competition for water and other essential natural resources that are in relatively fixed supply;
- The ability to mitigate or adapt to harmful global environmental change, including climate change;
- The need for renewable energy, “smart” materials, and effective knowledge systems;
- The need to understand the human dimensions that influence sustainable programs and practices;
- The need for policy and governance that supports sustainable programs and behaviors;
- The need to conserve biodiversity and habitats; and
- The challenge of providing for global growth and equity in standards of living without irreparably damaging the Earth’s natural systems.