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Graduate School of Sustainability courses

Graduate School of Sustainability courses

Graduate School of Sustainability courses

List of sustainability courses at ASU

The School of Sustainability maintains a list of courses that are sustainability focused or that are believed to include elements of sustainability. The last time this list was updated was summer 2016.

List of sustainability courses at ASU


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Under the class search tool, the School’s prefix or “subject” is “SOS.”


Sample School of Sustainability graduate courses

Uses case studies; faculty and students from engineering, architecture, social sciences, and natural sciences exchange ideas on the major challenges faced in forming a sustainable future at the local, national, and global levels. *Enrollment restricted to sustainability graduate students

Conveys advanced procedures of how to identify and analyze sustainability problems and how to develop solution visions and strategies that can solve and mitigate sustainability problems. Introduces and facilitates training in how to use an integrated framework for sustainability problem solving, which is applicable to all sustainability-related professions. Prepares students for their applied projects on sustainability solutions.

*Enrollment restricted to sustainability graduate students

Microeconomic principles of resource allocation applied to environmental goods and services; external environmental effects and environmental public goods; decision-making under uncertainty; adapting to and mitigation of environmental changes.

Key ideas, concepts and principles of sustainability science that focuses on the dynamic relationship between society and nature. Examines the structure, functioning and dynamics of coupled human-environment systems (CHESs) on local, regional and global scales with a systems perspective. Covers major sustainability science issues including: fundamentals of ecology, energy, agro-food systems, renewable and non-renewable resource systems, economic development and human well-being.

Concepts and definitions of the human dimensions of sustainability; the role of attitudes and values in shaping sustainability goals, practices, and programs; the diversity of values and socio-cultural contexts relating to sustainability; bottom-up and top-down sustainable policy development, social data collection methodologies.

The conceptual, ethical, and practical challenges in the design, manufacture, and lifecycle performance of products; environmental evaluation via materials flow analysis and life cycle assessment; global economic, environmental, cultural, and social aspects of competitive and functional product development and manufacture.

Explores the political, economic, cultural, and moral foundations of science and technology policy and governance in democratic society.

**Sustainability graduate students may count either SOS 516 or SOS 518 Uncertainty and Decision Making as a core course.

Examines the evolving interface between sustainability and human enterprise. Explores and reviews key fundamental concepts in the sustainability arena, including economic and scientific drivers and select historical and structural aspects that create the current context for the enterprise and sustainability interface found today.

Knowledge is always incomplete, yet decisions must be made. Explores uncertainty and its relation to decision making, with a particular focus on the ways that science and science-derived information is applied with the intent of improving decisions. Explores the many meanings and origins of uncertainty, using theoretical and case-based approaches. A central theme is the relation among uncertainty, scientific prediction, and decision making, especially in politically charged issues, for example as related to management of the environment. Ultimately understands how effective decisions can be made in the face of inevitable uncertainties and contested knowledge.

Provides skills and knowledge that help students design their own research and place it in the context of other disciplines or bodies of work. Not a “methods” class because no specific method is taught indepth. Instead, it is an initial introduction to the research design process and is intended as a platform through which students develop the skills to appreciate and contextualize the approaches taken (and methods used) by others, and during which they can identify the types of specific training they require as they define their own research.

Guide students in developing an integrated approach and framework for thinking about complex systems in a sustainability context. Presents overviews of content, theories and methods from each of the SETS domains (Social, Ecological and Technical Systems); primarily focuses on how to bring these domains together. Explores the SETS interfaces (intersections) from an integrated perspective and equips students to make those linkages in their research and in subsequent elective courses. Each semester students use a sustainability problem or theme to explore the concepts presented in the course.

Historical roots of the idea of development; economic theories of growth and their implications for sustainability; interrelationship among population growth, food security, poverty, inequality, urbanization, technological change, international trade, and environmental change at local, regional and global scale.

Human and physical processes shaping urban ecologies and environments; human-environment interactions in the context of an urban region; effect of the institution and regulatory framework on the ability of social and urban-ecological systems to be resilient and sustainable; urban design, materials, transport, planning, and regulation.

Hydrological, legal, political, and ecological implications of alternative water management strategies; effect of institutional and regulatory frameworks; changes in water demand and supply due to human (population growth, economic changes) and natural (drought, climate change) factors.

Sustainable engineering; overall energy needs and impacts; thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid mechanisms; atmospheric energy systems; field investigation; current and future urban energy systems.

How human activities and management practices alter biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the provisioning of ecosystem services; use of economic and other social-science perspectives to estimate the value of ecosystem services; evaluation of options for achieving the sustainable flow of services from ecosystems.

Broad view of food systems and the sustainability of such systems. Concepts, theory, methods and empirical analyses from diverse disciplines, including agro-ecology, agronomy, political science, agricultural economics, geography, anthropology, and food and nutrition studies.

Particular workshop classes will be offered each semester under the number SOS 594. Topics will change, so students should check with the graduate academic coordinator for a current list of available workshops. Past workshops include: A Game-based Pedagogy for Sustainability Ethics (3), Adaptation, Resilience, and Transformation (3), Advanced Urban Workshop (3), Climate Change Adaptation (3), Economic Justice, Job Quality and Sustainability (3), Future Scenarios for Agriculture and Water in Arizona (3), Socioecology of Residential Landscapes (3), Solar for Sustainability (3), Science-Society Research Collaborations (3), Urban Design Practice (3), Urban Dimensions of the IPCC AR5 (3), Urban Design Skills (3), and Urban Public Policy and Sustainability (3).

Graduate students can take courses offered through other departments as electives. Below is a list of classes that can be taken as electives through the School of Sustainability.

Equips students with sufficient knowledge of statistical theory and methods of applied data analysis to begin conducting empirical analyses in their domains of interest; bring students to a high level of competency in using a cutting-edge statistical software package (Stata) for data management and data analysis tasks; expose students to applications of statistical methods in the economics/policy/social science sustainability literatures in order to develop an understanding for how statistical tools are operationalized in the research world; and develop an appreciation for the careful synthesis of social and natural science theory, knowledge of data and its limitations and command of statistical tools that constitute quality empirical research.

Focuses on organizational strategies for technology companies competing in a global environment. Strategic and tactical decision implications of a life cycle value proposition; modeling and analysis for strategic decisions about product/service bundles and delivery mechanisms; innovation; technology, including the linkages to the firm strategy and empirical evidence; supply, demand, and value chain; research of laws, guidelines and international agreements.

Covers water policy and management focused on Arizona. Useful to anyone looking for a general background on water issues in Arizona or considering a career in water resources and environmental engineering, planning, or public policy. Divided into three major sections: the history of water resources development and hydrology of Arizona; water management in Arizona; and an examination of current issues and controversies.

Advanced introduction to earth systems engineering and management, and the technological, economic and cultural systems underlying the terra-formed Earth.

Provides opportunity to demonstrate comprehension of the fundamental aspects that have been introduced in the classroom and the synthesis of these fundamental aspects into a demonstrable project that can be presented and defended.

***Enrollment restricted to CSTM certificate students

gives an overview of various perspectives on urbanism to present basic tenets, disciplinary threads, and body of scholarship associated with urbanism.

explores the diverse, interdisciplinary applications of a complex adaptive systems across the social, behavioral, and life sciences.

*Enrollment restricted to sustainability graduate students

*Enrollment restricted to sustainability graduate students

Topics include:

  • Community of Graduate Research Scholars
  • Corporate Sustainability & Policy
  • Distributed Grad Seminar in Sustainability Science
  • Dynamic Modeling for Sustainability Science
  • Ecosystems Engineering
  • Environmental Ethics and Policy Goals
  • Environmental Justice and the City
  • Ethics of Sustainability
  • Global Perspectives on Water Conflicts
  • Human Dimensions-Environmental Systems
  • Human, Social & Tech. Dimensions of Sustainability
  • IGERT Intellectual Issues
  • Institutions, Environment, and Society
  • Intellectual Issues
  • Legal Issues in Sustainability
  • Linking Engineering with Sustainability Science
  • Long-Term Research in Urban Systems
  • Math for Life & Sustainability Science
  • Mathematical/Advanced Natural Resource Economics
  • Seminar in Urban Climate
  • Seminar on Stochastic Modeling: Ecology & Hydrology
  • Social Dimensions of Science
  • Social Science Climate Chang
  • Striving for Global Sustainability
  • Sustainability of Global Nutrient Cycles
  • Sustainability: The Long Term View
  • The Economics of Natural Resource Systems
  • Water Governance Challenges- Local to the Global
  • Water Resource Geography and Policy

Topics include:

  • Advanced Writing Seminar
  • Applied Data Analysis for Energy Scientists
  • Carbon Dioxide & Climate
  • Cultural Perspectives in Sustainability
  • Design for the Developing World
  • Earth Systems Engineering
  • Ecosystem Ecology
  • Energy Conservation and Efficiency
  • Environmental Sustainability & Global Climate Change
  • Essentials of Survey Statistics
  • Global Challenges of Sustainability
  • Global Impact Entrepreneurship
  • Global Resolve: Design for Social Impact
  • Haiti Workshop
  • Human & Social Dimensions of Global Climate Change
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Systems & Technology
  • Human Dimensions of Sustainability Theory & Practice
  • Human Impacts on Ecosystem Functioning
  • Life Cycle Assessment for Civil Systems
  • Mathematical Concepts and Tools in Sustainability
  • Multicultural Perspective on Community Leadership
  • Nature & History in Arizona’s Sky Islands
  • Preparing Cities for Climate Change Impacts
  • Project Coordination Transformative Sustainability
  • Proposal Preparation
  • Socio-Ecological Research Methods
  • Solar Utilization Network
  • Sustainability Ethics for Science & Engineering
  • Sustainable Futures Studio
  • Sustainable Transportation Systems
  • Sustainability Indicators & Indices
  • Thailand Urban Sustainability and Planning
  • Urban Ecological Systems
  • Urban Infrastructure Anatomy & Sustainable Development
  • Urban Sustainability and Environmental Health
  • Writing Basics
  • Writing Seminar
  • Writing a Grant Proposal
  • Writing a Paper for Publication
  • Writing and Critical Thinking