News | Academics

Columbia launches sustainable development major

Starting Fall 2010, undergraduates will have the opportunity to major in sustainable development.

The CU Earth Institute, Columbia College, and School of General Studies officially announced the major on Monday, though administrators and professors have been discussing the coming major for months.

“While students may continue to undertake a special concentration in sustainable development, they now have the opportunity to complete a major in this cutting-edge interdisciplinary field of study,” the Earth Institute’s website said.

Undergrads currently have the option to concentrate in sustainable development, and the high level of interest in the concentration spurred the University to develop a full major, the site reported. The concentration will still be offered.

The major will consist of 15 courses and a practicum at the minimum, with 47 points total. Students majoring in sustainable development will be strongly encouraged to study abroad and work in internships.

Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development Ruth DeFries and associate professor of Earth and Environmental Studies Kevin Griffin spearheaded the major’s development. In an interview with Spectator in August, DeFries said she expected the major to be as popular as the existing concentration among undergraduates.

“The times just really demand it,” DeFries said.

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joebrown1966 posted on

This is great news for the students at Columbia. Columbia needs to make more moves like this - and quickly - to bring scientific literacy to the forefront at the College. The whole world sees science as the curriculum of the future, and, unfortunately, Columbia is coming very late to the game.

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