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Sustainability-Focused Academic Programs

Sustainability content can be found in virtually every academic program at Auburn University, but the programs on this page are "sustainability-focused" programs. This means that they are interdisciplinary academic programs that have a primary and explicit focus on the concept of sustainability or the interdependence of ecological, social and economic systems.

Agricultural Business & Economics: provides students with background in the business and economic concepts that relate to agriculture, agribusiness, marketing and the management of natural resources. Develops expertise in marketing, data analysis, production agriculture, business, resource management, rural development and economics.

Biological and Agricultural Technology Management: The goal of this major is to produce graduates that use technology to solve problems, providing hands-on training and a broad background in science, technology and management. 

Biosystems Engineering: This program trains students to develop sustainable and resilient solutions to global challenges and life’s essentials: food, water, energy, environment and health.

Civil and Environmental Engineering: This major trains students to conceive, plan, design, construct, operate and maintain the facilities and systems that serve the basic needs of our society, emphasizing social, economic and environmentally sustainable solutions.

Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences: This department offers a variety of majors in which students will apply the basic sciences — such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology and microbiology — to better understand the natural foundation upon which the agricultural industry is built.

Environmental Design: A multidisciplinary degree that emphasizes a blend of sustainable practices from a local and global context within a framework of comprehensive design and systems thinking. It builds in students an understanding of the interconnected nature of all design and construction disciplines.

Environmental Science: The major in environmental science is an interdisciplinary degree, incorporating studies such as physics, chemistry, biology and geology. Students gain an understanding of contemporary issues facing society as a whole, as well as the historical, social, economic and political contexts that scientists face in dealing with environmental issues on local and global scales.

Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management: The School of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences offers majors addressing all aspects of water resource management, including aquaculture, aquatic animal health, genomics, aquatic ecology, conservation and fisheries management.

Forestry and Wildlife Sciences: The College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences offers multiple majors dealing with sustainable forest use and resource management, including applied economics, Earth systems science, forest finance and investment, forestry, geospatial and environmental informatics, natural resources management, restoration ecology, wildlife ecology and management.

Geography: In this major, students investigate critical problems relating to human and natural resources and public policy development; conduct scientific research analyzing and evaluating the complex relationships between humans and the environment across various spatial scales; and implement geographical theories, methodologies and tools.

Global Studies: The Global Studies curriculum is designed to educate students on relevant global issues, the realities of globalization and how local and global issues are interconnected.

Horticulture: Horticulture focuses on the discovery and promotion of sustainable fruit and vegetable cultivation, promotion of human health and well-being, and building, growing and protecting sustainable landscapes.

Interior Design: Interior design focuses on understanding how to relate to people, uncover their needs and shape the environment to enhance quality of life.

Landscape Architecture: embraces design creativity, social responsibility, historical perspective, technical competence and global environmental consciousness, and prepares students for leadership in landscape architecture.

Organismal Biology: This major integrates studies of basic natural history of organisms with analyses of the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity. The program features conservation efforts that range from single species to landscape levels and biodiversity studies that range from the molecular level to the community level. Sustainability-focused concentrations include conservation and biodiversityecology, evolution and behavior; and integrative biology.

Social Work: This major educates and trains personnel to address the problems unique to Alabama’s poor, advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised, including children and families at risk, and dealing with diverse populations.

Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging: Students learn about the environmental concerns and evolving technologies that are moving companies toward the use of sustainable forest biomaterial for everything from packaging, cosmetics and automobiles to appliances, pharmaceuticals and commercial construction.

Environmental Design: Intended for students from both design and non-design backgrounds, this minor will teach students to work creatively and interdisciplinarily on design projects and to understand the social, cultural and economic forces that shape design proposals.

Forest Resources: This minor is available only to students in the forest emphasis of the forest engineering option of the biosystems engineering degree.

Health Equity Science (Certificate Program): This program trains students to recognize the root causes of poor health, develop innovative strategies to prevent disease and reduce gaps in health, particularly those experienced in groups that are most vulnerable. 

Hunger Studies: Students completing the Hunger studies minor will understand hunger, its causes and consequences as a sustainable human development issue while applying critical thinking skills in addressing hunger as a multidisciplinary, socially complex issue. 

Natural Resources Ecology: Natural resources ecology is a broad and rapidly evolving field that includes landscape, plant, animal and abiotic systems.

Natural Resources Economics and Environmental Policy: This minor provides students with an understanding of how policy decisions and market mechanisms affect environmental quality and the use of natural resources.

Nature-Based Recreation: Students in this minor will learn the theory, principles and values, business and management, communication skills and conservation foci of nature-based recreation and ecotourism.

Public Health: This minor provides students with a broad understanding of the diversity of the public health field, socio-economic factors that influence access to healthcare and determinants of disease.

Rural and Community Development: This minor equips graduates with the knowledge and skills important for administering both public- and private-sector human-relations programs that serve the residents of small towns and rural communities as well as special-needs populations.

Social Work: The mission of this program is to make a positive impact on the social problems within the State of Alabama by educating and training generalist social work personnel who are capable of addressing the problems unique to Alabama’s poor, advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised.

Stewardship-Based Agriculture: The minor in stewardship-based agriculture is designed with a focus on crop and animal production for small-scale, international or other alternative production systems beyond conventional ag-scale production.

Sustainability Studies: With a diverse selection of courses and study abroad programs, the interdisciplinary minor in sustainability studies offers students the opportunity to gain wide-ranging expertise and hands-on experience with the most crucial issues in contemporary society.

Urban Environmental Science: This minor will prepare students to help cities meet the special challenges of managing natural resources in an urban environment.

Watershed Sciences: The watershed sciences minor provides background courses in natural and physical sciences along with upper-level courses on watershed management, wetland ecology, soil conservation and electives that match student interests.

Agricultural Economics (MS, MAg): Fields of interest include agricultural marketing, production economics, markets and prices, resources economics, environmental economics, agricultural finance, agricultural policy, international policy or farm management.

Applied Economics, Agriculture (PhD): Courses include applied production economics, demand analysis, international economics, resource and environmental economics and other electives. Natural resource and environmental economics is one of several available concentrations.

Applied Economics, Forestry & Wildlife Sciences (PhD): Areas of concentration include natural resource and environmental economics, applied production economics, international economics and applied market analysis.

Architecture, Public Interest Design Option (MS Arch): This program addresses systemic issues underlying housing affordability in rural Alabama.

Biological Science (MS and PhD): highly interdisciplinary program focusing on the core specializations of 1) Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation; 2) Evolutionary Genetics and Systematics; 3) Physiological Adaptation and Functional Genomics; and 4) Host-Microbial Interactions.

Biosystems Engineering (MA, PhD): includes specializations in bioenergy and bioproducts engineering, precision agriculture and forestry, off-highway vehicle engineering, ecological engineering and food and process engineering.

Community Planning (MCP): Community planning is concerned with the use of land, protection of the environment, public welfare, the design of public spaces, infrastructure and the economy.

Consumer and Design Sciences (MA and PhD): specialization areas include design of interiors and apparel; product development; marketing and retail management; global sourcing; distribution channels for apparel and related consumer products; analysis and forecasting of demand for fashion-driven soft goods; multi-dimensional perspectives on sustainable products, processes and environments; and consumer behavior in multicultural and global contexts.

Crop, Soil, & Environmental Sciences (MS, PhD): specializations include soil fertility and plant nutrition; soil chemistry; soil genesis, morphology and classification; soil mineralogy; soil physics; soil microbiology; plant breeding and genetics; weed science; forage, fiber, bioenergy and grain crop production; crop ecology; environmental quality; and turfgrass management.

Earth System Science (PhD): This interdisciplinary PhD program links the physical, chemical, biological and social sciences to the understanding the interaction of Earth-system processes and humans.

Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences (MS, MAq, PhD): Students may choose between emphases in aquaculture, aquatic ecology and fishery management.

Forestry (MS, MNR, PhD): can be tailored for students with interests in forest management, ecology and environmental sciences, economics, engineering or business.

Geography (MS): Students will explore and investigate critical problems relating to human and natural resources and public policy development; conduct scientific research analyzing and evaluating the complex relationships between humans and the environment across various spatial scales; and implement geographical theories, methodologies and tools.

Horticulture (MS and PhD): includes an option for public horticulture specialization.

Landscape Architecture (MA): The Auburn master's in landscape architecture involves three areas of inquiry, which guide and regulate its teaching and learning strategies. These are ecological urbanism, environmental justice and global challenges.

Natural Resources (MS, MNR): The natural resources program prepares the next generation of leaders with the knowledge, ability and excellence to conserve and manage our natural systems for a sustainable future.

Rural Sociology (MS): The rural sociology master’s degree focuses on equipping students with the scientific and technical skills necessary to assess and to evaluate both the challenges and the opportunities found within and among rural communities.

Social Work (MSW): Our mission is to make a positive impact on health care needs and social problems unique to Alabama’s citizens by preparing you for specialized social work practice with diverse populations through the establishment and maintenance of community partnerships, along with the development and implementation of research techniques and evaluative strategies.

Wildlife Sciences (MS, PhD) Our graduate program focuses on developing science-based knowledge for the effective management and wise use of a vast array of wildlife species and the habitats they occupy.